top of page

Deciding When to Write

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

Many academic writers are frustrated because they technically have the time to write, but just cannot seem to get anything done. And more often than not, I ask them to think more intentionally about when they will write.

For example, Client A is teaching two classes a semester and on campus in their office for 10 hours a week. But instead of writing, they find themselves checking email, scrolling social media, or just plain spacing out.

So, going back to Client A I might ask whether those 10 hours of office time on campus are really the ideal time to write. Maybe they are simply exhausted after teaching or constantly distracted by office mates. Perhaps they might consider using those 10 hours for different kinds of tasks (i.e., ones that don't require an excess of creating) --for simple bibliographic research, or even grading and teaching prep.

When deciding on your writing schedule make the best use of the time that you do have and pay attention to your own patterns. It is okay if you simply cannot write in your office on campus. Use that time otherwise, or even find a library carrel or coffee shop nearby. Here are some other tips you might use in planning your writing time:

  1. Don't wait for "perfect" conditions. You may not have whole days of uninterrupted time in your schedule to write. Instead, make use of the time you do have. Remember that 45 minutes of writing every day will get you to nearly 4 hours of writing per week.

  2. Consider your natural patterns. Are you a morning person? If so, you might try writing at the start of your day. I, for one, cannot string together coherent thoughts after 3pm so that is usually when I schedule meetings on my calendar.

  3. Anticipate your writing obstacles. Are you distracted by social media? Consumed by thoughts of self-doubt? Do you have a health condition that requires frequent breaks? Think about all of these ahead of time and propose solutions in advance.

  4. Start small. It is really, really hard to move from no writing during the semester to writing 20 hours per week. Set a small goal (e.g., 30 minutes on teaching days) and replicate your successes.

  5. Assess and adjust. Schedule your writing time each week and then keep track of what actually happened during that time. Remember that it's okay to adjust your plan as you go.

If you are looking for help I work 1:1 with clients to help them plan out writing projects and the time they need to complete them. Schedule a session with me now via the link below.

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page