Things Have Got to Get Better . . . Right?

Are you a woman in law or academia who has this gnawing feeling that something is OFF?

You are a passionate woman who:

  • Feels like everything is high stakes;
  • Can’t prioritize what’s important personally or professionally;
  • Feels like you have to please everyone for professional success be it making partner or climbing the academic ladder;
  • Feels like you still have to be affable and attractive to be successful.

Yet, given how the world is going, it seems that nothing matters, including your dreams and goals.

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Whew, you made it

So you've just finished taking the Bar!

I hope it went well for you.

I remember taking the Bar and then diving in head first into the exam for professional responsibility. I had no clue how to manage that test (I hadn't learned what I know now about taking the Bar), but somehow, I did well enough on it that if I had passed the Illinois Bar, I would have made it.

Turns out it was good enough for the DC Bar.

But now that you've finished taking the Bar, get some rest. Step away from the busy grind as your working life is about to ramp up like nothing before.

Take some time to think about what went well about that experience (something did. Really!).

Take some time to think about what you hope never happens again!

Take some time to think about how you want to apply that to your legal career, because one can practice law in a way that makes you as tired, harried, high stakes, and burned out as studying for the Bar exam. Seriously. This is why so many lawyers are so profoundly dissatisfied with their careers have have high rates of addiction.

Your ability to focus and love your work is directly connected to making sure you take care of yourself, no matter the competition.

Get off the hamster wheel now where you exist on fumes and caffeine.

Set up a five-year work plan that details not only your professional success, but your personal goals for health, community, and happiness.

Stay tuned. I will be posting lots about self-care and distraction. I am here if you need a hand.

How Are You Feeling When Distracted

In addition to playing with writing for 15 minutes in a day (and it works, check out this post!), I have also been noticing what I’m feeling when distracted from my work.

Now that work may take on any number of forms.

It could be business, it could be writing, it could be research, hell, it could be parenting.

But distracted none the less.

Personally, I feel anxious when distraction shows up. And I’m not anxious about being distracted. I’m anxious about the thing I want to do.

I want to procrastinate.

I want to escape the hard task.

What are you feeling when distracted? Write your thoughts in the comments!

The Revise and Resubmit

Is revised and resubmitted.

No, I don’t feel relieved.

I’ve never felt so scared.

First of all, it’s 6 weeks late. Chances are that I’m not the first or last writer who has done that, but I still am not comfortable.

Secondly, although I’ve called myself carefully reading what the reviewers said and making sure I applied them to my work, I fear that I did something wrong. I can’t imagine that they would want my article.

Regardless, I finished it with many 15 minute writing sessions.

I finished it without loads of angst. Yes, I worry about what they’ll think, but not loads of angst.

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. I loved the book. She provides two choices – you can create your art (and she includes academic writers in that) with emotional angst and suffering, or you can create as a trickster.

What does she mean by that?

“the trickster trusts the universe. He trusts in its chaotic, lawless, ever-fascinating ways – and for this reason, he does not suffer from undue anxiety. He trusts that the universe is in constant play and, specifically, that it wants to play with him.”

I wouldn’t have received a revise and resubmit if the universe didn’t want to play with me.

So right now, I’m finished with academic writing for the duration of my vacation. That’s my treat.

There’s more writing to tackle when I return!

#WriteFor15 – Why I embraced Writing For 15 Minutes

When I was working on my doctorate, my partner told me of a book that said write for 15 minutes per day to finish your dissertation.

I, predictably, reacted with a guffaw.

Now, while I am not necessarily convinced that 15 minutes alone on a daily basis will get someone a finished dissertation, journal article, or book, it can really go a long way.

I take back my guffaw.

Currently, I’m traveling well outside the U.S. I will take time off of writing, but I am horribly behind on sending in a revise and resubmit. So THIS WEEK, I need to send out the revise and resubmit.

Given the clip at which we are touring South Africa, sometimes, I have only had 15 minutes.

15 focused minutes. 15 minutes to know EXACTLY what I’m doing. 15 minutes to DO IT! It’s worked wonders.


I will do one more edit.

It moved the ball forward.

You see, 15 minutes, if you “don’t feel like it,” are stuck, don’t know what to do, puts enough of a pressure cooker on that you quickly discern what is important to write, and what isn’t. It is enough time for super short edits.

In short, it’s time to move the ball forward.

You may even feel like writing for 1 – 2 hours when all is said and done.

Give it a whirl.

If you regularly start with writing for 15 minutes at a time, please write how it goes for you in the comments! Feel free to share this with like-minded people!

I Have No Thoughts on Beating Jet Lag

But hell, if sleep isn’t going to happen, I will totally commandeer that time for my own uses.

I will say that ideally, I would have started setting my body to the new time zone WEEKS ago, but life would not permit.

Currently, I’m hijacking a study abroad course to South Africa. While I don’t intend to do loads of reading (I am being resistant to acting as a formal student again (I already have TWO terminal degrees)), I did a little reading for the course. Indeed, that reading reminded me of my writing.

So I am editing my work. #WriteFor15? Jet lag makes it fully possible.

So bottoms up for jet lag. I will be grateful for it now. In 12 hours . . . Not so much.

Nothing that couldn’t be managed by eating, right?

You never know what will allow you to #WriteFor15. Take advantage of those 15 minutes (or hours) when they come about!

So You’re Halfway Through the Bar Course

Congratulations! I suspect you’ve just taken your mock Bar Exam. I hope that went well.

I remember that point when I studied for the Illinois Bar . . . A friend of mine celebrated his birthday on July 4 and I remember having drunk too much that night. I got home and went to bed without setting my alarm clock (yep, this was pre-smart phones!).

I woke up still buzzed the following morning!

In my haze, I put on the same clothes I wore the day before. Yep they were smoky and still smelled a little bit like alcohol. I went to my Bar class and took the practice test.

Suffice it to say, it wasn’t my best work.

You still have a couple of full weeks to go before you take the bar. You’ve worked really hard. Use this time to take care of yourself a little bit while remember that sentence you will need for your commercial paper essay!

Take this time to get some rest. Take this time to get a little bit of exercise. Set everything up so that you are off the day before the exam and can have a lovely meal the night before. Make sure you get enough rest the night before.

You’ve got this.

And if you’re worried about this, give me a ring. I have some thoughts.