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BECOME A MORE PRODUCTIVE WRITER. Scenario 1: With a deadline (e.g. grants) Scenario 2: Without a deadline (e.g. many papers)

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Presentation on theme: "BECOME A MORE PRODUCTIVE WRITER. Scenario 1: With a deadline (e.g. grants) Scenario 2: Without a deadline (e.g. many papers)"— Presentation transcript:

1 BECOME A MORE PRODUCTIVE WRITER

2 Scenario 1: With a deadline (e.g. grants) Scenario 2: Without a deadline (e.g. many papers)

3  Strategy Two Write every day.  Strategy Three Write in stages.  Strategy One Start with a plan.

4  Strategy One Start with a plan.

5 The planning fallacy Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Intuitive prediction: biases and corrective procedures. TIMS Studies in Management Science, 12, 313–327 “The planning fallacy refers to a readily observable phenomenon: the conviction that a current project will go as well as planned even though most projects from a relevant comparison set have failed to fulfill their planned outcomes.” in Roger Buehler,* Dale Griffin, and Johanna Peetz.* The Planning Fallacy: Cognitive, Motivational, and Social Origins. The planning fallacy refers to a readily observable phenomenon: the conviction that a current project will go as well as planned even though most projects from a relevant comparison set have failed to fulfill their planned outcomes.

6 WOOP Oettingen, Gabriele (2014). Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation. Penguin Group. Her research finding, supported with 20 years of empirical work: Positive thinking / visualizing the desired outcome alone does not produce the motivation to take action. What does work: “WOOP” 1.WISH: Write down your wish in 3-6 words 2.OUTCOME: Write a detailed description of the Outcome that will fulfill your wish. How would you feel if you achieved it? 3.OBSTACLES: Write a detailed, emotion rich picture of the main obstacles that may prevent you from getting the Outcome; include your own internal tendencies (e.g. procrastination, perfectionism). 4.PLAN: Make a plan to address each of the obstacles

7 Create a written plan How does this writing project help me meet one of my important goals? Create a project plan Read the instructions from the funder /journal/ editor /meeting! Create a detailed statement describing the final result. List the required steps / components / milestones What obstacles might I encounter? Make a plan to address the obstacles Draft a schedule using backward planning What will I do next to get started, and when will I do it?

8 backward planning start with the deadline, and ask: “What do I have to have done by yesterday day in order to be ready for this day? Go to that day, and ask the same question, and so on. Grant Due at NIH Submit to my university  Externally imposed deadlines  Block off days not available  Set milestone dates Receive final comments from co-authors Final copyedits completed Final budget approval from department Send penultimate draft to co- authors – (due 11/14) Read aloud to myself (on call) (trip……………………………..) Finalize references

9 Create a written plan How does this writing project help me meet one of my important goals? Create a project plan Read the instructions from the funder /journal/ editor /meeting! Create a detailed statement describing the final result. List the required steps / components / milestones What obstacles might I encounter? Make a plan to address the obstacles Draft a schedule using backward planning What will I do next to get started, and when will I do it? Re: The Planning Fallacy O utcome W ish O bstacles P lan

10  Strategy Two Write every day: why, when, and how?

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12  Strategy Two Write every day: Why?

13 “Common sense” Keeps the project “top of mind” Twists and turns identified sooner Eliminates warm up Reduces stress from last minute work Turns on the reticular activating system Feeds the default mode network Boice’s daily writing experiments Evidence

14 Regular writing evidence Writing in brief sessions daily is more productive than engaging in infrequent “binge writing” Evidence: minutes a day produces more high quality writing than infrequent binges This does not preclude frequent longer sessions Robert Boice Emeritus SUNY at Stony Brook

15  Strategy Two Write every day: When?

16 Write “first thing” in the morning It's easier to go from PROACTIVE, DEEP WORK to reactive work, than the other way around Fewer potentially new interrupting tasks will have appeared Highest supply of: – Willpower – Decision making ability – Energy – for most of us You take advantage of your sleep related default mode network output You have started the day successfully, which increased your energy and improves your mood, which can carry over into the rest of the day.

17 If you can, write at the same time each day William Faulkner: "I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at nine o'clock every morning." Mon Tues Wed WRITING Thurs Fri Sat

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19  Strategy Two Write every day: How?

20 Joan Bolker: Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. Henry Holt & Co., New York, 1998  Set easily reachable goals Start with as little as 10 minutes a day Slowly build to capacity  Use a paired treat / reward “Grandma’s Mashed Potato Law”  Don’t exceed your target  Write every day

21 the Pomodoro technique Write down what you are going to do Repeat as needed Manage interruptions Francesco Cirillo

22 Pomodoro apps Web /desktop –Tomato Timer –Focus Booster iOS –iPhone Pomodoro Timer by Navel labs Android –Pomodroido by Artifix Blackberry –Pomodoro Helper by Chin Your local hardware store….

23 Work on grant Draft specific aim 1 Open Word document Still can’t start? Create a first task that creates no resistance.

24 Monitor your progress

25  Strategy Three Write in stages: 1. prewrite 2. create a bad draft 3. edit to final product.

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27 Prewriting & Creating a bad draft Editing to the final product

28  Strategy Three Write in stages: 1. prewrite

29 Prewriting: generating ideas Method: –Record all ideas that come up –Don’t worry about whether ideas will make it into the final product Informed by literature review, past work, and data analysis…

30 Challenge: the prewriting maze Trapped in “data analysis paralysis” and “just one more paper to read”

31 Prewriting maze-busters BEFORE you do any reading, write down: –what you know, or think you know about the topic –questions you already have LIMIT the literature review –Select a limited number of papers to read at this stage –Keep a list of papers to come back to STOP and move on to create the bad draft before you feel finished with data analysis and lit review

32  Strategy Three Write in stages: 2. create a bad draft

33 Features of a “good” bad draft process: Focus only on getting ideas out Write in complete sentences (not phrases or lists) Use a tight schedule Avoid going off on tangents: keep a companion “idea document” Produce a complete draft

34  Strategy Three Write in stages: 3. edit to final product.

35 Editing strategies 1.Create a schedule a.To begin, an overall schedule by sections with some buffer time built in b.Every week or so, create a more detailed plan for the coming short time period

36 May 1 – Creation of overall schedule for Sept 1 submission DateTask to be completed on this date May 16Finish grading May 30first draft of ALI model rules and principles June 13revised draft of Chapter Six, June 20revised draft of Chapter Seven, June 27revised draft of Chapter Nine, July 11revised draft of Chapter One, July 25revised draft of Chapter Four, Aug 1revised draft of Conclusion, Aug 8revised draft of Chapter Eight, Aug 15revised draft of Chapter Two, Aug 23revised draft of Chapter Three, Aug 30revised draft of Chapter Five, Sept. 1submission of full revised manuscript to publisher

37 DeadlineTask Tues, Aug. 5 preliminary review and feedback on RA’s charts Assignment of new task to each RA Fri, Aug 8 revised draft of Chapter Three, Addition of S R materials (Wed) Addition of board details? (Thurs) Tues, Aug 12revised draft of Chapter Eight, Fri, Aug 15addition of extra NM disputes Division of chapters that need to be cut in half Addition of end-of-century summations Tues, Aug 19revised draft of Conclusion Wed., Aug 20prepare and post syllabus for seminar; reference letter for student Fri., Aug 22revised draft of Introduction Tues, Aug 26full-read through; line-editing, transitional intros & conclusions between sections Fri, Aug 29 clean up footnotes & charts Sept. 1submission of full revised manuscript to publisher August 1 – detailed August schedule

38 Editing strategies 2.Get started by retyping the most recent draft, making changes as you go 3.At the penultimate stage: –Read aloud to yourself (Peter Elbow) –Ask others to read

39 * o Re-read instructions to authors / submission procedures o Final copy editing, reference checks o Get institutional approvals, as needed o Complete the submission 4. Near the end, create a “punch list”

40 Contact me anytime with comments or questions: See my website for free articles and a blog focused on these topics:


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