Archive for July, 2007

I was reading in the book Professors as Writers the other day about the reasons professors have a hard time writing diligently and productively. Robert Boice, the author, outlines a number of reasons based on years of research and consulting, and you can read the book for the specifics. As I see it, a lot of it boils down to fear; people are afraid of looking like an idiot, or–perhaps worse–they’re afraid that they’ll discover for themselves that they’re really not as talented as they thought. We’re afraid, so we run away. We find other things to occupy our time and make us feel busy and justify our inactivity. “I have to read some more about this topic first.” … “I need to do some more preparations for class.” … “I have to respond to this email.” “I have to get ready for that meeting.” The list goes on and on.

One problem with running away is that, when we fail to practice¬† because we’re afraid, our skill atrophies, and we become even more afraid. Fear and inactivity in writing lead into a downward spiral. We gain nothing from running away. Boice’s basic recommendations: set goals, practice writing consistently (every day or every other day), and practice showing your work to others before you think you’re ready.

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