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On setting writing targets

At the beginning of the year, I ran a poll to learn if academics set writing targets for the New Year. I often see other blogging academics mention that they want to submit X papers during the year, and was wondering how common this is. Personally, I don’t set targets, but I do make a list at the beginning of every semester which papers I intend to submit – for conference papers, this is related to deadlines, and for other papers I use my list of papers in progress and papers to write to see which paper(s) I should be working on.

While I sometimes set writing targets for myself (I want to write 1000 words on this paper today and then move to the next task), I have started to move away from setting such targets, since these only work when I need to draft text. It doesn’t help when I need to type up lots of formulas, or when I’m making drawings for my papers. And some papers are just harder to put together than others. So, I now prefer to dedicate myself to focused attention for a certain amount of time per day to make sure a writing project moves forward.

t looks like my approach is not so strange – most respondents of the poll don’t set goals or don’t set writing targets.

You can find the results of this poll and its wake here:

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