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07/05/2022

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Wien

I second what Marcus says, but I want to take a step further and give some very personal and specific advice targeting at OP's specific concern that they can't rest well because of the paper ideas. Here are my two cents:

1. First and foremost, be genuinely proud of your creativity and productivity.

2. Jot down ideas without committing to publish them, and then focus on the potential difficulties they face, which can hopefully decrease excitement (justifiably).

3. If you are one of those who can get any of your idea into a publishable paper in good journals, try to raise the bar when you select your ideas to work on. Pick the ones that can potentially make you yourself most proud. (This decreases work and may even help your reputation in the long run.) The other ideas are not wasted anyway. At the very least, you can offer some of them to your students.

4. Even when you are excited about your ideas, it might be helpful to practice focusing sometimes on the other important aspects of your life and important people and their stories. It might also help to focus on the big picture, like how our planet is deteriorating without us doing enough about it, and how those very beautiful, smart and sensitive animals are starting to death due to shrinking habitat without the least suspect that humans to be the culprit. (These won't help distracting you if you work on environmental ethics:).

Type on a train and pardon my typos.

Richard Yetter Chappell

I recommend writing an academic blog. Blog posts are a super-easy, low-investment way to get those ideas written out (in basic form), leaving you plenty of time for other things in life. Only bother to turn the very best ones into papers.

Less Productive

As Wien suggests, definitely jot down all your ideas, but don't necessarily pursue all of them to fullness just yet. Figure out how much you need to 'scratch that itch' that the idea no longer nags at you - would sketching a rough plan be enough? If the itch can only be scratched by writing the paper to completion, then that is a problem, but time might also help - just sitting on an idea for a week or two might ease the urge. Personally, although I know 'scooping' does happen from time to time, I generally don't worry too much about it - even if someone else has defended the same views, and taken a similar line, I find that one's own particular take still adds value.

Enjoy it while you can - I was like this once, although now, 7 years after PhD, I find my well drying up, and I depend on invitations to nudge me to delve into paper ideas. (The job security of tenure might also had had an effect.)

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