I have always been able to write fluidly, easily.  I come from a highly literate family: my mother wrote reams of letters to a close friend, and always had a sheet of paper in the typewriter.  One of my brothers is a journalist.  My father started, but never finished, several children’s books when I was little.  (I keep hoping maybe he’ll finish one before he dies; there was one about children tunneling under the playground of the school we all attended that I loved, and I would very much like to know how it came out; but I’m not sure my dad ever knew.  I think he wrote till he got stuck.)  I kept a diary from an early age.  I read voraciously.  Words poured out when I wrote.

I just didn’t think of this as a useful skill, one that not everyone had, until late in my undergraduate career.  All my friends in high school were good all-rounders, B+ to A students in all our classes.  The wanna-be scientists were good writers and the potential journalists got good grades in math.  I didn’t feel there was anything I was especially good at, and I thought you went to college to do something hard, to stretch, so (omit digression here on how I still regret giving up on archeology) I wound up, for a time, aiming at a STEM career.  But languages were still my fun classes, and I worked at the campus radio station, where I discovered both that I was very good at putting together a good script or story very quickly, and that other people were not.  Combined with a nasty problem in ultra-filters, I finally realized that I was in the wrong field.

Perhaps I should have been a journalist, with a who-what-when-where-why structure dictated.  Structure in academic writing is tricky for me, but I can write to length and to deadline.  Give me a topic and a half hour, and I will give you 500 words.  But I absolutely do not have the temperament for journalism, which is why I didn’t go there (that, and the older brother: not getting into direct competition with him, thank you).

I’ve written before about using this strength to compensate for my problems with structure and argument.

What’s easy for you?  How could you use something you do easily to help you attack something that’s hard?

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42 thoughts on “Spring 2012 Writing Group, Week 7: What’s easy?

  1. Oh, I loved this post, DEH, hearing about the writerly you developing. 🙂

    What’s easy for me is saying things. They might not make sense and they may not be said in an eloquent fashion, but I like to GET THINGS DOWN in writing. Having years of a journal or blog is precious, though I don’t know exactly why.

    Goal for this week: write a chapter.

    Accomplished: part of a chapter.

    Analysis: It was spring break and although I spent most of the last month telling myself I’d write over spring break, when it arrived, I was EXfrigginAUSTED. Had a terrible headache for four days straight. Am just now feeling normal again. So: epic fail.

    New goal: Not drop of the writing group from sheer embarrassment. Write 1000 words before next Friday.

    ps: Anyone know why they’re making us sign in at WP now? I thought it was a temporary thing but now it feels like they’re trying to separate WP and Blogger people. Dislike.

    1. maybe I shouldn’t jinx it but I haven’t had problems commenting on wordpress blogs…yet. I do feel like they both are making things harder in the name of “user friendly”

  2. I too write very fluently I can crank out words like no one’s business and then I edit edit edit 🙂

    1. goal 500 “real word”

    2. Not sure how to count, as I edited as I went. For sure 250 “more” words

    3. “eff me” kind of week. Interested in why, check out blog, no need to bore those not 🙂

    4. just keep going forward with “real writing” and cleaning up as I go. Hopefully 500 more words

  3. I’ve found that popular non-fiction and fiction come much more easily than academic prose. I’m still not exactly sure why but I expect that some of the ease is due to the lack of constraints. I don’t worry so much about the formal structure when I’m writing informally (conversely, I worry much more about how it all hangs together, but in ways that i can change if needed).

    Aim: My goal was to finish the grant application

    Outcome: I have a complete draft. I still don’t like it, I hated every moment of writing it. I believe that the two are related!

    Analysis: There are things you HAVE to write and other things you HAVE TO WRITE. The first group I love and do well with. The second group kills me but being able to identify and push through on those tasks despite the visceral reaction is important. I will work on tackling the less enjoyable writing tasks a bit quicker in my rotation (but not exclusively so I don’t ‘go off’ writing).

    Goal for next week: Revise grant application after getting some feedback. Write 500 words on chapter for another collection.

  4. Give me a topic and a half hour, and I will give you 500 words.

    I’ll give it to you in fifteen mothercucken minutes!! hahahahah

    Srsly, my most fluid writing is in response to something I read that gets me emotionally involved, and then I can just rippe the shitte outte!

  5. For me, the close reading part of writing comes easy. I like breaking things down into parts and figuring out how they work. What is harder is making my close reading serve a larger project–I sometimes get distracted by just how much fun the “figure-the-puzzle-out” part is.

    Goal for last week: Do more reading and find another angle to use to revise/expand chapter 5.

    Acheived: Did reading, found another angle, expanded chapter 5 by about 700 words.

    Analysis: Well, I did a lot of procrastinating this week. I didn’t get start reading until Wednesday, and only started the expansion this afternoon when I read the post. I’m really, really grateful for this writing group, because I wouldn’t have started writing if I didn’t have to post something.

    Goal for next week: Well, I need to do keep working on Chapter 5, but I may need to re-prioritize mid week after my meeting with my advisor about Chapter 4. So… make progress of some sort on something?

    1. I’m the same way with close readings. It’s something my advisor has suggested I play to, actually. He wants me to do the close readings, and then step back and see what they add up to, and if I get stuck on the big picture stuff, to make sure it’s always anchored in the text. (Of course, now I’m in the stepping-back mode and I’m seeing how disconnected all my readings are.)

      And I think most of my thesis statements at least begin as “so it’s really cool!”

      Congrats on finding a new angle and getting some writing done.

  6. Easy: Huh – turns out I find close-reading easy too. All through uni, I hated it, but when I’m working on texts I care about, it’s so much easier. See, as example one, the article I turned in today… I also find I can imagine writing really easily. I can compose brilliant bits in my head, usually while driving, or having a shower (or lying awake at 4 am, trying desperately to get back to sleep, ‘cos I’ll have to get up in an hour or two). For some reason, transferring it to the page never works quite as smoothly.

    Goal: Finish article.

    Achieved: Finished article!! First time in a long time!

    Analysis: Due date was the clincher. I mostly finished it towards the beginning of the week, planned a lot of secondary reading, but in the end, the thing was a close reading, so there really wasn’t much which could, or needed to, be added. It’s far from perfect, but the editor brought forward the due date by a day, and said not to worry about perfection, as there’d be plenty of time once the readers had done with it. So, it’s gone. I’ll send it off to my supervisor now, and get her comments – more scared about that than sending it to an editor.

    Next week? Reading about saints and communities, for interest. And mark the first lot of essays.

      1. Congrats! “first in a long time” is what I’m aiming for, too , so it’s nice to see somebody get there . (Well, maybe it’s now “second in a long time” that I’m aiming for if you count the accepted but still-needing-final-revision one as basically done. In any case, congrats! Publishing progress after drought, distraction, and/or deep preparatory research is a great thing).

    1. Thanks all, for the congratulations! I forgot to check the ticky-box, so haven’t been keeping up with things.

      I have got to say that the article was ‘finished for a given value’… I haven’t yet got the courage to send it to my ex-supervisor for comments!

  7. Hi, everybody! I’m not really up at 3:00 a.m.; I’m somewhere with a 5-hour time difference (and great sleeping weather). Ink, you got part of a chapter: that is NOT an epic fail. That is a WIN. FeMOMhist, you are a great advertisement for the do-just-a-little technique. Janice, you’re also a good example of how to carry on with writing tasks you don’t like, and I think being aware of not-liking, and why we don’t like certain projects or tasks, is a help with getting through them: it’s part of getting beyond “it’s hard” to the real reasons we have problems. Sapience, I’m happy to hear about continued progress, and Kiwimedievalist, congratulations on getting that piece finished and sent! Yay!

    And I’m happy to hear about all the people who start with “it’s cool” and are good at close readings, because I am among you, and it makes me feel like 50 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong . . . I mean, that if that’s so common, it must be possible to get past it. I know finding other readers has been helpful for me, with my “mosaic” approach to writing: if I push the pieces around enough, even when I can’t see the picture, someone sitting at a different angle (as it were) may point out to me what the picture is, even though it’s upside down to me.

    Time for me to go down to breakfast. Carry on, and have a good week!

    1. Ooh. . .good sleeping weather and it sounds like somebody else is making breakfast. I want to be where you are. At least we’ve got cooler temps again; it was getting a bit hot for March.

  8. Easy? I find writing up studies to be pretty easy (most of the time), but I struggle with intros.

    And … this week was a bust in so many ways.

    Goals: Pull together book proposal
    Accomplishments: No work on book proposal. Did do some lit review work and had a research meeting, but it was not a heavy writing week and I didn’t even schedule time for myself this week.
    Analysis: I need to schedule writing time for the week ahead (duh). This week was such a bust because of no childcare, 2 defenses, a student draft I needed to comment on, presenting at a local conference, and being sick.

    Next week: Finish off the manuscript I’ve been working on (it’s so close) and the book proposal.

    I did at least manage to spend some time this week looking/planning forward — considering upcoming projects, things that I should finish and send out to journals, etc. It had been a while since I did that, and I think it was useful. I have things in the forefront of my mind now and I hope that I’ll send a lot out in the next 2 months.

  9. Goal: re-reading articles, starting to organize my arguments, writing at least something every day

    Achieved: I have read several inportant articles, but not really started to construct my arguments. I have started to collect and check materials which are necessary to my arcument, but not really started to read any of them. I have written something only three days of this week.

    Analysis: I had several meetings I did not expect to take so much time, and my young children have not fully recovered, that means I had to pick them up from the nursery early. What I did well is writing, though I did write only three days. I think it worked well not to force me to write something strictly related to my paper for at least 15 minutes every day, which made me feel difficult to start. Instead, I open my PC and just write memos or sentences, even though they are not related to my current topic. Some of them are evolving into a part of my paper (hopefully).

    Goals for next week: Starting to read materials, constructing my arguments, writing something at least 15 minutes.

    What is easy for me? Well, writing is difficult. I really respect Dame and other people who can write fluently. Presenting my opinion is also difficult. Perhaps, most of activities related to my work and research are difficult for me.

  10. What’s easy for me? Having ideas usually comes quite easily, but translating them into writing often makes them become slippery and elusive. I know that writing used to be easy for me – at least, writing first and second drafts was easy, editing and polishing is just not my thing – but the last few years its been just another obligation in a mountain of obligations. Doing NaNoWriMo last year reminded me of the fludity with which earlier selves wrote, and that glimpse helped me realise how things have changed… getting BACK that ease, and a belief that I have the RIGHT to write as well as an obligation to write, that the obligation shouldn’t be allowed to obscure the right and the delight, is a clear goal for this year. That is a classic example of an idea that seemed simple turning messy on being written down, and being in sore need of editing which I’m not going to give it. On to reporting in!

    Goal this week: : data analysis week. I need to line up the data and do some stats and make figures across four different projects, and I’d like to get one to a writable state by the end of this week. And write a few hundred words on one of those grant ideas…

    Progress: I ended up mostly working on stuff for one of my students and reading other students’ writing, refereeing and fire-fighting, but I did do pretty much all the analysis for ONE of the projects. And noted about 20 words for one of the grant ideas.

    Analysis: I seemed to be really busy last week, and felt productive, but looking back I didn’t get much writing of my own done at all. Frustrating! There were fewer interruptions, but the students’ stuff came first (I guess it kind of counts as progress though because eventually, in about 18 months time I reckon, it will turn into a joint manuscript for submission somewhere – if I do large chunks of the analysis, as I’ve ended up doing, that involves intellectual input beyond standard supervision so I should get to be a co-author).

    Goal for next week: three goals.
    a) Reorganise my desk area at the office (I have to confess there’s barely room for my small mousepad at the moment and by Friday my coffee cup was perched on the radiator… this is not conducive to writing).
    b) as part of that, make a proper list of all the writing things I currently have on the go and where they are at, and check the folders are all up to date in my dropbox. Things keep swimming up into my attention out of the depths then flashing away again, and I realise that a list might help me work out which are whales (benign, but too big to deal with in semester time), which are useful herrings (managable sized things that can actually progress usefully towards publication or other submission) and which are sharks (got to keep an eye on them as they might bite…)
    c) do the analysis on another paper’s worth of data

      1. Me, too. I think I may borrow those categories, especially the whales vs. useful herrings. I need to find a few of the latter.

  11. What’s easy for me? A couple of things come to mind. Like Sapience, Amstr, and kiwimedievalist, close readings come very easily to me. That realization is really founded on what JLiedl said, which is what interests me is easy to write.

    I can also relate to JaneB’s experience with NaNo–after being pushed through the stainless steel strainer of academic writing, it is freeing to turn off the internal/infernal editor and just write, waxing lyrical if one wants, luxuriating in the flow of words.

    Thanks for sharing your story, DEH. I find how people come to writing so interesting.

    1. Email my dissertation director and readers.

    2. Done, with great trepidation. I have 18 months to go up for tenure in the new position, so I have to polish and send out three articles that I have been working on this past year, before I can return to the dissertation. The good news is that everyone is very supportive of the dissertation here, so I feel good about that.

    3. Analysis. I came down with a massive cold last Wednesday, and with only four days on the job, had to drag myself to work anyway. However, although I was at first too overwhelmed by the training program, and then too sick to respond fully, I was very heartened and helped by everyone’s comments last week about how I needed just to jump through the fiery hoop of theory, get the Ph.D., and then go find my own colleagues. I am going to wade into the literary theory with lots of lanolin on my skin to avoid overmuch irritation, and darned if I won’t come out unscathed on the other side.

    4. Next week’s goal: Weigh the three articles; figure out whether to flit amongst them, or whether one has more traction right now than the others.

    1. Sorry about the cold, that seems to be going around my campus too. You analysis made me picture you in hiking clothes, wading through streams and forest, though maybe that’s because I have the Hunger Games on my mind. haha.

    2. Congrats on sending the email. Hitting that ‘send’ key can be difficult in the best of times.

      I found theory a lot less daunting when I decided that everyone has a theory (or ‘approach’ if that’s a better word), and I just needed to figure out what mine was, especially once I could see what I was already doing. I knew I’d probably be able to see remnants of feminist criticism (since I’m writing about women), some new historicism (since I’m in Ren studies and did some work with a nh prof on American lit in my MA program), and some cognitive theory (because of one of my advisor’s work and my own interests in brain stuff). Once I got over the idea of working within someone else’s framework and tried to figure out what mine was, it seemed a much easier task.

      I hope the three articles go quickly so you can get back to the dissertation!

    3. I’m allergic to lanolin. It’s like poison oak for me. Which adds a whole new component to the metaphor. *shiver*

      But I hope it it soothing and lubricating for you!

  12. Easy: ideas. I’m very much an idea person. I find it easy to make connections between ideas/theories, etc. as well. I’m not sure what else is easy at this point.

    Goal: I think it was to do something, any something.

    Achieved: I watched part of something I’ve had sitting around here since…well Feb or Jan, to help further my thinking about my writing and put together some other takes on the same subject. I was not able to do much reading/writing this week.

    Analysis. the dvd I wastched was surprisingly helpful so I’ll watch the rest of it. As I mentioned before my life pretty much fell apart over break and this last week was spent trying to come to terms with that and return to work. Other life stuff turns out to be too exhausting for me to truly focus on writing or getting anything other than the bare minimum done. My spouse will be pitching in this coming week so hopefully I can invest some time in re-grouping.

    New Goal: Read 2 chapters from previously mentioned book. Write one page or edit one section.

  13. Goal: I will write up comments from my RL group on the MMP draft and make the easy fixes to the document.
    Achieved: they didn’t have a lot of comments. Nothing really accomplished.
    Analysis: lots going on this week, including transatlantic travel and a conference. Now trying to sort out what I can do this week besides go home and try to get back on Central time.
    Goal for next week: reverse-outline current draft, to figure out where a paragraph that doesn’t fit should go instead. Start grooming the rest of the document.

  14. As I mentioned above, close readings tend to be the strongest portions of my essays. I also can get lots of words on paper (but it’s hard for me to revise). One strategy that uses my drafting strength to compensate for my revising weakness is to revise by rewriting. I actually set up a blank page next to my bad draft (Scrivener is helpful for this), and I write from scratch, cutting and pasting what I can. Sometimes I’ll rewrite a draft 3 or 4 times before it’s tight enough for me to feel comfortable tinkering with sentences. I’m just not one to like moving paragraphs around. I tend to be more linear and would write the entire dissertation start to finish if I could (once I figure out what the darn argument is).

    Goal: 1) work two sections of the intro to completion (incl. footnotes), 2) read for and write the theory sections for two chapters, 3) outline the revision for Chapter 1.

    Accomplished: 1) I got at least the equivalent of two sections done (I only have one or two spots that need some major filling in), 2) I read for the theory sections and wrote bad drafts of the theory for Chapters 1 and 2, 3) it’s a bad outline, but it’s done.

    Analysis: I did sink into panic mode a few times when I realized I have less than two weeks left to get my draft into a state where my advisor will think it is more than just a jumble of notes. Though panic mode for me usually means I freeze up and get nothing done, I did manage to keep reading during the panic, but I left a lot of the writing to the last minute. I definitely need deadlines to push me to work more efficiently, but I have to quash the voices that tell me I’ll never get it done and recite “I should have”s endlessly. I’m closer to my goal than I was a week ago, so that’s a win.

    For next week: 1) tidy up intro based on writing partner’s comments, 2) revise Chapter 1 revision outline, 3) draft at least half of Chapter 3 (two-thirds would be even better).

    1. That is so great that you wrote bad drafts of the theory sections for THREE chapters! Seriously. That sounds HARD. Nice work.

    2. And also, you have always been very good at defining an argument in a concise and penetrating way. It seems that whenever I talk at you for 15 minutes, spouting ideas I’ve struggled over for weeks or months, you respond/summarize with a perfectly clear and unified thesis statement.

      1. Yes–for other people’s work! It’s a lot harder to do for my own when I’m struggling over the ideas for weeks. 🙂

  15. Hmm. . .having had a fairly hard middle of the week, I was a bit worried about the upcoming “what’s easy” question, but it turns out that for me, too, coming up with plenty of ideas, and plenty of words to express them, isn’t really a problem. Nor is close reading — at least if you count looking at individual passages and having lots of ideas about *them* as close reading. The hard part is finding a single argument, and throwing out the ideas that don’t fit, and generally shaping things into a single coherent narratives that somehow connects to one or more scholarly conversations. The mid-week panic came from having trouble with that process, and having something of a flashback to my dissertation-writing days, when finding a single argument (and, especially, a connection to a single scholarly conversation/critical tradition, since I was trying to tie into two with very different perspectives on the same key text) was a major problem (and I didn’t have much help in doing it). Since I’m thinking about the P conference paper/article in progress as part of a larger book project, which I’ve generally been feeling good about, the return of that panicky state was *not* pleasant. But I seem to have worked my way out of it to some extent; see “analysis” below.

    Goal for this week: Short writing sessions on 2-3 weekday mornings; longer one on Saturday morning; main focus on writing draft of P conference paper.

    Achieved: one short writing (and reading) session on one weekday morning; quite a bit of work on Saturday, but not exactly a draft.

    Analysis: my original idea for the conference paper had been to structure it around close reading of 3 texts: two from a novel, one from a contemporary historical document that provides context for the novel. But I don’t think that’s going to work. The passages are too long, and the conference to which I’m going is primarily a history one. Oddly, I worked my way out of the problem partly by accomplishing one of the ancillary tasks I’d put aside: writing a historian who is working on some of the same materials, and who had deposited several lecture manuscripts at an archive where I was working, one with a notation that it shouldn’t be cited without permission, and who, it turns out, has just published some of the same work in a journal article. I haven’t sent the email yet, but just trying to explain why I thought he might be interested in the novels on which I’m working, and their connection to his work, helped me think about what a historian might find most interesting about my subject. I think this might be a variation, Dame, on your “show it to a lot of people until someone sees a coherent picture” approach. Except, at least for the moment, I’m showing it to someone I only know through his work (and through googling, which reveals that he’s a quite well-known emeritus professor, which of course makes me a bit anxious about approaching him).

    So I’m now planning to make the conference paper basically a series of fairly short statements that *could* be supported from the evidence, rather than an in-depth analysis of any one of them, and hoping that the historians (and any others) who are present will ask questions that will help me understand what they find interesting in the whole situation. I expect to be able to present some of the same material to a more literature-focused audience (which *will* want texts to close read, but will probably grasp some of my questions with less explanation) later in the year. So maybe between those two presentations I can get a better idea of how to focus my argument in the article, and eventually the book.

    I’m also beginning to think that the scholarly edition I’m contemplating, in addition to potentially increasing interest in the little-known author I’m studying, might be an opportunity to chase down some rabbit trails and distill the results into explanatory footnotes, thus reducing some of the temptation to do the same in the critical book.

    Goal for next week: have a 15-minute conference paper ready to present on Friday afternoon. Read drafts in preparation for c. 20 student conferences on M & W (not everyone completed a draft, thank goodness), and try to whittle down an increasingly-urgent backlog of other student papers. Use the conference to get a better idea of the historical/historiographical context for my project, perhaps do a bit of networking. Main writing opportunities are Tu and Th mornings, but those are also the main grading opportunities. Early Fri. morning is also a possibility assuming I can find a printer (but I’ll be on a university campus, so that shouldn’t be a major problem). So this will be both an intense writing week and one where I use some of my usual writing time for other scholarly endeavors.

    Note: I should be back in time to check in on Sunday next week, but if not, I apologize in advance, and will report both the week after next’s goal (which will probably be finally catching up on the ancillary projects) and its results in 2 weeks.

  16. Right now it’s too hard to reflect on what’s easy or hard, but I am thinking about it, though the group moves on…

    Last week’s goal:

    Write and revise article for 1 hour on Monday and Wednesday, plus half hour on Friday.

    Accomplished:

    Less than 1 hour on Monday (might have been as long as 45 minutes) revising.
    More than 1 hour on Wednesday (almost 2 hours) revising.
    More than 1/2 hour on Friday.

    Comments/analysis of what worked or what went wrong.:

    On Monday, getting my car serviced slowed me down, though I did manage to catch up on one pile of grading. Once that was over, it took me a while to get started on revising.

    On Wednesday, I may have been engaging in productive procrastination, avoiding midterms.

    On Friday, I got carried away rereading an article and taking too many notes. I wanted more specific information from the article for my revision, but I didn’t make it to the point of including it in my paper.

    My son has entered a phase where he *really* wants to be the first kid to arrive at his day care/ preschool, which opens at 7. This turns out to be a good thing in combination with my newly improved ability to stop my escapist activities (blogs,
    Kenken, and so on) after a reasonable amount of time. That is, I’m not staying up late doing puzzles, so I’ve been able to get into a regular “early to bed, early to rise” schedule. Also, I don’t mind getting up ridiculously early if I get a decent amount of sleep *and* get work done in the morning. (Otherwise I’d tell Zeb that he’d have to be satisfied with being first the one day per semester that I have to give an 8:30am final exam.) Getting up early and procrastinating until noon? Not so much fun.

  17. I don’t know if WordPress ate my comment while I was logging in or if this will be a duplicate. I don’t see the comment, so:

    Last week’s goal:

    Write and revise article for 1 hour on Monday and Wednesday, plus half hour on Friday.

    Accomplished:

    Less than 1 hour on Monday (might have been as long as 45 minutes) revising.
    More than 1 hour on Wednesday (almost 2 hours) revising.
    More than 1/2 hour on Friday.

    Comments/analysis of what worked or what went wrong.:

    On Monday, getting my car serviced slowed me down, though I did manage to catch up on one pile of grading. Once that was over, it took me a while to get started on revising.

    On Wednesday, I may have been engaging in productive procrastination, avoiding midterms.

    On Friday, I got carried away rereading an article and taking too many notes. I wanted more specific information from the article for my revision, but I didn’t make it to the point of including it in my paper.

    My son has entered a phase where he *really* wants to be the first kid to arrive at his day care/ preschool, which opens at 7. This turns out to be a good thing in combination with my newly improved ability to stop my escapist activities (blogs, kenken, and so on) after a reasonable amount of time. That is, I’m not staying up late doing puzzles, so I’ve been able to get into a regular “early to bed, early to rise” schedule. Also, I don’t mind getting up ridiculously early if I get a decent amount of sleep *and* get work done in the morning. (Otherwise I’d tell Zeb that he’d have to be satisfied with being first the one day per semester that I have to give an 8:30am final exam.) Getting up early and procrastinating until noon? Not so much fun.

  18. I am not sure what’s easy for me, and I’ve been thinking about it for the past couple of days (here and there). When I saw several of you saying that close reading was easy, I thought, “Oh yes, me, too.” And it is. But other than that, I don’t really find any of it easy. I can write basic stuff easily enough, but I wouldn’t say that words flow out of me. Also, I make a lot of mistakes when I write, so the faster words flow, the more I have to fix.

    I think I can say what I’m good at and what I *like* more that what is easy. I’m good at writing clear, unified arguments, but I’m wouldn’t say that doing so is easy. I also have begun to really like revision–moving things around, developing points, etc. (not the last-minute polishing [see earlier statement about mistakes]).

    Last week’s goal: I can’t remember. I think it had something to do with 10 pages of theory and two chapters of philosophy. And getting the book review (which Amstr reminded me should be part of my goal).

    Accomplished: Well, I didn’t actually do anything, but Amstr sent me about five different book review of my dreaded seminal text! How awesome and helpful is that?

    Analysis: I just had too many meetings this week. I couldn’t do my “mindful inflexibility” hours and was booked all day every day. Yesterday, I had a great day just relaxing with the kids and doing laundry because Hubby had to grade. Today, I had to grade all day. So no dissertation work. This coming week will also be busy. Lots of grading catch up, meetings, etc.

    Goal for this week: Read two chapters of philosophical primary text. Read three book reviews. Write two pages.

    1. I’d add to your “good at” list that you’re amazing at having a comprehensive view of a topic, reading thoroughly, and engaging thoughtfully with criticism. And you’re a monster grammarian, so even if you make mistakes writing, you catch them all.

      I’m glad you got a relax day in the midst of job crisis semester.

      And perhaps on a crazy week, it would be good enough just to skim a review or two. Sometimes just letting the ideas in your brain and letting them percolate, even if you can’t take the time to fully understand all the arguments as you read, can be really valuable.

  19. Back from all the travels! I did my week at our international campus conducting faculty evaluation and hiring, and then upon returning was in the office for two days for a graduate recruitment event, then went off to give the paper I have been posting about. The paper was generally well received, and I got good feedback that should help me shape the chapter. So, getting back on track, my goal for this week is to begin processing that feedback as I continue to write the chapter from which the conference paper was taken. I’d like to get 5 pages or so added to the total.

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