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3 strategies to catch up when you fall behind on your writing

Friday (yesterday) was the last day of a conference and pre/post doctoral I co-organized with colleagues from INECOL, University of Helsinki, Universite du Luxembourg and obviously my own institution, CIDE. Being an on-site host for a conference is a logistical nightmare I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but I have an amazing team and we pulled it off. Obviously, with 17 hour days all week, I was unable to write much. I know for a fact I did fall behind. This annoys me because I’m a proponent of the “write every day for 2 hours” system. And I did write for 15 minutes a day, as per Jo VanEvery’s blog. BUT I didn’t write as much as I wanted to (or I needed to). So here are 3 strategies I’m using to catch up.

1. Using my Twitter threads as fodder for synthetic notes, memorandums and handwritten notes.

On Thursday, precisely because it was a holiday in Mexico and I was exhausted, I ended up doing 3 hours of reading in the morning, rather than directly doing some writing. I finished three books on public toilets, gender, psychology and sexuality. You can read my entire thread by clicking on the tweet shown below.

As most of those who read my blog know, sanitation governance is one of my key research areas, and I’m really interested in the publicness and privateness of human waste disposal. As a public administration scholar, I’m always looking at how we deliver a public service, even when it is as private as human waste disposal. So I grabbed three books from my collection that I had recently purchased and proceeded to live-tweet some annotations and photographs from key passages. I threaded my notes, which I then used the same morning to write both some handwritten notes and synthetic notes on the three books, and perhaps a few rows in my sanitation governance Conceptual Synthesis Excel dump. This process of transcribing live-tweeted threads can help clarify your thinking (it did with mine!) and advances your #AcWri in ways that you may not have suspected before.

2. Using the R&Rs I have open to schedule my writing for the next few weeks.

After being somewhat disconnected from my research all these weeks because of all the organizing I had to do (trust me, you have to do A LOT OF WORK both on site and online, even if you hire, as I did, a person to do this work full time), I needed to go back to my trusty Everything Notebook and Publications Planner to ensure that I was tackling whichever projects I was supposed to by the deadline I was supposed to submit them. So that’s what I’m doing this weekend, as I fly to Vancouver: organizing my writing schedule by using my Publications Planner, my Monthly Task Break down and my Weekly To-Do lists on my Everything Notebook.

Everything Notebook

I have a tab in my Everything Notebook for my Publications Planner.

3. Taking some work with me while I travel.

I’m headed to Vancouver this week to do some fieldwork (I’m writing three papers about Vancouver, my hometown, even though I never wrote about it before while I was living there!) and give a couple of lectures. So, I’ll be bringing some work with me and write on the plane. Specifically, I’ll be working on the R&Rs I have pending, some submissions I’m doing this November, and joint work with my coauthor whom I’m also visiting in Vancouver.

#AcWri on the plane

For me, the most important thing to remind people (and myself) is that falling behind doesn’t mean you can’t catch up. You shouldn’t beat yourself up. If you didn’t start #AcWriMo on November 1st, you can still catch up. It’s November 4th. Don’t overthink it, just get some writing done.

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