I shouldn’t have said it. Late last month, I told a colleague that I expected my schedule to be quiet for the next few weeks. Well, my schedule hasn’t been quiet, and I haven’t written as much as I had hoped.
I did do some writing, though. And I decided to write a blog post on how to get writing done when one is busy with other things.
One item that can help is having specific times to write. For example, if you don’t have regular commitments on Wednesday afternoons, reserve that time to write. After a few weeks, you probably will have written a lot.
Having deadlines also can help. People sometimes tell me: “Oh, you can write this whenever you have time.” I reply: “Please give me a deadline, or it will never get done.”
One difficult thing about writing papers for journals is that there usually is no deadline–and thus other work tends to get done instead. Grant proposals are easier in that regard, as deadlines for submission commonly exist.
Some of us need to set our own deadlines. For me, travel serves as a deadline. Often, I promise myself that I will finish writing certain things before leaving on a trip.
In fact, on Friday I am to leave for Kenya, to help give a scientific-writing workshop. I promised myself that I would finish a blog post and some other pieces before leaving. That is why this post is here now.