This text is available in Writing about Teaching Learning in Higher Education as Our Perspectives 23.1.

Kelly Matthews writing on laptop, which sits atop her sleeping daughter.Kelly: My life is crazy with two small kids at home and a work schedule filled with weekly meetings and teaching blocks. So long spans of time for writing or week-long writing retreats/vacations are not possible. All I need for writing is myself and something to write on. For example, I once wrote an editorial using a basic notepad app on my phone in between infant feedings. After a month, I had the bones of the piece drafted. If I had waited for the right lighting and ambience, well, I would still be waiting. For years, I harbored the dream of place, space, and time for writing, and it was not helpful for me. Now, I prioritize writing—not planning the space and time for writing. I also accept that it is not possible for me to write every day, yet I can write almost anywhere when I have the time. I do schedule one work day per week for writing (taken over by other tasks 60% of the time), and I can sit for six hours straight writing before hunger and bathroom breaks disrupt me.

Mick Healey working at computer in home office, surrounded by his three golden retrieversMick: Throughout my career I’ve always done my writing at home. Now that I am independent, I am based at home. I rarely start work before 9am and contrary to many of the time management guides, I like to clear as many emails as possible before I start reading or writing. Sometimes that means waiting until after lunch. I appreciate a late afternoon siesta, as this gives me the energy to work for three or four more hours in the evening. Weekends are often the most productive times as there are fewer emails! However, it’s not all work. I also take the dogs for a walk and play tennis when I am at home. I work best in my study at my desk where I overlook the garden, though on a nice summer day I’ll take my laptop and work in the garden. I travel a lot, and I find that train journeys can be quite productive, as long as I remember to take my headphones to listen to classical music and block out distracting noise. I keep mundane tasks, such as preparing a list of references, for while I watch TV.

Alison Cook-Sather, seated on a couch with laptop in lap and her dog sitting next to herAlison: I do my best writing in the (very) early mornings, in the solitude of any silent space I can sit with my laptop computer. I am a morning person, and I often spend a couple of hours between 5:00 (or even 4:00) and 7:00 working on my writing before the sun rises and before my daughter wakes up. I can also spend full days writing and need to remind myself to take breaks, walk outside, eat something. I need absolute silence to write (well, wind and rain don’t bother me, but almost everything else does), so busy times of day and loud places like cafés or airports really don’t work for me.