Time management is a big challenge for PhD and DNP graduates, the demands of a new faculty position, trying to establish a research trajectory, taking on new clinical responsibilities; all make it hard to find the time to write. The bottom line is, you will not find the time – you have to make the time. You have to block out a specific time in your schedule for writing.
Start or end your day with an hour of writing, or even just 30 minutes if an hour seems daunting at the end of a long day. Dedicate 4 hours on your days off. If you’re going to write during your workday, block out that time on your calendar as unavailable.
There are a number of steps you can take to enhance your writing efficiency:
- Keep a revision trail by saving each day’s work with a new letter or number at the end of the title. I can guarantee at some point you are going to decide you really do want to include something you deleted three revisions back and wish you could remember what you wrote.
- Use bibliographic management programs, such as Refworks or EndNote, to save your references and to format your reference list.
- Designate a dedicated writing space where you can keep your writing material together and at hand – articles, bibliography, current draft, thesaurus, data, etc. So no packing it up to make room for dinner and dragging it all out again. It’s right there calling to you! When you’re ready to write you can sit down and dive right in.
- Before each writing session, read through your current draft to get your mind back into the project and the flow of where you left off.
Send out query letters. There are few things more motivating then knowing that a journal is interested in your article. Be realistic with expected date of completion, but don’t be too lenient on yourself.
Most important: HONOR YOUR WRITING TIME. Commit to spending a certain amount of time every day or every week to writing. Make a writing appointment on your calendar and KEEP IT.
Good luck and now start writing…