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Monday, October 7, 2013

Learning to write a lot

The summer of 2013 went by too quickly, and the fall is quickly slipping away. Tick tock, tick tock goes the publishing and training clocks.

My summer was productive both as an economist and a runner. The annual research trip to Rutgers University included big steps in my joint project regarding clinical depression and labor market outcomes with Bill. Any empirical economist will understand the joy we experienced when we discovered a natural experiment that was possible to utilize! More to come on that in the near future. Our goal to get a draft finished by September was not met, but our new goal of by the end of 2013 will be aided by some new writing techniques discussed below.

During one of our coffee shop meetings Bill shared that he had started carving out a set period each day to work on his research projects and this approach had proven to be effective; he has made great progress on several ongoing projects. Recently I started reading "How to Write a Lot" by Paul J. Silvia. He not only suggests the same, but argues that writers should vigorously defend a set writing schedule, even if that means fibbing to those who might not understand "No, I cannot meet at that time because that is my writing period." As the new John S. Shannon Endowed Professor of Economics I have an even greater responsibility to write well and to write a lot. I am getting better about not letting grading, excuses, life, etc. get in the way of writing (I have submitted one paper so far this semester), but I have great room for improvement. I hope that this blog will help keep me accountable. If you are an academic writer, you should read Silvia's book.

On the running front, the progress continues! Each week I get stronger. I continue to take Monday's off, but still hit a high of 86 miles on a six day running week; I hit the majority of my workout goals and continue to enjoy monitoring my progress towards Philadelphia. Twice I incorporated a race into a workout, including running the last 10.1 miles of the High Bridge Half Marathon at goal marathon pace. For those of you who do a majority of your long workouts solo, this is a much less mentally taxing way of getting the work done.

Winning the High Bridge Half Marathon in August
Having a strong support group is crucial to running success and I have found that in so many different places recently. Not only do I have an amazing long run partner (Sarah Glenn), but also members of the RNTC (including Steve Crowder), the new Roanoke Valley Elite Track Club, my coach and friends with Without Limits, Brooks shoes and apparel, and Hammer Nutrition.

Until next time, keep writing and running,


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