I have to, now that I am in that writing group. The goal is to actually put as much time into it as my contract stipulates, namely 30% of 60 hours or 18 hours per week. This, of course, can be reduced in some weeks since the consideration is that it is a 40 week year, whereas really I work about 48 weeks. But the concept remains the same: 720 hours of research and writing per year, one way or another.
Note that if you work 360 days, that is only 2 hours of research and writing per day. This, actually, was how I wrote my dissertation: an hour of writing in the morning, an hour of research and revision in the afternoon, and of course some thought in the meantime (one cannot help that). It took a year with five days off and I also got 360 total pages including notes and bibliography. That was to get a full draft after having done initial research, and there were revisions after that. So no, I did not write my dissertation start to finish in only one year with only two hours of work per day, but you get my larger point which is how consistent it all is. The time I spent then is exactly the same kind of time I am assigned now, and if I wrote a dissertation manuscript while doing another job then, I can write a book manuscript that way now.
Naturally, there are other difficulties, since my other job now is harder and more demanding than my other job then, and there are logistical difficulties, and so on, but the theory still stands.
I always thought that research was just part of the job, the reason you were there, really, but in other ways just a normal part of the job. It was only after becoming a professor that I was told it was not, but that is an old tale from earlier years of this weblog. Now one is back to feeling one has a right to research or rather, a right to be a person who does research.
Time must still be made every day. Research first, teaching second, service third. I found that normal at one time, until the order was reversed on me. Yet that is the natural order, l’ordre des choses, the nature of things. On what has to be put off so as to put research first: the rule is never to be overwhelmed by the mountain of paperwork, or of reading that could be done for class. Set time limits on those things.
I knew all of this already, when I was younger than I am now, and I am reactivating it.
After giving that out of field paper Friday, and being assailed once again by desires to retrain, it came to me: what I want to retrain for, I cannot necessarily do as a paid job. Except if I held an academic position in said field. But I cannot afford to retrain, so the answer is just to move my research program in that direction; eventually I will cross over in an interesting way. This is a version of a conclusion to which I had come before, and the present research project was designed in that sense; perhaps I can push it still further.
This leads us to another important point, often overlooked in academic advice: your research program has to be something you really want to do. Not something you are merely willing to do or even happy to do, but something you really want to do. That is what sustains people. And this question of desire is why standard statements like “The only good article is an offprint,” and so on, so obfuscate the point.