Top 5 Writing Habits

  1. Set regular writing time: Nearly all of the books and resources about academic publishing guarantee you will publish more if you commit to a set writing time like it’s an important meeting with the Dean.
  2. Set writing goals and action steps: Even thinking about a next article can be overwhelming. Many writers find it helpful to break a large project into smaller steps that can be achieved quickly.
  3. Create a distraction-free environment: Part of the reason many of us never get much writing done is that we are distracted by many things: email, phone notifications, and getting sucked into the Facebook wormhole. Getting more writing done involves turning off those notifications, setting times of the day to check email, and reducing time spent on social media.
  4. Create a research pile: Finding research topics may be the first hurdle for some academics. Creating a research pile allows you to dump any ideas in one place and then to rank them according to feasibility and priority.
  5. Track your writing time and progress: Some of the most productive writers swear by writing tracking. Start with a spreadsheet. The top columns may include the date, project, start time, end time, and words written. You can add additional columns that will help you to track your writing over time. You can use the same sheet to break out action steps and create a plan for future writing sessions.
Date Year Month Day Project Start Time End Time Time Spent Written Writing Goal Total Words Total Time

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a favorite of many to beat procrastination and maintain productivity and focus. The pomodoro technique utilizes alternating study and break times of 25 and 5 minutes, respectively. Each of these 25 minute bursts of productivity is called a “pomodoro”, named after the tomato timer used by Francesco Cirillo in the 1990’s.

Pomodoro Apps: Mac: Be Focused | Web: Tomato Timer

In this video, the author goes over 1. Brief history and theory of the Pomodoro Technique 2. How to Use the Pomodoro Technique 3. Distractions 4. When to Use the Pomodoro Technique 5. Modifications to the standard 25/5 Pomodoro scheme.

Books and Resources about Writing & Publishing

Katelyn Knox’s Emdash Blog

This is THE ultimate publishing blog for academics. The beautiful packaging is packed with insightful tips to help you write more and be distracted less.

How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing – Paul Silvia

All students and professors need to write, and many struggle to finish their stalled dissertations, journal articles, book chapters, or grant proposals. Writing is hard work and can be difficult to wedge into a frenetic academic schedule. In this practical, light-hearted, and encouraging book, Paul Silvia explains that writing productively does not require innate skills or special traits but specific tactics and actions. Drawing examples from his own field of psychology, he shows readers how to overcome motivational roadblocks and become prolific without sacrificing evenings, weekends, and vacations. After describing strategies for writing productively, the author gives detailed advice from the trenches on how to write, submit, revise, and resubmit articles, how to improve writing quality, and how to write and publish academic work.

Write It Up: Practical Strategies for Writing and Publishing Journal Articles – Paul Silvia

Your academic writing will be more influential if you approach it reflectively and strategically. Based on his experience as an author, journal editor, and reviewer, Paul Silvia offers sage and witty advice on problems like picking journals; cultivating the right tone and style for your article; managing collaborative projects and coauthors; crafting effective Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion sections; and submitting and resubmitting papers to journals. This book is for anyone writing an empirical article in APA Style, from beginners facing their first article to old dogs looking for new writing strategies.

Write No Matter What: Advice for Academics- Joli Jensen

With growing academic responsibilities, family commitments, and inboxes, scholars are struggling to fulfill their writing goals. A finished book—or even steady journal articles—may seem like an impossible dream. But, as Joli Jensen proves, it really is possible to write happily and productively in academe.

Air & Light & Time & Space: How Successful Academics Write – Helen Sword

Helen Sword interviewed one hundred academics worldwide about their writing background and practices. Relatively few were trained as writers, she found, and yet all have developed strategies to thrive in their publish-or-perish environment. So how do these successful academics write, and where do they find the “air and light and time and space,” in the words of poet Charles Bukowski, to get their writing done? What are their formative experiences, their daily routines, their habits of mind? How do they summon up the courage to take intellectual risks and the resilience to deal with rejection?

Stylish Academic Writing – Helen Sword

Stylish Academic Writing showcases a range of scholars from the sciences, humanities, and social sciences who write with vividness and panache. Individual chapters take up specific elements of style, such as titles and headings, chapter openings, and structure, and close with examples of transferable techniques that any writer can master.

The Writer’s Diet – Helen Sword

Helen Sword dispenses with excessive explanations and overwrought analysis. Instead, she offers an easy-to-follow set of writing principles: use active verbs whenever possible; favor concrete language over vague abstractions; avoid long strings of prepositional phrases; employ adjectives and adverbs only when they contribute something new to the meaning of a sentence; and reduce your dependence on four pernicious “waste words”: it, this, that, and there.

The Elements of Academic Style- Eric Hayot

Eric Hayot teaches graduate students and faculty in literary and cultural studies how to think and write like a professional scholar. From granular concerns, such as sentence structure and grammar, to big-picture issues, such as adhering to genre patterns for successful research and publishing and developing productive and rewarding writing habits, Hayot helps ambitious students, newly minted Ph.D.’s, and established professors shape their work and develop their voices.

Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks – Wendy Belcher

Belcher’s classic will take you from draft to published.


Editage is a resource for authors and journals. It features manuscript preparation, tips on the publishing process, and industry posts. Check out this post on – 6 Types of Journal Articles. 

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