Want to be notified when a new article is posted? Entere your email here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Becoming a More Productive Writer

Like most faculty I know, I could stand to be more disciplined in my writing. There are times when I'm really productive, and stretches that I don't do anything. One tactic that has been extremely helpful (at least when I use it) has been keeping a writing log. Although I've mentioned this before, it bears repeating. Robert Boice (the acknowledged master of research on faculty productivity) did quite a few workshops on faculty productivity. He did a study where participants were put into three groups
  • The first group (the "control") continued as they normally did, and continued to write occasionally in large blocks of time (what I call "binge writing"). In a year's time, they produced an average of 17 pages of output
  • The second group wrote daily and kept log of their time spent writing and their approximate output. In a year's time, they produced an average of 64 pages of output.
  • The third group wrote daily, kept a daily log, and showed it to someone else weekly. They produced an average of 157 pages in a year!
I'm sure that there are some other issues that would effect this experiment, like self-selection. But the differences across groups are pretty striking.

So this time, to tweak things a bit, I set up a spreadsheet on Google Spreadsheets with a current student, a former student, and a regular coauthor of mine. We've all committed to record out writing time and output daily. It should be interesting--there's already been one day that I put in a half hour at 11:00 p.m. just to avoid having to show a goose egg for the day.

Ya gotta love accountability. I'll let y'all know how it turns out.

update: In case you're interested, two books by Boice that are well worth picking up are Advice For New Faculty Members (the title is misleading - I got a lot out of it even 6 years out of grad school) and Professors as Writers.

2 comments:

Thezadoo Thezadoo said...

There are a number of very important skills and techniques required to be an outstanding manager of people and projects. One of the most important is mastering how to create speed of execution when managing a project or assignment. See more cheap dissertation writing

Financial Modeling Training said...


I am reading your post from the beginning,
Financial Modeling Training