Dream Big: What’s Your Research or Writing Fantasy? 

If you are a professional academic then you are used to working within the constraints of low budgets and high competition. Our modus operandi is to make magic happen with five bucks, a couple of grad students and a short deadline. It’s kind of like the show “Chopped,” but you have to wait six months to see if your manuscript was undercooked.

At times it’s helpful to dream big. It not only elevates your mood, but can help generate ideas for subsequent work. After all, you never know when you might earn a MacArthur Fellowship! Here are a few scenarios to get you started:

  1. Imagine it’s three years from now. What would you like to be presenting at your discipline’s annual conference? What are the steps it would take to get there?
  2. Imagine you had unlimited grant funding for your next project. What would you study or produce? Who would you want to collaborate with?
  3. Imagine you had a funded book deal for the topic of your choice. What would you want to write about? What would be in the table of contents?

These questions also make great nerdy ice breakers (along with “What’s your favorite curse word and why?”). Try it out at your next after-hours work function. After all, we can’t discuss the latest This American Life for the whole night.