Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 43:

“I need big blocks of time to write, and my schedule doesn’t allow such blocks.”

I address the misconception about needing big blocks of time in Week 1, in Designing Your Writing Schedule, pages 26-31:

“Study after study shows that you don’t need big blocks of time to write effectively (Boice 1982, 1992; Krashen 2002). In fact, writers who write a little bit most days produce more manuscripts than those who alternate extended writing sessions with weeks or months of not writing at all. Writing just thirty minutes a day can make you one of those unusual writers who publish several journal articles a year.”

I address how to get over this misconception and write most days.

I also address what I call “spree writers,” who spend part of every day thinking about their writing, and reading and taking notes, but who only draft in bursts, over long weekends or several weeks in the summer. They are not what Boice calls “binge writers,” which is the pathology of not thinking about writing at all for weeks or months and then writing for hours and hours over a short few days, often in response to a deadline.

Assuming you have read my advice in the workbook, let me state my argument about this differently here.

If you don’t have access to big blocks of time, you have to change how you write. It’s as simple as that. And most academics don’t have access to big blocks of time.

Also, if you think that you can’t do it without big blocks of time, my question is this: Have you ever tried it any other way? Many academics believe that in order to write they must have long, uninterrupted stretches of time and yet they have never tried it any other way! It is unscientific to have such firm beliefs without having tested them. 

Works Cited

Boice, Robert. 1982. “Increasing the Writing Productivity of ‘Blocked’ Academicians.” Behaviour Research and Therapy 20 (3): 197–207.

Boice, Robert. 1992. The New Faculty Member: Supporting and Fostering Professional Development. San Francisco:

Krashen, Stephen. 2002. “Optimal Levels of Writing Management: A Re-analysis of Boice (1983).” Education 122 (3): 605–8.

Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 43, in addition to the the obstinance obstacles listed on page 32 of Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success (University of Chicago Press, 2019).