Most academic writers either don’t make a writing plan, or make a writing plan but don’t stick to it. For those that do write after making a plan to, the problem is that we do both in isolation. Jane Jones shares her tips on how we can increase our writing productivity. 

#1 Revise Your Writing Plan

Writing is hard.

Planning to write is hard too.

The problem is that we do both in isolation.

Sure, we have workshops, writing partners, and conferences where we share our work and get feedback. The actual process of writing, however, is solitary.

If that’s true for our writing, is doubly true for the planning. You do it by yourself. Rarely do you ever share your writing plan with anybody else. It’s yours, and yours alone.

I think you should seek feedback on your writing plans.

You might be asking yourself, “why on earth would I share my writing plan?” Sharing your writing plan sounds stupid. It’s not stupid, and here’s why.

Most academic writers either don’t make a writing plan, or make a writing plan but don’t stick to it.

Earlier this year, I conducted an informal survey of 118 academic writers. Of those respondents, 55% said they do not have a writing schedule, 74% said they do not stick to their writing schedule, and 74% also stated they are unsatisfied with the amount of time they spend on their writing.

Clearly, bootstrapping your writing schedule just isn’t working.

Writing effectively stylish academic

#2 You Can Find Time to Write

You might believe these writing problems are just the inevitable plight of being an academic; overworked with no time to write. I used to think that too, especially when I was on the tenure track.

That response, however, was never satisfying. That dissatisfaction led me to design my program, The Productivity Pipeline; a one-on-one coaching system for academic writers who want to approach their writing in a thoughtful, systematic way so they can create sustainable habits.

I work with my clients to develop a consistent, durable writing practice where they look forward to writing; construct boundaries to protect their writing time (which is a lot easier when you actually enjoy your writing); and establish realistic goals so that they aren’t constantly disappointed by impossible expectations.


#3 Combat the Tyranny of Unrealistic Expectations

We do this in two ways.

First, we use data.

Each client tracks their time so we can assess what they’re doing during the workday.

We measure the amount of time they spend on each task and determine if it’s appropriate. Then, we discuss how they feel about the time.

Are they resentful of the amount of time spent on an activity? Do they find that the 30 minutes they allocate for writing turns into 20 minutes or no time at all? We analyze this data constantly to identify trends and address obstacles.

Second, I serve as a reality check.

I’m a fairly interventionist coach because my clients are generally burdened by one of two unrealistic standards.

One is that they should write all the things all the time. The other is that because they couldn’t write yesterday, they can’t write today and certainly won’t be able to write tomorrow.

On some level, they know these lines of thinking are wrong, but what they need is somebody else to tell them that. They need a partner who can provide the support they need to get writing, but also stand firm when they want to succumb to their unproductive impulses concerning writing.

If you’d like to know more about what it’s like to work with a coach, then please check out my service here. You’ll find more details on what the coaching relationship includes and learn the features of the program.

If you want to bring order to your writing process and enjoy your writing rather than dread it, the Productivity Pipeline might be right for you.

The author, Jane Jones, is a New York-based academic author and consultant at Her enterprise is committed to helping you achieve your career goals, whether that means writing more, writing better, managing your time, or negotiating the sometimes rocky terrain of academia. 

Her writing has been published in peer-reviewed sociology journals and public health outlets, and you can follow her on Twitter @janejoann and Facebook.

Other posts by Jane Jones: Tenure-track, no but thanks!  |||  Self-care in a world of busy