Monday, November 17, 2014

Writing in Slow Motion

During my whole academic writer career I had to face one phenomenon over and over again. I call it “slow motion writing”. It’s when you seemingly accomplish everything you were required to, but at the same time you spend twice as much time as usually. It’s really confusing and annoying, I remember it from experience. Fortunately for you, I invented certain methods that help avoid writing in slow motion, so just read and rememberJ

According to my experience, you get into the “slow motion” writing zone every time you grow really tired. I’m not even talking about a regular weariness, I mean the type of fatigue, which adds up with every day when you didn’t get enough sleep or rest. So the first and undeniable cure is a certain amount of sleep. Find some time for a rest, never let yourself wear out from all the work. You can’t do it all and you can’t get all the money in the world, bear this in mind.

There are some situations, though, when you are short of time and don’t have time for rest. What I would advise is short regular breaks – 15 minutes per hour, for example. 15 minutes of an absolute relaxation will help you concentrate better during the other 45 minutes.

However, there could also be another reason for writing in slow motion. Such change in working style often occurs due to multiple distractions. You work hard indeed, but at the same time you cannot stop yourself from checking e-mail and social networks from time to time. If you find yourself in such situation, simply store all the materials you need for work on your PC and then turn off the Internet and work offline. Checked and proved – slow motion will be over in a minute.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Finding AcWriMo – Academic Writing Marathon

I always loved challenges. And I always thought that it is unfair – there are so many various writing competitions for journalists, novelists and poets, but nothing for academic writers. I was wrong. A couple of days ago I found out about an academic alternative to the famous National Novel Writing Month. Now, that is something to get involved into, but, unfortunately, I am 10 days late for this challenge, so I won’t take part in it this year.

So, what is Academic Writing Month? It’s an annual writing marathon, which lasts for a month (not so surprising, heh?) and usually happens in November. Experience doesn’t matter - everyone, who is somehow connected with academic writing, can take part in this write-a-thon. There are no general goals, everything is strictly individual – you can define your own tasks, depending on your abilities and ambitions. In order to take part in this event, you should sign up on the special AcWriMo 2014 Writing Accountability Spreadsheet, mark the goals you want to achieve and let every other participant know about your progress. Well, you could do this challenge on your own, but then there won’t be any emulative spirit.

I think that participating in such writing marathons is very important not only for the development of professional skills, but also for the personal growth. Freelancers can organize their life and work completely on their own, we don’t have a boss, who looms over us and makes us get all the tasks done. We don’t have to compete with colleagues shoulder to shoulder and sooner or later, we lose all the competitiveness. Nothing can motivate people better than competition – and it is much more interesting to compare your results to someone else’s results, than to your own accomplishments last month. It’s just a psychological phenomenon one has to bear in mind.
So, for now I advise you to organize your own little academic writing challenge, and next year we could take part in the real write-a-thon together!