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Writing Obstacle No. 5 – Wendy Laura Belcher

This month of #AcWriMo we’re featuring heaps of advice from the book Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks by Wendy Laura Belcher. She’ll offer a wealth of information on carefully planning your writing and getting over obstacles – practical and emotional.

I’m going to make writing my number one goal in life.

This may seem counterintuitive, but focusing all your energy on writing will not result in more productivity. In fact, research shows that whatever goal you make your highest priority you most likely will not attain. That’s because “the most valued activity” always “carries demands for time and perfection that encourage its avoidance” (Boice 1997, 23). Writers who make writing a modest, realistic priority are more productive.

Do not establish self-defeating writing goals that relegate everything else in your life to mere backdrop. Aiming for a forty-hour writing week will only make you feel guilty, not productive. Furthermore, the feeling that you should always be working will haunt every pleasurable moment. You do not resolve desires by suppressing them entirely. Make time to go to the beach, meet a friend for dinner, or play basketball. A well-balanced life—with time allotted for friends and family, games and sports, movies and light reading, as well as writing, research, and teaching—is the best ground for productive writing.

Making writing your last goal won’t work well either. In some cases, you may need to think long and hard about what your real goals are. You may need to work on seeing your number one goal as completing your dissertation, not perfecting it.

Or do you have trouble getting started on your writing? Click here to seek help.

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