The Reluctant Writer

Confession: when I first drafted this post I titled it “The Intrepid Writer” and then looked up intrepid to confirm it meant what I thought it had meant…and no! It does not! I thought intrepid meant cautious or timid, instead it means fearless or adventurous. And while I’d like to think I’m those things in other parts of my life, it certainly doesn’t describe my writing life. At all.

But reluctant does.

I like to joke with people that had I known being a professor was just writing an endless series of mini dissertations I might have chosen a different career path. but since my plan B option is running a food shack, and the pandemic makes *that* option challenging, I’ll continue with my ongoing mini-dissertation writing.

I don’t want to go into the “publish or “perish” notion present in academia, but I do feel pressure to write consistently enough to have one or two things published yearly. This means coming up with new research projects or re-analyzing data on old projects. I try not to have too many new projects going on at once. And let’s just say “try” is a doing a lot of work in that sentence 🙂

So last week, I decided to address the overwhelmed feeling I had about my current writing by mapping everything out to my research agenda. I’m collecting data on two grants (I did not include the potential publications from these projects in my list) but when all was said and done–I have 10 manuscripts in the pipeline. Two are under review (thank goodness!), two due by August 15th (so deadlines!), and six in various stages of development. Doing this helped calm my feelings that I’m “not doing enough”…but it also means I need to re-commit to a more focused, structured writing practice.

Not sure what the takeaway is for this post aside to remind people that writing isn’t magic, it can be overwhelming especially when it’s an important part of your job, and planning your writing can make you feel better.

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