If you feel overwhelmed when you think about your academic writing, you are not alone. Many academics spend months or even years sitting on half-finished drafts of journal articles.
There are many reasons why people do not make progress with their academic writing projects.
The first is that they are unable to create the time they need. For many academics, particularly women, every day is spent doing things for other people, whether that be students, colleagues or family members. To actually put aside time for their own writing feels almost impossible. As a result, writing is done hurriedly, late at night and just before a deadline. The result is that the final product is nowhere near as polished as it could have been. With manuscript and grant acceptance rates abysmally low, it’s vital to ensure that your written work is of a high standard.
Another difficulty is that many people spend their time in an endless cycle of writing and rewriting. With no clear writing process to follow, they swap between the creative process of writing and the analytical process of editing, which means it can take a long time just to write one paragraph.
A lack of confidence is also a problem. Imposter syndrome is rife throughout academia and people can be their own harshest critic when it comes to writing. And often the only feedback we get it negative feedback, meaning that people think their writing is not as good as it really is.