Rethink Your Writing Time

Dear New Faculty,

This recent Tomorrow’s Professor post, Rethink Your Writing Time, provides advice on how to be productive in your writing as you also become increasingly busy with other aspects of your new position. I hope you find some of the tips to be useful to increase your own research productivity.



Rethink Your Writing Time

In last week’s Monday Motivator, I challenged each of you to create a Strategic Plan by identifying your goals for the term, mapping out how to achieve them, and committing specific weeks in your calendar to particular projects. If you haven’t created your strategic plan yet, you can click here and listen to our Every Semester Needs a Plan webinar to get yours started.

This week, I want to focus on how you can move from having a written Strategic Plan to actually executing it! Based on the findings of faculty development researchers, the answer is straightforward: Write every day for at least 30 minutes.

It sounds so easy, but for most academics, writing for at least 30 minutes every day is anything but simple. It is more difficult than it sounds because even though we KNOW that writing and publication are high priorities, we often BEHAVE as if writing is our lowest priority. In other words, despite knowing that writing is critical to our professional success, we often treat it as an optional activity. We “try to make time for it” at the end of the day or “hope to get to it” after everything else has been done and everyone else’s needs have been met. I want to make a radical suggestion this week: Let’s re-think our writing time by giving it the same weight in our schedule that it will have in our tenure review, promotion decision, and/or how we are valued on the job market.

To begin re-thinking your writing time, try an experiment this week by blocking out at least 30 minutes of each day for writing (Monday through Friday). In order to send a powerful message to yourself and the universe, go ahead and block that time out of your calendar the same way you would a meeting or a class. Then treat your writing time with the same respect and professionalism that you would extend to your colleagues or your students. That means your writing time is non-negotiable. Nothing else can happen during that time, and if anybody asks to schedule something during your writing time, the answer is: “Unfortunately, I’m not available at that time. I have a meeting.”

The Weekly Challenge 

This week, I challenge you to do the following:

  • Create a Strategic Plan (if you have not done so already).
  • Block out at least 30 minutes of time each day this week for writing. I mean literally write it in your calendar! If you are feeling bold, go ahead and block out your writing time for the entire term.
  • Treat your writing time with the same respect that you would a meeting with your colleagues or your students.
  • Show up at your computer during the writing time this week, and see what happens.
  • If you need support and accountability in developing your daily writing, join us in the Monthly Writing Challenge Discussion Forum.
  • If you find yourself unable or unwilling to do any of the above, gently and lovingly ask yourself: WHY?
  • If you want more help in developing a daily writing practice, consider reviewing our Core Curriculum Webinar: How to Develop a Daily Writing Practice.

I hope this week brings you the openness to re-think your writing time and the strength to aggressively, pro-actively, and even ruthlessly make time for writing every day. You deserve it!


Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD
Founder, National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity