The ability to do academic writing is well rewarded here at CUNY. In an effort to help my colleagues, this is a list of what is currently working for me. This is how I became a writer.
- Find something you are really passionate about. It really helps if you are excited to keep diving into whatever it is. This has been one of the engines driving me. When I started doing disabilities studies work, it really took off like a rocket.
- What can you give up? I wrote an article without reassignment leave. I wrote on the train. I wrote nights and weekends. I stopped doing my volunteer work.
- Work on it every day, even if it’s for 15 minutes. Read an article on the subway or something. The reason for this is that it is really hard to put it down and pick it up again a week later. (This is what I didn’t understand with Junior Reassignment Leave.) You have to keep the fire lit. This is the main point. Become obsessed with it.
- Morning Pages
- This is a point learned from Julia Cameron. She calls them Morning Pages, and insists on long hand. I have morphed a little bit, I use my ipad and a Bluetooth keyboard. The point is a daily free write. Give yourself permission to scribble.
- Get yourself a collaborator. Somebody to keep you on task and to read your writing. Somebody to call when your courage fails you. That’s one of the greatest gifts that my interest in disabilities studies has brought me. My collaborator is Scott Sheidlower from York College.
- Look for other opportunities to write. Write newsletter articles for your community organization. I really do believe that other kinds of writing that don’t go on my CV has increased my ability to show up for scholarship.
- Carry a notebook around with you. Mine is my ipad. I have also seen a composition notebook used to great effect by a poet.
- Read constantly. It really doesn’t matter what.
The two major points that have changed my life are finding a passion, and being willing to work on it every day.