That word counter sits in my left sidebar, mocking me.
I don't know how other academic writers work, but as for me, I need to do a chunk of reading before I can sit down to write. When I wrote the dissertation, I made the mistake of trying to do all my reading for the whole thing, before I did all my writing. I've scaled that back a bit now, thank goodness: I've made chapter to-read lists, and will work my way through a chapter's worth of reading, or even a subsection of a chapter, then sitting down at the keyboard only when I feel fully prepared to handle that chapter, or that subsection. But the end result is merely a matter of degree: for me, there is always a period when I'm not writing. That "reading period" has often become an excuse for not writing. I know perfectly well why I do this: writing, for me, is not fun. It is hard, grueling work. It's something like how I imagine giving birth might be: eagerness to see the finished product, but the process is painful and disagreeable.
Yet more and more lately, I've found myself wanting to write, even romancing the act of writing. This desire to write (not to be confused with the desire to have written) is alien to me. Yet it's there, like a new and unexpected roomate who I hope will eventually become a friend.
Which brings me to my point: on the recommendation of a friend in another department, I picked up, of all things, "On Writing" by Stephen King. We can talk more about the relative merits of that particular author later, if you like; for now, let me just say that I am enjoying this book. And I bring it up because there is one particular passage that struck me:
"You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair -- the sense that you can never completely put on the page what is in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you, or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. You must not come lightly to the blank page."
I think I like that very much.