In academics, we are writers.

I have been re-reading  a book, Becoming an academic writer by Patricia Goodson (2013). I read this book, (strictly to say, I skimmed through this book), during my PHD program as an assignment from one of the qualitative research methodology courses. We only had about 5 minutes discussion about this book every class, so when I was swamped with catching up all the reading materials, I skimmed this book, even though I thought this book would be very beneficial to read as a graduate student who was on the beginning stage of academia.

As a postdoc, numbers of works to be accomplished per day has been increased: writing a new grant proposal, managing projects, producing instructional materials, co-instructing a graduate class, design next semester’s class, and writing and revising manuscripts, and more.  Sometimes I found myself behind in writing manuscripts and that felt me very annoyed and frustrated and even depressed my everyday life. So, I picked up this book as a refresher for my writing habits. And so far, the book has helped me to reflect my (turns out to be) bad writing habits and excuse and provide some solutions.


My common excuse 1. Sometimes, I have a day or days without having writing time.

According to the author, this may cause because I don’t see myself as a writer.

However, for people in academics, we write for a living, whether we like it or not, whether we want to or not. And like gardening tools, which need to be constantly used to prevent deterioration or rust. We need to see ourselves as writers having writer attitudes, managing the contingencies, and practice for it. Because I am a professional writer.

My common excuse 2. I don’t have time to write today.

Low productivity and struggles with writing have to do with how academics view themselves and their work. If they do not see themselves as writers, their writing becomes relegated to whenever they have enough time. Enough time never happens spontaneously, so they seldom write.

Research examining productive faculty’s habits consistently points to scheduled and protected writing time as a key element for success.

The author mentioned that writing time is not to be found but to be created. None of us can ever find time because we look for extra time. But those extra time rarely can be found. We need to purposefully CREATE and PROTECT time to write.

She quotes,

“Prolific academics create writing time where none exists and then carefully protect it from intrusion (Johnson & Mullen (2007).”


To be continued…




Goodson, P. (2016). Becoming an academic writer: 50 exercises for paced, productive, and powerful writing. Sage Publications.

Johnson, W. B., & Mullen, C. A. (2007). Write to the top! How to become a prolific academic. New York: Palgrave McMillan.


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