Episode #32

Three Academic Writing Mistakes That Are Holding You Back

How do you feel about your writing right now? Guilty over outstanding projects? Overwhelmed by this unprecedented semester? Confused about how others are getting things done? Maybe one of these 3 mistakes is holding you back.


Academic women are a diverse and electrifying group. I truly get so much energy from working and interacting with such an incredible group of people.

But the more academic women I get to know, the more I realize that we have some things in common that need to stop. If guilt, overwhelm, and confusion are weighing you down, consider whether you are making one of these mistakes.

Mistake #1: Thinking You’re Supposed to Know What to Do

It may feel like you should know what to do when you become an academic, but why do we assume that? You may have had wonderful PhD mentors who helped guide you in writing for graduation, but that’s not the same thing as writing for publication. Now that you’ve graduated, who do you ask? 


“Academia doesn’t come with a handbook.”


It’s ok not to know! It’s important that we get together in community, support each other, share what we know and ask for help. 

Mistake #2: Thinking You’re the Only One Struggling

Please believe me when I say, you are not alone! In my I Should Be Writing  Facebook group there are 12,000+ members; posting in this group quickly shows you that there are so many others sharing your worries, concerns and struggles. 


In my webinar chats and other programming, there is always a chorus of “yes, yes, me too!” and “I thought I was the only one!”. We are all in this together; through the frustrations of juggling commitments, co-author guilt, rejections, and stress of not knowing how to navigate it all, you are not alone.


Mistake #3: Thinking That YOU Are the Problem

This one really gets me. Ladies, as I say at the beginning of all my podcasts, women are revolutionizing academia within institutions that were not built for us. The impenetrable “ivory tower” is the problem, not you! 


As a woman, you have likely had to fight your way into where you are. The patriarchal culture of academia wants you to think that when you feel pulled in a thousand directions, or you don’t know what to do, it’s because you are deficient. I even hear women say that it’s ‘personal weakness’ that keeps them from being able to write that 1000 words a day. It’s just not true. The problem is trying to operate within a system that doesn’t work for you, in a culture that is not built for you. 


“You are not the problem.”


The good news is that all these things are learnable! Ways of doing things that respect women as whole beings, and don’t ask us to sacrifice ourselves to a patriarchal model do exist. Struggling through motherhood and being a professor, I learned a lot of these things through trial and error, but I don’t want you to have to endure that struggle!


If you want to join me to learn ways to live academic life on your terms, get ready to register for The Academic Woman’s Writing Roadmap course. Enrollment opens this Friday (May 1, 2020)!


This course is based on my experiences as a tenured professor and mom of 3, as well as the experiences of over 150 women I’ve mentored and worked with. The course is self-paced, but includes opportunities for connection and group work in a private facebook group and group coaching calls. You keep your access to the course information forever.


How can you be sure to get the info on joining us for this course, and to get information on all my other offerings? 

  • Join us for the Summer Writing Challenge! It’s a free, 5-day challenge with 5 different topics to help you make this a great writing summer. You might need a new approach for this complex summer; we can help.
  • Download my PDF cheat sheet, 10 Ways to Make Time to Write and you’ll be added to my email list.
  • Check me out on Facebook. I often go live on my page to address issues that people bring up in the group… check those out any time! Request to join our group, I Should Be Writing, and you can add your email to my mailing list when prompted.


I hope you’ll join us in one of our community opportunities to keep learning, sharing, and changing academia from the inside. Remember, you’re not alone, it’s all learnable, and you can do this!

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