Sept-Dec 2012 Writing Group, Week 10 Check-in

by Dame Eleanor Hull

Theme for the week: decision fatigue.  I’ve seen a lot of reports on this lately; here’s an example, and here are some suggestions for countering it.  This is one reason to write early in the day, so that your willpower is strong and you’re less likely to start doing the laundry or skiving off on the Internet.  It’s also a reason to write at the same time, in the same place, every day, so that you don’t feel like you have to make a decision about what to do now; if it’s that time and place, then you write.  And that’s also what writing assignments, like What Now? plans out over the weekend, are good for; you don’t have to decide what to write today, you just have to write it up.

This is also why, lately, I’ve been grading first thing in the morning instead of writing.  It’s easier to decide what to do about a series of student papers (all those decisions!) when I’m fresh.  If I have a writing assignment for later in the day, and it’s clear what I need to do for that writing task, it’s a better use of my energy to reverse my usual write-first practice.

How could decision-theory help you with writing?

Amstr:  (1) finish Ch2 mashup and send to writing partner; (2) 5 tasks for Ch. 3; (3) start a book for Ch 4.
Another Postdoc: Rearrange sections of paper to accommodate recent epiphany. Add one more paragraph to the conclusion. Begin the bibliography and endnotes.
Bavardess: Work on fleshing out the theoretical framework section of my proposal and incorporate new material; apply to attend February postgrad workshop.
cly: checked in.
Comrade PhysioProf: checked in.
Contingent Cassandra: Work on J article on at least one, even if for a short period of time.
Dame Eleanor Hull: schedule 2 hours of research a day.
Dr. Virago:  *really* finish the draft of the 2500-word essay, which requires re-watching a streaming video of a live performance, as well as writing.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Write at least 650 words on article O. Touch it every day for at least half an hour.
emmawriting:  produce baby. If still waiting, on Monday, create more jobs to send to RAs; next, get over the illogical perfectionistic hangup over Study 1 that’s preventing me from moving forward.
GEW: Four 15-minutes sessions, do the Scrivener tutorial, take a training session on my new computer.
highly eccentric: At least an hour’s writing on at least two days of the week.
historisusan: excused absence, I think, due to a conference.
humming42: continue to write every day with warm up for AcWriMo.
JaneB: look for some low-hanging fruit, then pluck the buggers.
JLiedl:  finish revisions on accepted chapter.
John Spence:  (a) index 20 pages; (b) write up some information about features of the language in the text.
kiwi2: To be brave. To attempt my analysis for Paper Z and spend at least a day on it.
kiwimedievalist: Academic: revise article and resubmit. Non-academic: make notes from books, and plan for NANOWRIMO. Write at least 500 words a day on ideas, themes etc for the book.
Kris: no check in.
luolin88: 30 mins Monday and Friday.
Matilda: do presentation as well as possible.
meansomething: 1) 30 minutes on the lyric essay; 2) 5 12-minute sessions on poems; 3) 30 minutes on a residency application that’s due in December.
metheist: Do the best that I can to get my ideas down on paper. So write something, no matter what or how much, every day.
Notorious Ph.D.: no check in.
nwgirl: a). print out revised chapter one; b). begin work on revising chapter 3 (one hour of work on teaching days and four hours on non-teaching days); c). review remaining two chapters that I had hoped to revise this semester to decide whether I need to adjust schedule; d). review other writing commitments scheduled for this semester.
Pika: get instructions for this smaller proposal from the funding agency website.
Pilgrim/Heretic: 500 words.
Premodern: Return to the book chapter Friday and Saturday; 500 words. Also start thinking about the next essay I need to write by February.
rented life: work on book 3 times. Continue reading book D. Record as needed.
Salimata:  read 1 book and 2 articles I need for conference paper, write notes; plus find/organize older notes that might be useful.
Sapience: next batch of letters done and sent. If I don’t lose power, I want to try and write a conference proposal.
Sisyphus: no check in.
sophylou: think about how to integrate secondary material I read last night (or relegate it to another project!); do enough writing that I’m not ashamed to report here.
tracynicholrose:  I’m not checking in next week as I’ll just be getting back from Montreal. My only goal is to present my paper at the conference and hopefully learn something new.
Trapped in Canadia: OBSandy.
Undine (Not of General Interest): no check in.
What Now?: Three days of writing before school, at least 1000 words. “Prep” the writing ahead of time — either in one fell swoop on the weekend or on the night before.
Widgeon: Three partial research days. Work through primary sources.
Z (Mictlantecuhtli/Profacero): 1 hour in morning and 1.5 in evening, each weekday.

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