Several people were interested in continuing our online writing group: Zcat, JaneB, Trapped in Canadia, Ink, Matilda, Rented Life, Good Enough Woman, and Contingent Cassandra.  Anyone else who’d like to join in?  Please leave a comment.

Here are the parameters for this iteration of the group.  It will run from now until Friday 4 May.  That’s 14 posts, which takes me to the end of LRU’s spring semester.

New posts will appear on Friday.  Comments will close Sunday night (US Central Time).

If you’re going to join, please commit to posting every week, even if you have to admit you haven’t done anything.  It makes it much easier to keep track of who’s in the group.  We’ve all had bad weeks.  Just face it and move on. 

Join up by commenting on this post.  If you can pick one project to focus on, that’s ideal.  I can’t.  We’ve all had non-ideal semesters.  Tell us what you’re going to be working on during the spring, and then set a goal for this coming week (that is, what you want to achieve by Friday 10 February).

From 10 February onwards, when you post a comment, please use the following 4-paragraph format: 1. Last week’s goal. 2. What was achieved toward that goal. 3. Comments/analysis of what worked or what went wrong. 4. Goal for the next week. 

I’m going to put my goals in the comments like everyone else.  The main body of the post will contain the theme for the week.  This week’s theme—isn’t it obvious?—is “new.”

We have a new(ish) year, new(ish) semester, new blog, new writing group.  I have a clear desk and a clean study, thanks to my tidying over winter break (I also cleaned my closet).  I have put in my calendar and spring class plans how many hours each writing assignment should take to grade, which is a new thing for me (and I have not yet done the grading hours I am supposed to do today, because I have been procrastinating with research [not a new phenomenon] and creating this blog [procrastination via blog is also not new]).  Two out of three things I want to work on this spring are not new.  OTOH, I am pushing one into a position from which it can spring forward, and another will be renewed through attention to new sources.  And the third thing really is new.  Mostly.  Well, hey: spring itself isn’t really new.  It comes around every year, after all. 

What’s new with you?


24 thoughts on “Starting a Spring 2012 writing group

  1. I have three projects, one of which I should really put down for a bit. That is (1) the MMP. I am very close (really!) to finishing this huge document with all the data entered. In fact, I hope to get it done this weekend. Then I don’t know about completely putting it aside, but it will be back-burnered. I plan to post lots of images around my study and office so I can stare at bits of handwriting in odd moments and brood over them. (2) Conference paper based on one of the chapters from the Unexpected Book: add a bit, cut a bit, rearrange to make a decent conference presentation. (3) Conference paper #2, on a different text from one of the same manuscripts that the MMP is based on, plus another manuscript.

  2. Okay, I’m in. The weekly accountability is really helpful for me. I have a lot of projects that need to get done between now and the end of the semester: 1) finish draft 2 of the dissertation (Chapters 1, 4, and 5 need major revision); 2) I need to write a conference paper for an internal department panel, based on chapter 3 of the dissertation, and I’d also like to turn that chapter into a publication, though I might have to put THAT off until summer; and 3) Conference paper for Kalamazoo is written, but needs to be cut by 25% because what was supposed to be a 20 minute paper got moved to a 15 minute slot.

    So, next week, my goal is to get half way (or more) through the next set of revisions on Chapter 1.

  3. Project(s) for this go-round. Sudden chapter co-authoring commitment and women’s history spec chapter.

    Goal for the coming week: have complete draft of sudden chapter to send to co-author. From scratch. Only 5000 words or so. Easy-peasy, yes?


  4. I have followed the writing groups here for a while, and since I have moved away from my real life writing group at my previous job, I am going to give this a try. Thanks for the opportunity. My main goal this semester is making some serious headway on a new(ish) book project. I hope to flesh out and revise a chapter that is about 2/3 done, finish drafting a chapter that is probably not quite half done, and draft about 1/3 of a third chapter. The last of these is actually the first I will tackle, since I am presenting a conference paper related to that material in about 6 weeks. Thanks again for the welcoming virtual community.

  5. I would like to participate.
    What’s new for me is extra released time for research and the fear I will not use it well.

    What’s old is the various revisions I want to finish. 1. The paper I was working on for the previous group. 2. Another paper that is 99.9% done that I need to let go of and send off. 3. A book chapter that needed to be cut by about 50%. I need to combine the editor’s revisions with mine and get it back.

  6. Yes, I’m in. Writing projects – I have an embarrassment of riches here. I think for this group I will focus on:
    1) a large grant draft (I have three possible topics in mind, and need to have a plan ready to go through university processes by the start of May)
    2) Methods paper, which has been hanging around since May 2010, and grows every time I look at it. I need to face up to it not keep hoping it will go away!
    3) MSc paper – the paper from a student’s MSc project. He now has a full-time teaching job which he loves, so I’m taking the lead on the writing and reanalysing of data. But this is a cute little paper that should be pretty straightforward – we have a detailed plan listing about 30 paragraphs and 8 figures, so this one is for those weeks when I can’t face the big stuff.

    And then there’s my ‘NaNoWriMo’ novel draft which wants to be edited. As that’s ‘hobby’ not ‘work’ it doesn’t really earn a place here.

    ‘New’ is not really the word for writing at the moment – new semester, same old back-log! But if I can do these three things I’ll have done something towards each of my current main work goals, and that would be very satisfying.

    So the plan for the coming week is:
    1) write a few hundred words of free writing on each of the grant topics (to help me decide which one I actually want to commit to)
    2) reverse-outline the several files of random stuff I have that should form part of methods paper, so that it becomes more wieldy
    3) Figure 1 for MSc student paper.

  7. In! I use wordpress for work actually and I like it a lot. It takes getting used to, but it has it’s benefits.
    Goals: For the moment my major goal is figuring out how to make time for myself and my writing. I was thrown a number of curves personally and professionally and I haven’t quite figure out how to sort things out so that I’m not doing all work 7 days a week and nothing for myself. I’ve still been collecting research for my fiction project, but then it just sits there, waiting for me. If I can figure that out that would be huge: I could actually start making writing goals.
    My other goals include trying to see if a second project is worth pursuing and deciding if I want to submit to a conference (that would be project #3). I want to decide about #3 in the next couple weeks, abstracts are due March 1. For #2, I plan on asking around to see if it’s worth pursuing or already been done–it’s a new idea to me, but that doesn’t necessairily mean no one else had the same idea!
    Other new stuff? I’m debating a blog move myself, I’ve got a new-to-me course, and another class that’s behaving so well with discussion sessions, which is a new experience as well. And I have been asked to write 2 new courses.

  8. I’m in, too! Thanks for doing this, DEH!

    Between now and May, I need to finish the dissertation chapter draft that I’m currently working on. I think It will be Chapter 2 of the whole thing. Then I need to do a significant part of one more chapter–either Chapter 3 or the last chapter. I’ll decide which one after I finish the draft of #2. I’m also waiting to hear about an article submission (should hear within the next week or two), so that might become a task as well.

    Goal for this week: I’m going to have a lot of prep and grading this week, along with a lot of meetings, so I can’t be too ambitious. Therefore, I’ll write three pages and read/skim at least some of theory/methods book.

  9. I’d like in please. I’m looking to turn a conference paper into an article in my spare time (go ahead and laugh) while still making progress on sabbatical book!

  10. Thanks, Comrade PP and Dr Virago!

    Welcome back, Sapience, Rented Life, and GEW. I’m glad last time was helpful. Many of us have trouble balancing everything and keeping tasks in the right perspective; I like GEW’s approach of setting a low, meetable goal for a busy week. Sapience has also been very successful recently, so there’s another good example (no pressure, Sapience!). Can you find 15 minutes a day, RL, or set aside one day or even half a day in the week that is just for you? I’m trying to take Sundays completely off this term—so far so good, but we’ll see how that goes.

    Welcome to JaneB, Janice Liedl, Nancy Warren, and feMOMhist—I know three of you from your blogs, and I’m pleased to have all of you here. It really sounds like spring is springing new/extra/multiple projects on a lot of us. This is supposed to be my “easy” term, with two courses rather than 3, and less committee work, but it’s not feeling like that (maybe because of my 3 independent study students; now that I think about it, it’s more like having 5 classes. Gah!). So we’ll have to think about how to find “spare” time, balance multiple projects, and/or shift gears without totally losing track of important tasks/ideas/etc. Great! You’re already giving me good ideas for weekly themes.

    And sorry, Luo Lin: you’re welcome too! But your comment got hung up as spam for awhile. I’ll get wordpress whipped into shape shortly.

  11. Like several others, I have three projects. #1 is a provisionally-accepted article, revised version due 2/15. There’s not a great deal to still to do, but some of it is fiddly and/or ancillary but time-consuming, and I’m still somewhat in beginning-of-semester mode. So the goal for the coming week, and about half of the following one, is to deal with the article-in-revision and ancillary tasks. After that, I’ll have to decide how (and whether) to juggle two other projects. #2 is the article-in-progress (which I’m going to call the J article) that I was working on during the fall and winter writing groups, now scheduled to be presented as a conference paper in Fall 2012, and to be the subject of a fairly informal presentation in a colleague’s class in mid-March. My ideal would be to have written and maybe even submitted a full draft of J before the formal conference presentation, and to cut that into a conference version, but we’ll see. #3 is another article/conference paper in progress (we’ll call this one P) which exists only in pretty sketchy outline/note form, and is scheduled for conference presentation in late March. I’d like it to become a submittable article by the end of the summer (and expect to do some archival research that will further that goal over the summer). There’s also one other project which might erupt suddenly into the mix, and a currently personal (church-related) project with an early-June deadline (and some connection to my personal life) that might turn out to be another article (probably one aimed at a fairly specific popular audience). But I think I can limit myself to some mix of #2/J and #3/P between Feb. 16 and May 4, and that it will be good discipline to do so. Deciding exactly how to balance those two will be the goal for the end of the 2nd week/beginning of the 3rd.

    I actually have lots of ideas for new (or at least additional) projects, but I think the trick for this semester will be to stick to the current ones and see them through to completion. Juggling conference and article versions will also be a new experience; I actually have a good deal of experience with conference presentations (both from scratch and cut/revised portions of my diss), but have published very little. I’d like to get the three articles out, and a website related to the larger P project (to which the article due 2/15 also belongs), by the end of summer/early fall ’12, or at least the end of Fall ’12. After that (and perhaps before MLA ’13, or even the Fall ’12 conference), it’s time to begin thinking about two book projects: a reprint and a monograph, both part of the P project.

    I’d also really like to have “a clear desk and a clean study,” or at least a refinished/reassembled/accessible desk and assembled bookshelves on which to put the piles and boxes of books with which I currently cohabit. But that’s probably a goal for the summer. Fortunately, I seem to be able to write in the middle of chaos, though I’m sure I would be happier in a more organized environment.

  12. Zcat-Abroad here – masquerading under a ‘new’ name (a really old one, actually, which I prefer).

    Thanks for hosting another Writing Group. I am making ‘new’ resolutions to work much harder this time. For the next 4 weeks, I’m teaching ESL for 5 hours a day, which generally leaves me wiped out, but I am determined to stop wasting my evenings. Then our Summer Semester starts, and I’m going to be teaching some insane hours in the mornings (really! What idiot scheduled tutorials for 8:00 am?!?!), but that means I’ll be up, so I plan to use the rest of the mornings for writing, and find some sort of part-time job in the afternoons.

    My project is the article which I’ve been ‘working’ on for a while now, but not really getting any further forward. I’ve sent an abstract for it to a journal, so it needs doing in the next couple of weeks. After that, I’ll set a new goal.

    So, my goal for this week is to write for an hour a day, when I get home. Hopefully this will get me to the end of the article as close-reading, when I’ll have to go out and see who else has been talking about saints and communities…

  13. Welcome to WordPress, DEH. I’m still learning the ropes of it (and may pick CPP’s brain about some things), but like it much more than Blogspot.

    Thank you for hosting the WWW; I found the group quite helpful. I’d like to join this semester’s group, since it may offer the only spot of stability in my life for a while.

    What’s new? “Everything” is the answer the springs to the lips, um, fingers. I move into a new house on March 1 and begin my new job on March 15, so I will be trying not to lose momentum during the transition. January brought family problems ranging the generations, most of which occurred while my husband and I were in the new city looking for housing, as if that was not stressful enough. February has ushered in the frantic packing and sorting, while trying to appease the current bosses in order not to burn any bridges.

    I mentioned at the end of the WWW that my project this semester was to triage the dissertation, but I think the final goals will be slightly more modest. I need to wrangle all the electronic and paper copies of permutations of the dissertation into a coherent document; I need to keep writing consistently or I will end up like the Tin Man; I need to start the wheels of bureaucracy grinding again by getting a response from the necessary gatekeepers.

    This week’s goal is to pack the dissertation books and paper documents safely in extremely obvious boxes so they do not end up in the rest of the book boxes to languish until heaven knows what point of the semester.

  14. Could I still join?
    Thank you for hosting a Writing Group again, Dame! Your last WWW helped me in many ways, really.

    Well, this time, it seems other comments are not following 4 paragraph format. It starts next week, right?

    Things new to me: well, it may not be really new, but I am going to read a paper on 28 April for the first time in two years, that is, after my maternity leave. People might think, ‘yes, she has two very young children, so it has been difficult to prepare for this paper!’. But I do not want them think ‘ok, her paper is really poor, it is unavoidable, though!’ At least I want to show something new and something interesting….See how it goes.

    My goal for this semester is: (1) finishing the encyclopaedia work (well, I am still hanging around it – quite done, but a few parts need to be pollished, and still a few terms I have to explore. (2) preparing for a presentation on 28 April. It is going to be further revised and polished after that and it is going to be my Leeds paper. (3) constructing my writing habit again – writing at least 15 minutes a day. I know it helps, but sometimes I fail.

    Thank you again, Dame, and nice meeting (reading?) you, other participants!


    1. Oh, my goals for next week: (1) writing one item of the encyclopaedia work (2) writing 15 minutes a day.
      And already I know I won’t be able to meet my goal. I have been ill (flu, actually) all this week and been off. Recoverying, but I hate to think what amount of work I will have to do to make up one week off…

  15. I would like to join the group. I’ve never tried this before but I think the accountability might help me get out of my head. I have two projects: 1) a novel I started a few years ago and have not gotten back to, but have a lot figured out for, and 2) a collection of self-reflection papers about the four years spent earning my bachelor’s degree.
    My goal for this first week is to sort out the self-reflective paper topics, start writing one of them, and commit some more of my novel ideas to paper.

  16. May I join? I could use the camaraderie as I write — not to mention the accountability.

    My goal for this week is to finish this awful chapter I’ve been working on, and get 2 of my 3 other critical writing projects (all semi-done) wrapped up. Ambitious, but doable. If I could just get 1 of the 3 wrapped up, I’d be happy. 2 of 3 = thrilled.

    I need to get all of these done, and then I start with a clean(ish) slate for the rest of the semester. By the end of the semester, I’d like to have a book proposal together and to have submitted at least 3 of my almost-done pieces to journals. (And I mean really almost done — a week of attention would do it for any one of a number of pieces sitting somewhere on my hard drive. Me? I have completion/submission issues, clearly.)

  17. Goals: draft three chapters of my WIP before end of term. Also to complete two new courses that I’ve been wanting to submit to curriculum comm. for awhile now.

    Difficulties expected are (1) TIME related and (2) motivational because I tend to hit pockets of self-doubt that I really need to just ignore and plow through.

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