Episode #152

Everything You Learned About Academic Writing is Wrong

Have you ever felt like you missed out on some key piece of the writing process? Like everyone around you somehow learned something that you just totally missed? 

Everything you learned is wrong… And it’s not your fault.

It’s the fault of how we are socialized inside of academia, how we learn from example, in situations that aren’t the most ideal for learning how to write.


In Episode 152 I’m digging into 5 things that you learned about academic writing that are wrong, and what you can do to fix them. You’ll hear about how you can adjust your methodology, insecurities, schedule, alignment, and more. 

I share examples from my own career along with insight I offer my students in Scholar’s Voice™. This episode will provide wisdom to academics in all stages on how to best approach their writing as they juggle professorial duties as well. 


Five Things you Learned About Academic Writing that are Wrong:

Binge or Bust Method:

The doctoral student process and the graduate student experience is full of binge and bust mentalities. We take those cycles of binge and bust into our professorial lives as well, but they don’t work for us anymore as professors. The binge and bust mentality as a professor is not a sustainable method of writing.


You Must Write Everyday to Get Your Writing Out:

This method of daily writing is more relevant for creative writing in trying to craft a storyline rather than academic data-based writing. If the motivation to write every day is a ‘don’t break the chain or the streak’ motivation, it’s not the best motivator in my opinion. Now, if this method of writing every day is working for you, obviously keep that up!


There’s a Speed and Yours is Too Slow:

Speed in writing is not as important as predictability. So what you need to do is learn how to predict how long it takes you to do things. 


Time is Your Biggest Obstacle:

We always wish there were more time in the day to get things done, but the truth is that there’s the same amount of time every day. What you have to do as a professor is to figure out how you’re going to allot it to the things that you want and need to do in your life.

Your actual biggest obstacle is not time. It’s alignment. Once you have a focus on what you want to do and produce, you can use your time in a way that is more aligned with your mission and values.


Teaching is Your Biggest Obstacle to Writing:

It feels like there’s this choice that you have to make as an academic between teaching and research, but it doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t feel this way.

Your career is not about one singular thing, but includes all of the things that you align with as a professor AND researcher. Teaching can help create structure we need in our days to write consistently, and it also elevates the necessity to have boundaries around your writing time. It can also be wonderful to really think about the ways that our research and teaching can become integrated.

Next Steps:

Consider what you need to do in order to find that alignment within your own day to determine your best writing schedule. Then you can begin to reflect on whether you have been falling into one of these traps, and craft a plan to adjust what needs to be adjusted in your academic writing life.

“Your actual biggest obstacle is not time. It’s alignment.”

“We need to be very deliberate, have boundaries around our time, and make real choices about how we are spending the only most precious resource that we have, which is our time. ”

Join our Pilot Navigate Program: We are going to offer Navigate as a 12-week program to test out some changes we are considering making. It will run from February 2023- Mid-May 2023. In addition to our core Navigate curriculum, which we are reorganizing, reordering, and revising for this pilot version, what we’re looking for is 10 to 20 academics who want to do this new pilot version of Navigate. 

There will be more details to come on this in the coming weeks, so make sure you’re on our email list to get all the details first!

Continue the conversation:

  1. Our 12-week Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap® program helps tenure-track womxn and nonbinary professors with a disruptive perspective on their field to publish their backlog of papers so that their voice can have the impact they know is possible. Get on the waitlist here!
  2. Cathy’s book, Making Time to Write: How to Resist the Patriarchy and Take Control of Your Academic Career Through Writing is available in print! Learn how to build your career around your writing practice while shattering the myths of writing every day, accountability, and motivation, doing mindset work that’s going to reshape your writing, and changing academic culture one womxn and nonbinary professor at a time. Get your print copy today or order it for a friend here!
  3. Want to train with us for free on your campus? Now you can when you recommend our Scholar’s Voice Faculty Retreats to a decision-maker on your campus! Download the brochure with the retreat curriculum and both in-person and online retreat options here.

Click here for transcript of this episode.


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