I am a strong proponent of daily writing, especially on days that I fail to write.
The NCFDD (of which MSU is a member) has a ton of resources, organized around success in research & academia [particularly daily writing]. Click here for more information.
The study on daily writing and productivity is summarized nicely at the blog “Get a Life, PhD” and is also quoted below.
“The Test: Does Writing Accountability Work?
To find out if daily writing and accountability can be effective, Robert Boice conducted a test with 27 faculty members who desired help with improving their writing productivity. He put the 27 faculty into three groups and examined their writing productivity for ten weeks.
The first group was instructed to write only if they had to write, but asked to keep a log of creative ideas for writing. The idea behind this group was that planned abstinence would lead to the production of creative ideas for writing when the time came.
The second group scheduled writing sessions five days a week for ten weeks, but was encouraged to write only when they were in the mood. They also were asked to take the time they had scheduled for writing to log a new creative idea for writing each day. The idea behind this group was that writing only when they were in the mood would be favorable for creativity.
The third group agreed to a strict accountability plan. They scheduled five writing sessions a week for ten weeks, and kept a log of creative ideas for writing. To ensure that they would write every day, the members of this group gave Boice a pre-paid check for $25, made out to a hated organization. If they failed to write in any of their planned sessions, Boice would mail the check. The idea behind this group was that forced writing would require the group to come up with creative ideas for writing.
The Results: Daily Writing and Accountability Work
Boice’s study revealed:
1) Abstinent writers produced an average of 0.2 pages per day, and only one idea per week.
2) Spontaneous writers produced an average of 0.9 pages per day, and one creative idea every two days.
3) Forced writers produced an average of 3.2 pages and one creative idea each day.”
To close, one of my favorite metaphors for “How to Write” is summarized by the following “How to Draw An Owl”.
One thought on “Some thoughts on writing”
I’ve always been skeptical of Boice’s small experiments, which are often used to denigrate so-called “binge” writing. But this I can get behind: whether your writing session are large or small, they have to be frequent. (And frequent large are better than frequent small, just unrealistic!) The most important thing is simple: if you aren’t writing, it’s magical thinking to expect that writing will result!