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Thanks for posting this. It sounds extremely helpful, and I think I'll buy the book when it comes out. I can't wait to find someone to share my records with so I can start right away!

Otto Pohl

I find that setting a daily quota for quantity written rather than amount of time spent writing is the best way to go. My quota is pretty moderate, one page a day. Anything over is a bonus. If there is a deadline I sometimes up the quota to two pages a day. At anyrate I write at least one page a day. Usually I spend about one to two hours writing about one and a half to two fairly polished pages.

Lonely Londoner

Holy crap, only 17 pages for the first group?! I write 17 pages a WEEK, if not more! (Double spaced, that is...)

This is making me feel really good about my proliferation. :)


I've found that writing daily really works well, but in order for it to work, the writer needs to stop putting writing on a grandiose pedestal, one that requires an all or nothing attitude. If we could just calm down enough to stop trying so hard, and just let it happen methodically, I think it would not be so stressful for many. However, I am also a bit frustrated by the whole happy discourse of writing every day put forward by certain scholars of scholarly productivity. Don't these researchers have jobs in which they are exploited and emotionally drained by their responsibilities? Don't these people have wrecked relationships and depression and sheer exhaustion? Why are they so optimistic and relaxed all the time? Writing may just be a thing, but it is also a heck of alot more, tied in with emotions and our sense of self. And as many academic blogs demonstrate, we are more often than not bruised and battered and reeling by our overflowing responsibilities and by all kinds of unhealthy internalizations that make us take on more than we can handle. The "it's so easy if you write every day" discourse is a little grating some times, no matter how helpful or right on it may be.


My daily quota for writing is fairly high (in terms of pages), but I don't count on polished prose. This has been working well for me at this stage of my research. I suppose the quota will be smaller when I start polishing and synthesizing. But I've found that writing something now, as I do my research, and not waiting until I've done it already has been very helpful as well. Many of my friends are doing all or a big chunk of research up front before they start writing. For me, it's working better to write as I go and make writing as much a part of my daily work as reading.

I used to find the "write everyday" discourse grating, too. Until I started doing it. It was actually having a blog that made me realize that I could do it. I feel like I'm doing better work with less stress than I ever have. Writing is not a huge emotional ordeal. It's something I've been doing my entire life.

Academic Coach

Otto, your page quota reflects the habits of numerous novelists and supported by Boice's research. (Some aim for up to 5 pages.) When I've had the opportunity to "just write" or "mostly write" I think that I aimed for 2,500 word or 4 hours - whichever came first. (These were EXTREMELY rough words.)

Camicao - This is great. Yes - I always envy those smug daily writers since I am by temperament a "let's-pull-an-all-nighter" type. I actually think that people who find it easy to incorporate daily moderation are also less prone to emotional drama. And this makes me really jealous. This is a very helpful comment so that we don't all feel inferior!

Anastasia: Can I quote you when I speak to many of my coaching clients? I'm constantly telling people to write as they go -- and it is a different habit from what they learned as undergrads -- when the amount of preliminary research was so much smaller and you could keep track of it all at one time.

Pink Cupcake

Thanks for the heads-up on this new book, AC. I've got two of Boice's books, which I really love, so am looking forward to reading Tara Gray's one.


It really breaks it down from something overwhelming into something doable. And, like weight loss, accountability is the key.


I agree with Camicao. I've also gotten suggestions by quite a few people have thought they were helping me by suggesting I lock myself in my office for hours at a time and write out my dissertation (as they evidently did). As if that were possible. There's a point where helpfulness just isn't all that helpful...

I am finding the "Write daily, share weekly" idea helpful, though.


You're going to tell us when the book is available, won't you?

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