How do successful academics write, and how do they learn to write? What are their daily routines, their formative
experiences, their habits of mind? What emotions do they associate with their academic writing? And where do they
find the “air and light and time and space”, as the poet Charles Bukowski put it, to get their writing done? These
were among the questions that I asked as part of a research project that eventually took me to 45 universities in 15
Feedback from more than 1,300 academics, PhD students and other researchers from across the disciplines
revealed that successful writing is built on a complex and varied set of attitudes and attributes, including behavioural habits of discipline and persistence, artisanal habits of craftsmanship and care, social habits of collegiality and collaboration and emotional habits of positivity and pleasure.