What is a writing roadmap? (and why you need one)

by | Apr 19, 2017 | academic brand, academic writing, mindset, publishing, time management

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • You feel overwhelmed because you are being pulled in a thousand directions.
  • You have this nagging feeling that you should be writing, but you can’t figure out how to fit it in.
  • You have about three articles almost done, two others half drafted, and three new projects percolating in the back of your mind. But nothing under review.
  • When you finally do sit down with time to write, you’re not sure where to start.
  • Tenure is looming, tenure is looming, tenure is looming….

We learn a lot of things from graduate school, but time management isn’t one of them. Though our PhD programs prepare us to be outstanding researchers, and maybe even great teachers, we rarely get instruction about how to balance research, teaching, and service. And forget about learning how to integrate our job as academics with our home and family life.

I’ve been thinking about this question for a long time, and I finally came up with this idea of a writing roadmap as a way to talk about this dilemma that we find ourselves in as professors: we need to write more, but how?

There is no one “trick” or “hack” to finding time to write. And truth be told, it is not only about time. There are plenty of people who have gone on sabbatical and, suddenly faced with huge spans of time just for writing, still have not completed their projects. That’s because it’s not actually about time, but more about a whole series of other behaviors and decisions that add up to more writing. Enter the writing roadmap.

A writing roadmap is basically a heuristic to guide you through adopting the necessary behaviors and making the appropriate decisions that will lead to you writing (and publishing) more. Think of it as a series of adjustments or alignments that, put together, will lead to more publication.

Here’s the high-level Writing Roadmap:

  1. Map your mission
  2. Align your activities
  3. Manage your time
  4. Develop your writing system
  5. Manage your mindset
  6. Set up your publication pipeline
  7. Map out your year

There’s a lot here to unpack. That’s why I created a 6 week course that will teach you how to do each step, from writing an academic mission statement to creating (and managing) a publication pipeline to mapping out the next academic year (or five). You can get a FREE mini version of the course by signing up right here:


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