It’s that time of the semester. The beginning of the end. Courses ending mean gradings marathons. Academic year ending means committee meetings and reports. All of it together is the perfect storm for exhaustion and overwhelm.

Your writing can get lost in the mess. Just thinking about the writing you’re not doing can cause you to cringe and want to hide. But sometimes that painful feeling can push you to make positive change.

So in this blog post I want you to lean into the stress and pain of this moment of the semester so you can develop a new writing strategy. Right now.

The truth is, many of you are probably thinking: I don’t even have a writing strategy! A writing strategy is necessary because writing and publishing are the most powerful ways for you to control your career.

Here’s what it looks like when you don’t have a writing strategy:

  • Writing always falls to the bottom of the list
  • You take a “buffet approach” to your writing projects (a little writing here, a little over there–but projects not getting finished)
  • You say “yes” to whatever writing projects come along
  • You have shiny object syndrome when it comes to new projects, and so you take on too many
  • The dominant feelings you have about your writing are guilt and overwhelm.

It’s okay if this is how things are for you right now. But know that all of this gets amplified at this time of the semester, so it feels worse. That means it’s time to act now.

Here’s what it feels like to have a writing strategy:

  • You always know what project you’re working on
  • You have a predictable, regular writing system
  • You know when your next writing session is and what you’ll be working on
  • You say “no” to projects that don’t fit into your strategy
  • You have clear writing goals and a plan to meet them
  • Writing is at the center of your career.

To develop a writing strategy, start by answering the following questions:

  1. What am I as an academic? Who do I want to be? How can writing get me there?
  2. What writing projects do I have in my pipeline? How can I move them to “published”? In what order will I work on them?
  3. How can I fit writing into my academic life? What do I need to say “no” to in order to have more time to write? What actions can I take to put writing at the center of my career–and keep it there?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can start building a writing strategy that will propel your career forward.

If you want to feel better about your writing, get your pipeline flowing and (most importantly) get your message out in the world. The time to develop a writing strategy is NOW.

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