Welcome to the Winter Writing Workshop! Most of you have a clear goal that sounds reachable in 4-6 weeks’ steady work. Some of you may still be doing triage: what absolutely has to be done, now? How much distraction will there be from holiday shopping and parties, or from job market angst and conference-going? How much time do we need for getting back to a good exercise routine, or for excavating the laundry pile, or any other necessary real-life activities?
So let me urge you to Pick One. We all have lists. Give yours the hairy eyeball.
But first, think about your time. How many weeks do you actually have? Where will you be during that time? How much time must you spend on non-work activities? How understanding is your family about your need to work during “vacation”? Winter breaks can be hard to work in, because they’re short, they involve holiday stress, they come at what for most of us is a cold, dark, depressing time of year (Zcat, can all of us with SAD come and visit you down under?), and our libraries and universities may close to save money during at least part of them.
So, can you schedule two hours a day in a coffee shop? Can you put in four hours a day at home? Do you reliably have one hour in the evening, and other less predictable time here and there? Add up that time first; then look at your list again, and figure out which item you can do in that amount of time.
Consider, as well, your longer-term goals and term-time work habits. Will you be better served by getting an ugly rough draft of something that is now only notes, so you can revise it when you go back to teaching? Or would you prefer to get something almost-ready revised and out the door before you go back?
Make a plan, and post a comment about it. And again, welcome. Turn on your broad-spectrum lamps, crank up the space heaters, pour yourself a drink and stick a little paper umbrella in it, and we’ll all pretend we’re writing around the pool at some tropical resort. (If you actually like winter, carry on, but don’t tell me about it.)
My goal is to read/write at least 2 hours a day. Four will be ideal. But if I do two, that’s enough. Because, you know, the gym, the excavation, and so on. I’d like to turn this into a game, and see how many days and weeks I can get up to four.
The current participants:
Another Damned Medievalist (hereafter ADM): finish revisions
Contingent Cassandra: finish article
Digger: finish project
Good Enough Woman (hereafter GEW): not come to a standstill
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell (hereafter EAM): lit review
Highly Eccentric (Naked Philologist): either atoning for sins or committing more; I can’t tell.
Matilda: finish draft of paper
nicoleandmaggie: finish draft?
Sapience: article due 15 Jan.
Sisyphus: finish article
Theologoumenathon: hang onto groove
Trapped in Canadia: finish book chapter
Zcat: Finish article
Updated to add:
Luo Lin: finish article
Profacero: resubmit one article (that might be two combined, or two separate)