I can't wait to buy the forthcoming book "Publish and Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar" by Tara Gray.
She wrote a summary of the book for Stanford Professor Rick Reis' e-newsletter "Tomorrow's Professor" and I found myself cheering as I read.
Here are the first two steps she recommends for writing prolifically:
"Step 1. Write daily for 15 to 30 minutes. Many scholars believe that writing requires big blocks of time. They're wrong. Research shows that scholars who write daily publish far more than those who write in big blocks of time. The problem with big blocks of time is that they're hard to find. In contrast, when you write daily, you start writing immediately because you remember what you were writing about the day before. This leads to impressive production. In one study participants who wrote daily wrote only twice as many hours as those who wrote occasionally in big blocks of time but wrote or revised ten times as many pages (Boice 2000:144).
"Step 2. Record time spent writing daily, share records weekly. Writing daily increases your productivity as a writer. But to write daily you will need to keep a daily record of your writing, and share those records with someone weekly. What difference does keeping records make? Robert Boice led a series of workshops for scholars who sought to improve their writing productivity. Boice stressed the importance of writing daily, keeping a record of the minutes spent on writing, and being accountable to someone weekly. Participants were divided into three groups: (a) The first group ("controls") did not change their writing habits, and continued to write occasionally in big blocks of time; in 1 year they wrote an average of 17 pages; (b) the second group wrote daily and kept a daily record; they averaged 64 pages; (c) the third group wrote daily, kept a daily record, and held themselves accountable to someone weekly; this group's average was 157 pages (Boice 1989:609). ! Without records and someone to share them with it is too easy to convince yourself that you will write "tomorrow." But "tomorrow" never comes-or at least it doesn't come very often."
Boice, Robert. (1989). Procrastination, busyness and bingeing. Behavior Research Therapy, 27, 605-611.
Boice, Robert. (2000). Advice for new faculty members: Nihil nimus. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.