Episode 12: Combating Writing Guilt
So often our (lack of) writing makes us feel guilty and overwhelmed. Why is that? What can you do to change it up by changing the way you think about your writing and how it fits into your academic career?
Guilt is the biggest killer of writing productivity for academic women. In this episode we are learning how to cultivate a positive relationship with writing by fighting back against the guilt. I’m giving you concrete ways to shift your mindset, move writing up on the priority list, and show your writing a little love.
Why Do We Feel Guilty?
Academic women often share with me a sense of guilt around their writing process. No one wants to do something out of a sense of guilt. The first step to eliminating those negative feelings is to drill down to some of the reasons we feel guilty in the first place.
- The ‘shoulds’. We as women are often plagued by a long list of ‘shoulds’. We feel like we ‘should’ have gotten more done than we did; we think we ‘should’ be able to manage “all the things”, and we can’t; we know we are “supposed to” write, but don’t really know how and feel like something is wrong with us.
- Writing is seen as a high-stakes gatekeeper, not something joyful. Dissertations get you a PhD, article writing is part of the tenure process.. we’ve all heard the phrase “publish or perish”. Pressure builds pretty quickly when we only see writing as something standing between us and our dreams.
- We don’t feel like we deserve to take the extra time. Take a look at other times in your life where you feel guilty. Going to the gym? Taking time for yourself? As women we often struggle with putting our own priorities at the top of the list.
“You deserve to spend that time invested in your own self-development and your own career development.”
How to Combat Guilt and Align Everything to Your Writing
So what can we do to fight back against those feelings of guilt? How can you move writing up the list of your priorities to the spot it deserves without getting burned out? I have some ideas for you. (If you haven’t listened to episode 6 yet, head here for my thoughts on what it means to put writing at the center of your career)
- Start with an Academic Mission Statement. When you can link your writing back to your fundamental purpose in academia, you will be reminded of why it’s so important, and worthy of your time and energy. Click here to read my post about how to craft your own academic mission statement.
- Align other academic responsibilities to your writing. One semester, I was able to combine student participation in classes with research and reading for a grant project I was conducting. The students were given real-world experience and up-to-the minute information, and I was able to use class and prep time to further my writing goals (remember: writing includes all the tasks you need to do in order to produce finished work, including research, preparation, etc.). Writing and research drove my semester; I incorporated it into my teaching instead of feeling like it was getting in the way of my teaching.
- Love your writing, it will love you back. Feeling good about writing doesn’t happen by accident, as I discussed in Episode 5. But when you make the choice to invest in yourself and your writing by listening to podcasts (like this one!), or finding professional development opportunities, it will pay off.
“If you center your writing, everything else falls into place.”
Your Next Step to Combat Writing Guilt
If you’re ready to fight the culture of guilt and overwork, grow your writing proficiency, and go up for tenure with confidence, click here to apply for my Amplify: Faculty Writing Accelerator program. We’ll walk you through the application process to see if you are a good fit for our year-long, small cohort program.