Becoming the Writer You Already Are: A Conversation with Michelle R. Boyd


Procrastination. Writer’s block. Feeling stuck. Are you struggling with the blank page? Today’s guest shares her methods that help writers move past these blocks by turning inward to discover their own writing process, and become the writer they already are.

Today’s book is Becoming the Writer You Already Are (Sage, 2022), by Dr. Michelle R. Boyd, which helps scholars uncover their unique writing process and design a writing practice that fits how they work. In it, Dr. Boyd introduces the Writing Metaphor as a reflective tool that can help you understand and overcome your writing fears: going from “stuck” to “unstuck” by drawing on skills you already have at your fingertips. She also offers an experimental approach to trying out any new writing strategy, so you can easily fill out the parts of your writing process that need developing. The book includes a number of helpful features: Real Scholars’ Stories provide insights into overcoming writing barriers; Wise Words from other scholars capture the trials of writing as well as avenues through those trials; and Focus Points highlight important ideas, questions, or techniques to consider. The book is ideal for dissertation writing seminars, graduate students struggling with the transition from coursework to dissertation work, scholars who are supporting or participating in writing groups, and marginalized scholars whose write struggles have prompted them to internalize the bias that others have about their ability to do exemplary research.

Our guest is: Michelle Boyd, PhD, who is an award-winning writer, and a former tenured faculty member. Her book Jim Crow Nostalgia: Reconstructing Race in Bronzeville won a Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association. After earning tenure, Michelle focused her research and service on helping scholars better understand their writing process. In 2012 she cofounded and coached a dissertation writing retreat for graduate students studying race and ethnicity. Three years later, she left academia and founded InkWell, where she specializes in helping stuck, scared scholars free themselves from fear and build a satisfying, sustainable writing practice.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who is the producer and show-host of the Academic Life podcasts. She holds a PhD in history, which she uses to explore what stories we tell and what happens to those we never tell.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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