Judging by the temperature here in Illinois, summer is on its way. It’s the season for sun tans, ice tea, and writing…?
With the lull in teaching and course work, summer can be a good time to finish or revise your manuscripts. In an article for Inside Higher Ed titled “No More Post-Summer Regrets,” researcher Kerry Ann Rockquemore offers some tips for staying productive over the summer.
- Set very specific goals. Instead of saying “I’m going to make progress on my paper” tell yourself “I am going to finish the first two sections by July 1.” That way, you’ll have a real benchmark for judging what “progress” is.
- List the steps. For example, don’t just say you’re going to “revise your manuscript.” Instead, break tasks down. You will want to “read editors’ comments,” “read for revision,” “reanalyze data” and “update tables.” This turns the big goal into small, do-able tasks.
- Create a timeline. Before setting deadlines for your goals, map out your time. You might figure that a goal will take three weeks, but vacations, meetings and even child care can cut back the time that is really available.
- Create accountability. With the relaxed atmosphere of summer, it can be hard to stick to a schedule. It can help to join a campus writing group, set extra appointments with your advisor, or even just meet with a friend to discuss your progress. Having someone to answer to will keep you on track.
“And once you have a plan, I encourage you to share it with your mentors to get their suggestions, feedback, and ideas,” writes Rockquemore. “The most important challenge is the deception of unstructured time.”