It is no secret that one of the biggest challenges academics face (outside the brutality of the job market) is staying on track in writing and publishing. The inherent isolation of writing combined with the challenges of adapting to life as an academic can leave even the most successful scholar struggling to produce.
As with all things related to the Ph.D, the Professor Is In is dedicated to helping you succeed. We created two different programs to help you tackle the two elephant-sized roadblocks to your productivity — procrastination and isolation.
|Unstuck: The Art of Productivity |
Are you a tenure track professor struggling to get your article finished? Have a book chapter that is languishing? Are you teaching on a contingent contract, juggling your limited time to get the publications you need to go on the market again? Are you grad student looking for that final push over the finish line? In other words, are you an academic writer? This course is for you.
Unstuck is a 12-step, self-guided course that walks you step-by-step through acquiring the tools and practices of a productive academic writing practice. Membership includes access to daily blog posts, checklists, coaching videos and live webinars with Productivity Coach Kellee Weinhold as well as interaction with a writing community. Each part of the course is designed to help you identify your negative habits and rewire your brain for regular and enjoyable writing!
You can join Unstuck on the first Monday of the month of your choice.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR UNSTUCK: The Art Of Productivity (The May Session starts on May 6th.)
|The Art of the Article|
Have you done the research and have the results but are unclear about how to write a journal article? Has your advisor’s most “helpful” advice been, “You need to publish in top-tier journals”? Do you keep “intending” to start your article but somehow never get past reading endlessly in preparation for the lit review? Are you afraid of pressing the submit button? This course is for you.
The Art of Article is a 10 week course designed to produce a shitty draft of your IMRDC article. (Introduction; Methodology; Results of the Research; Discussion; Conclusion.) Membership includes access to step-by-step instructions, checklists, coaching videos with Developmental Editor Dr. Jane Jones and TPII Productivity Coach Kel Weinhold as well as interaction with a writing community via a private social network. Each part of the course is designed to help you create a first draft of a journal article! The course requires a project with results.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR The Art of the Article (The May Session starts on May 6th.)
It is no exaggeration to state that Unstuck has changed my academic life. I was ready to leave academia as toxic working practices were taking over, and I had imported self-doubt and anxiety into my writing practice. I believed that writing was, and would always be, a miserable experience for me. Unstuck changed all that: I treat writing as an automatic part of my job (like service and teaching) and no longer attach unnecessary emotional baggage to it, or the inevitable rejections and set backs that are part of academic life. Unstuck has enabled me to reclaim writing as a pleasure that fits within the 9-5 contractual obligations and not within holidays, weekends and in place of my actual life. The core benefits of Unstuck has been a rewiring of my writing brain, and a recognition of where I have not always been my own best advocate (setting down those rocks, and staying in my own lane). I now have a regular writing practice (5 days per week); i produce more work than I ever have in my 13 year career (since Unstuck in 8 months I have submitted 3 journal articles and a book chapter). Most of all, I am happier in my job. It was the worth every penny!
I cannot recommend this course enough — even my husband (a non academic who runs his own business) has gotten a lot out of listening to the coaching videos with me, so your influence has been spread far and wide.
– First and foremost, I am much more honest to myself about the time I need to write stuff. I plan much more realistically than before and connected to this is learning to say no to invitations to write chapters or articles.
– Second, I discovered the pleasure of starting the morning with a delicious cup of coffee in the café where I try to start the day writing (when possible). In other words, I have learnt to save time for writing and to have a space for writing different from my office, where interruptions are recurrent.
– Third, I take more care of myself, I sleep more hours, do more sport.
– Fourth, I gained a cool friend from the small group with whom I talk every week over skype despite the 6 or 7-hour time difference. We talk about academic writing projects, we exchange tips and establish SMART writing goals but we also talk about personal stuff. We know each other pretty well by now and hope to meet each other in person pretty soon.
– Five, I started a weekly writing meeting with a colleague in my city whom I would probably have never met without Unstuck. And we commit to one hour of writing every week.
I totally recommend the programme, it definitely changes one’s approach to writing.
“I joined Unstuck last summer. Since then, I have submitted my book manuscript for review and submitted an article manuscript for review. Prior to that I was in a book revising funk for about a year. still tying up loose ends with the book and article but inching towards writing new material too. Most of all I have moved into the slow and steady wins the race philosophy thanks to Unstuck – without the feeling of panic or impending doom I once felt.”
I chose a project in July that was competing with two others and is still in progress, my book proposal. I learned from Kellee that it’s incredibly difficult and frustrating to try to keep three projects in the air at the same time.
That said, I finished 2 of the 3, a book review and the critical introduction to a special issue of a journal I have co-edited. I’m really proud of the second. And did this all while adjusting to being the new chair of my department (44 faculty members total).
In the seven months before I joined Unstuck, I fretted a lot. And didn’t submit anything other than a conference abstract or two.
I now take weekends completely off and don’t look at work stuff after I get home. I also write everyday, sometimes only morning pages, but that’s writing.
When I started the UNSTUCK program in October 2017, I came into it with a certain level of skepticism. In fact, I believe I sent you an email stating that I did not think the program was for me. You convinced me otherwise and I stayed with it until the very last lesson in December. I have little doubt that the experiences of others in the program differed from mine, but for me, the videos that accompanied each lesson became a fountain of reassurance and inspiration. So, on January 13th I received notice from the registrar at the university that my Ph.D. in Psychology had been officially conferred! Please accept my sincere appreciation for helping me believe in myself to the extent that I was able to achieve such an important academic milestone.
Former ABD, now PhD
I’m an assistant professor on the tenure track. I participated in “Unstuck” over a year ago and I continue to practice things I learned from the meetings and activities.
I particularly benefited from what I learned about time management. I used to work on projects in long, unpleasant jags that would be too unfocused and haphazard to move a piece forward in a clear, strategic way. I don’t do that anymore, and have gotten better at putting in short, focused effort on projects so I can to move forward coherently and with purpose. In the past, I didn’t trust myself to get things done unless I worked on them in a compulsive and unsustainable way. I now know from experience that if I break a task into achievable pieces, it is inevitable that I will finish the job.
As a result of revising parts of my approach to time and work, I am much more efficient than I used to be. At the same time I have a work-life balance that is sustainable. This year I wrote four grant proposals, published two articles, designed a new course, began a new research project, passed my second-year review, and began work on a book proposal. I also started a new hobby, made it to the gym regularly, and invested time in my recently minted marriage. I work hard, but I do not feel overwhelmed all the time.
Most significantly, I found “Unstuck” to be a great counterpoint to the tendencies that I absorbed in graduate school – overwork, insecurity, and unhealthy identification with work products instead of process. Kellee really understands the psychological and emotional dynamics that make academics unproductive, and she has solid and practical suggestions for replacing them in your own work process. Additionally, she has a well-founded critique of how academic institutions encroach on the time and happiness of grad students and faculty, and her productivity coaching is not just about being more productive and successful. An important goal of “Unstuck” is becoming a mature and self-respecting person with good boundaries – not just a better worker.
I just wanted to drop you a line to honor how incredibly helpful the Unstuck program has been. I can hardly believe that in the last 16 months I have:
1. Taken a sprawling dissertation and brought it to the point where I am now looking at the copy-editing notes from the publisher;
2. Going over final edits for a chapter in an edited volume, the proposal for which I wrote in mid May 2018;
3. Preparing to attend an international conference to present a scholarly paper (a first for me, and this is a top-tier venue), the seeds of which have been germination for almost 2 years, but which really took off over this past summer.
4. Awaiting decision on grant application for said international travel, which, short though it was, required a somewhat substantial narrative.
This is just incredible productivity considering I carry a 3/3 load in an environment that is not particularly supportive of scholarship (although it makes high demands).
I read about UnStuck at a critical stage of my PhD program. The timing of the UnStuck course coincided the approval of a second extension for my PhD program. I was exhausted. Over the previous six years I juggled responsibilities as a part time PhD student, a full-time non-tenure track faculty, and a Faculty administrator. My original plan was to complete the PhD in 3 years. Get in. Get out. That didn’t happen. I felt like I failed. Even though I was determined to focus on writing, even when teaching or other responsibilities were no longer in the way, other burning issues emerged (anything but writing). I had to admit it to myself: I was stuck.
I decided to register for the first UnStuck course beginning in May 2017. The course provided structure, inspiration, and support. Over the first few weeks, I identified practices that were preventing me from meeting my goals, such as binge writing and not scheduling time off. After 2 weeks in the course I began to enjoy writing again. I was writing each day and accomplishing other tasks. I was meeting regularly with a small group as well as interacting with the larger group taking the course. The feelings of failure and isolation diminished.
By July, I wrote the final three chapters and submitted a full draft of my dissertation. I completed my PhD a few months later. The UnStuck course created an environment I needed to achieve this goal and feel very,
very good about it. For me it was all about community. I revisit the course often and remain in contact with members of my small group. My approach to writing continues to evolve.
Thank you Kellee!
Former ABD, now PhD
Kellee is, by far, the best mentor and writing coach I’ve ever had. The UNSTUCK program has encouraged me to reach out to colleagues, it’s provided me with an excellent group of scholars who offer daily support and encouragement and it’s forced me to be honest about what I can and should accomplish this summer. Overall, the last 6 weeks have been (realistically) productive and a pleasure. Can’t say enough good things about Kellee’s program and guidance.
I have always had issues with writing to the extent that I have questioned my choice of profession. Last year, which was my second year in a TT position, was specially challenging due to some life events. When the opportunity came to take this seminar, I took it with some enthusiasm but also doubt. I am a professional slacker! Can a weekly hour long writing workshop actually change habits that took almost a decade and a half to solidify? The answer is a very strong yes! I have written and worked more on my research in the last six weeks than in the last several months combined. The wonderful coach that Kellee is, the very structured approach to writing she teaches, the methods I learned on how to approach writing when it appears to be a very angry Hulk, have indeed changed my work habits. I still get anxiety about writing, I still get the nagging feeling that my work is not good enough, but now, I work as opposed to just worrying and being anxious about tenure. When I read my paper now, I see progress. It is not a paper I have been sitting on for a year now, it is a project that is getting close to submission. I write and I make lists and approach the paper from an entirely new and much improved perspective. I have also noticed an improvement in my non-work related habits. I have just become so much more proactive about so many other things.
I might actually stop seeing my therapist as regularly so it saves money too!! 🙂
I’m emailing to say Happy Birthday from one of the TPII Unstuck writing groups! (Apparently Skype lets you know when there is a birthday to celebrate). When I shared it today with my fellow summer writing group members, I suggested that we list our accomplishments for the month in honor of your birthday and everything that you’ve done to help ALL of us at various points in our careers. Here’s the list:
-5 journal articles submitted, under review, or in revision
-1 sample chapter submitted for a book proposal
-1 fellowship submitted
-consistent writing EVERY day, even with kids, jobs, and service
-personal sanity and a professional support network in this crazy academic life
As a group, we are definitely “unstuck” thanks to you and The Professor Is In site. I hope you will copy and paste this for a special blast on Facebook so others can post what they’ve accomplished with your help or “like” covertly from the shadows. Whether it’s job applications, career advice, or writing support, we could not have done it without you!
“I was in last July’s Unstuck cohort, and I just wanted to say thank you. I successfully defended my dissertation last Friday (no revisions!) and I could not have finished it or gotten to the defense without Unstuck. The tools I got are invaluable, and I will definitely be returning to them as I try to make this thing into a book. I’m so grateful to you and Karen for all the support.”
“I just submitted my very first article (and Unstuck project) to an academic journal! Thank you all!”