1. Refuse requests for “to spec” writing. I did five essays like that in 2012 and while each one was a pleasant diversion from my main research agenda, the sum total–alongside grant applications–have taken me too far from the work sitting on my hard drive waiting to get out. I won’t declare bankruptcy on existing obligations but won’t add to them for awhile. If a request for a project comes in and there happens to be something cooking on my hard drive that’s a match, then we’re golden.
2. In the first instance, use the space opened up by these refusals to get my own new stuff out as I’ve been meaning to. I’ve got a series of signal processing pieces that need to be finished shown into the daylight. I’ve also got a stack of research on impairment phenomenology waiting to be read and written up. I’ve put in a massive grant application for a project on instrumentality.
3. Read more finished books that aren’t directly related to a paper I’m writing or a class I’m teaching. This category excludes books that are under review or come to me as part of tenure and promotion dossiers. Too much of my current reading is instrumental in nature. Articles are good too but I’m better about that in general.
4. Spend more time talking about people with that stuff, enjoying colleagues around town, students, etc.
5. Write more for nonacademic publications, other’s people’s blogs, op-eds, etc.
6. Continue to travel for presentations a little less. Avoid heroic travel at all costs.