Writing is still a challenge for me. The good news on this front is that I accept this...and I choose to proceed anyway.
I accept that academic writing makes me uncomfortable. I am worried about being judged, misunderstood. I am worried about being scrutinized extra harshly (and ridiculously over simple or common things) because I've been socialized to expect these types of responses from 'fellow' academics over my work - or actually anything I do. As Prince reminded people, "Black people don't get second chances". And yes, even at this level, heck especially at this level, this is true for Othered Academics. So, I'm uncomfortable. There's a LOT of chatter in my brain. A LOT of mental calculus and interrogation scenarios that precede and co-occur with EVERY letter I type. And yes, it slows me down, if not completely stalls me.
Maybe, writing is hard because of my identity as a Scholar Activist. *Kayne Shurg*
I accept support and assistance. Months ago, during one of my other Twitter confessions I was contacted by a kind soul who offered to mentor me through the writing process. And she has been nothing short of a God send. I am thankful, not only for your encouragement and constructive feedback, but that she also gets my anxiety about academic writing. I also have been using campus resources for statistical support. Science is collaborative, even the thinking space parts. I don't have it all or know it all, but I know when I need more and/or different resources and I have the wisdom to seek them out and secure them.
October 2015, I attended the SACNAS Postdoc Retreat and participated in a Scientific Writing Workshop, presented by BioScience Writers, and other panels at the meeting also centered around publishing and productivity. I learned some important lessons and tricks for getting started writing and staying on track.
One of those tricks was particpating in Writing Groups. Immediately after that meeting, still on an inspirational high I signed up for the online 14-Day Writing Challenge presented by National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity. It was just what I needed to apply those lessons from the workshop. So in March, 5 months later, I needed a shot in the arm. I cried out on Twitter and others who were in a similar boat stepped up, so we all worked together to host our own writing challenge. I called it the March #Madwriting Madness Challenge - in honor of the hashtag I often use to document my writing activities and challenges.
I accept that I can do this. I might be slow and at times timid or anxious, but I'm still here, plugging away. (Any joiners on my next writing challenge, a May #Madwriting Madness, perhaps?