Episode #191

When Your Writing Practice Is Resilient, You Don’t Have To Be

No matter how much we prioritize writing and publications, writing gets derailed. Sometimes it’s because of professional obligations like grading or committee events. Other times derailments are unpredictable like illness. It is impossible to avoid derailment, so don’t fight it. Instead, work on creating a resilient writing practice!


In today’s episode I cover a key topic in the Navigate program: the importance of a resilient writing practice. It is crucial that you have a positive relationship with writing and the skills to be able to stop and start writing without feeling overwhelmed or burned out. So tune in to learn how a resilient writing practice is beneficial for academics and how to foster a more productive writing mindset.

Derailments that Can Cause You to Stop Prioritizing Writing

It is important to acknowledge that your academic writing practice will get derailed. You can know in your heart and mind that writing shouldn’t be put aside, yet it does. You cannot fight derailment! The key is to take ownership of predictable derailments. Some examples are:

  • Revisions and resubmittal
  • A large amount of grading
  • Committee events or obligations 


These are things that are part of your job, and to create a resilient writing practice, you need to plan for these predictable derailments and eliminate an “all or nothing” mindset. However, there are also unpredictable derailments, like illness, that can create unavoidable delays. But if your writing practice is resilient, you don’t have to be. Give yourself the grace to step away when you need to, with the confidence that you will pick writing back up once you are well again.


Creating a Resilient Writing Practice

Step #1: Shift your mindset from “woe is me” or “there aren’t enough hours in the day” to planning rooted in professional choices. Plan for predictable derailments and treat unpredictable derailments with grace and humanity.

Step #2: Skill Building – Every resilient writing practice is an assembly of tools and tricks. It is not a linear process. So, investing in self-development programs like Navigate is essential for developing all the necessary skills for sustainable writing.

Step #3: Build a positive relationship with writing.

Step #4: Define what works for you, what motivates you, and how you work so you can project manage effectively.


“Your writing practice will get derailed so I want to talk about different types of derailments that can cause you to stop prioritizing your writing. If it worked for me to tell you writing is your top priority, you need to get those publications out –  you need to put that date on your calendar and stick to it no matter what… if that worked that is what I would tell you to do. However, that doesn’t work because you can know in your heart and in your mind that your writing shouldn’t be put aside and yet things will still derail it because we are humans.”


“A resilient writing practice is a writing practice where you can press pause, and then press play again. You have the skills to get it up off the ground once you put it down.”


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! Our next cohort enrolls soon!  


Continue the conversation:

    • 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!
    • 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!


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