Your Writing Roadmap®

All career stages

12-week online program

Navigate helps tenure track womxn and nonbinary professors double their publishing output in a year by implementing 10 essential time and project management/productivity systems with weekly support/ accountability of coaching and peers.


Scholar’s Voice Retreats

All career stages

Virtual (full-day/6 hours) or In Person (2 Days)

Scholar’s Voice Faculty Retreats is a professional development experience designed to inspire womxn and nonbinary faculty with the mindset and strategy to take control of their time by centering their writing and publishing.

Episode #219

Career Stage 1: Learning/Apprenticeship

Welcome to the first episode of my new podcast series, Understanding the Real Stages of the Academic Career. I will discuss writing, relationships, research, and time management strategies for each stage and share best practices from my experience as an academic writing coach.


Today’s episode focuses on the first career stage, learning/apprenticeship. I explain the learning/apprenticeship stage and how you should think about critical aspects of an academic career in your early career. I review common mistakes and explain why building a solid foundation of writing practice, management systems, and research will set you up for success in academia. 

What is the Learning or Apprenticeship Career Stage?

The first career stage covers the period you are working under an advisor. During the apprenticeship stage, scholars immerse themselves in their field, honing research and writing skills while adapting to academic culture. The relationship with mentors is crucial, but it’s also essential to cultivate independence and critical thinking. 

What You Should Be Doing in an Apprenticeship

Writing Practice – While it’s natural to be preoccupied with your dissertation or a first publication opportunity, it’s important to remember that the primary focus should be on systematically observing the genre you are expected to write in and receiving constructive feedback on your writing. This practice will significantly contribute to your academic growth during the apprenticeship stage. 

Relationship with Mentor – A mentorship that challenges you to be your best in a supportive way is invaluable during the apprenticeship stage. If you encounter toxicity, it’s crucial to find a new advisor. As an apprentice, you need someone who is tough, yet constructive. Recognizing yourself as separate from your advisor is a necessary step towards a more collaborative relationship in the future.

Management Strategies – Now is the time to start developing project management skills. Practice keeping a calendar, breaking projects into tasks, and aligning tasks with scheduled work periods. Don’t fall into the culture that glorifies being busy. Instead, look through a lens of seasonality and recognize overwork as temporary.

Research – It’s tempting to be innovative immediately, but this career stage involves researching as an apprentice. Use this time to intimately learn foundational knowledge in your field so you can build your academic future.


“The most important part of your writing practice in this apprenticeship stage is repetition. What I mean by that is you get feedback, you write, you get feedback. More reps means faster growth. It means faster improvement in your writing.” 


“One way to start thinking now as an apprentice in the learning stage is not just caring about what your advisor thinks, but also caring about what you think. You are innovating on what your advisor is teaching you because you are the next generation.”


We’ve opened the waitlist for our next cohort of Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap®. Check out the program details and get on the waitlist here.



  1. Our 12-week Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap® program helps tenure-track womxn and nonbinary professors 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.
  4. If you would like to hear more from Cathy for free, please subscribe to the weekly newsletter, In the Pipeline, at It’s a newsletter that she personally writes that goes out once a week with writing and publication tips, strategies, inspiration, book reviews and more.






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