Or, November is a hard month, but whatever.
#AcWriMo starts on November 1.
Academic Writing Month, or for us Twitter folk, #AcWriMo, is a movement started by PhD2Published which helps academics to stay motivated and accountable to their writing. Obviously, we should be writing, like, all the time. All. The. Time. But, teaching happens, sleep happens, and so do necessary things like walking the dog and eating pizza. We academics need each other - yes, even (and sometimes especially) online presence helps productivity.
Why I'm doing it.
While #AcWriMo is pitched by PhD2Published, it's for all academics at all stages -- from undergraduate to "the most distinguished of professors." While I still think of myself as an undergraduate at times (imposter syndrome and an occasional loathing of adulting will do that), I'm a senior faculty member. I have a full teaching load (because I'm not ridiculous enough to be an @AssDean). I've got grants, book chapters, conference presentations, and full-on manuscripts to write. However...
I have empathy for my students.
My undergraduate students are awesome. And they deserve the best of my academic life. I'm at a research university, so not everyone shares this sentiment. I believe that my research informs my teaching. So I see writing as an investment in my teaching for many reasons. One of the most important is that I sit and write just like my students do (or, just like they should). It's simply a challenge to write, no matter what one's academic rank.
Stuff is going on.
So, #AcWriMo starts on November 1 and I hereby commit myself to writing a book chapter. This includes lit review, rationale, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, references, formatting, and all the requisite APA stuff. Now, this coming weekend, I will be at my eldest kid's hockey tournament, which is a nice way of saying that I will be (happily, mind you) freezing my Yankee ass off in a variety of ice arenas here in the Great White North. The following weekend I will be at an academic conference. However, I'm going to be writing every day. If that means it's early in the morning, for 30 min at a coffee shop, or on a piece of paper, well, it's getting done. Now I'm changing topics before I change my mind about this whole thing.
Being a flexible writer.
Writing every day isn't easy. I mean, there's always pizza to be eaten, dogs to walk, and ice arenas in which to freeze. I find that it's easier to write every day because I save everything to Google Drive or Dropbox. In this case, I can revise documents on my phone or iPad if I don't have access to my computer. I realize that this sounds like it's taken from a page in the Universal Guide to Nerdhood, though it does maintain my ability to be flexible and to adhere to the discipline of writing every day.
Trying vs. doing
As the great sage Yoda says, "There is no try..." In other words, you're either doing it or you're not. That's some slap-in-the-face accountability. I'm doing it.