The frustrations so many academics experience when things get in the way of research can, in fact, turn into a big positive. The question ‘How much should you expect to write?’ during a period of study leave or sustained research time has no simple answer, but I’m beginning to recognise that it is the wrong question to ask. Instead of the ‘how much?’ we are better off focusing on questions such as ‘how effective?’ or ‘how efficient?’ is your research writing.
Last week’s logistical disruptions paradoxically meant a lot of the bitty reading I’d managed to squeeze in had time to percolate. I started this week with a clear diary and a clear head: and lo and behold all of the reading I’d managed to tackle as I snatched the occasional sit-down last week has meant that the writing is going well. My planned milestones to complete by the end of this month are now looking very achievable (once again), such that I don’t need to push back or revise my plans as I’d feared. A troublesome section of an article I couldn’t fix is now resolved. And messy bits of thoughts and drafts are being reused and recast into a much more compelling argument in a new book chapter.
The moral of the tale is: everything counts, and it will all start to come together soon enough.