You want to be at a good place with your writing at summer’s end? You can absolutely do that, especially if you approach the summer with a bit of urgency and heat.
Get a picture of yourself in your mind’s eye of you taking charge. What would your taking charge look like?
1. See what’s the big deal about writing early each morning. Even if you’ve always said that you’re a night person, get up early and put in a couple of hours of writing before doing anything else. No email; no newspaper; no headlines.
2. Cut back on night-time TV. Turn the TV off before you find yourself watching Oprah re-runs in the middle of the night. One place in your life where you absolutely have control is clicking “off” on the remote.
3. Know your cut-off date for research. Have that cut-off date or time in place before you ever start. Reading can go on forever. It’s a wonderful, nearly guilt-free way to procrastinate. If you need to do a bit more research, you can slip that in later. For now, be clear on your deadline for cutting off the research.
4. Boldly wade into the tough parts of your diss. What needs to be done? Plan to start working on the parts that have given you fits, or you’ll be tempted to read the parts of your draft that you like and tweak the writing that’s already in fairly good shape.
5. If family should visit you this summer, still keep your head in your diss.
Give your mind something to chew on each day. If demands take you away from writing, open your diss just to read a section or two. Check on how you referred to something in your writing. Keep the connection to your writing fresh and alive.
6. Let dust be your badge of courage. Say to yourself, “I’m brave enough to put my diss ahead of cleaning.” If you have to move your files for someone to sleep on the spare bed, fine, but don’t move your papers or files too far. Don’t put them out of sight. People can accommodate you.
7. What is your mid-summer reward? Tie work to reward. Plan something at mid-summer. Whether it’s something big (3 days in Italy or Mexico) or small (an overnight camping trip or a day at the museums), put something in place that you can look forward to. That reward is what you can lock your eyes on and work toward.
Make this summer the one that you’ll look back on with pride. Work hard, have fun at your mid-summer reward, and then finish your summer with a bang. Have something to show for your Summer of 2008.
What will you do to take charge this summer? I’d love to hear from you.
Happy Summer Writing,
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