Taking an Inventory

New years, whether calendar or academic, are a good time to take stock of writing projects.


What’s on your writing to-do list? List every project that comes to mind. What’s in-progress, what’s on the horizon that you’ve already committed to, and what’s on your dream list (i.e., “I wish I had time for this project…”)?


What’s most pressing? Which projects have firm deadlines? Many writers have more ideas for writing projects than they have time to complete. Make the tough choices about which projects you can – or need to – complete in the short-term. Move the remaining projects to a long-term writing ideas list.

Then prioritize the short-term projects. Which project needs your attention first? Perhaps you have a project that would be easy to complete and would strengthen a tenure or promotion file. Perhaps you have data that will be less relevant if you wait to write about it. Or maybe you have a project that you just need to get out of your head so that you can move on to other things.

Take 30 minutes to determine your top priorities and to start a long-term project list. If the short-term list is still overly-optimistic in length, ask a friend to help you make the final cuts. Tomorrow, I’ll share some tips for turning that short-term list into an action plan for writing.