I have to write a paper for Kalamazoo. In a sense, it’s already started. I’ve been thinking about the manuscripts on which it focuses for a few years now. I wrote the abstract last summer, and there isn’t much about it I want to change right now. This week, I sent some 2000 words of notes to my RL writing group, with the questions, “What patterns do you see? What do you want to know more about?”
2000 words is enough for a 20-minute paper, the way I read. But these are not, yet, the right words. There’s a lot of plot summary. Some of it is necessary, not just to acquaint the audience with the story, but as part of the actual argument. Even so, I want to cut down on the plot. I feel like I’m at the stage where I’m pushing pieces around, trying to work out the pattern. Also there are things I would like to know more about in order to answer some of the questions I have, but no one (that I can find) has written about these things, and working them out from scratch would be a huge, hairy, ugly proposition, worthy of a dissertation. So I need to figure out how to avoid those questions and focus the paper through some other analytic lens.
I think this is what Boice means by his rule #2, “Wait.” I have collected my mosaic bits, read some articles, done some bibliography searches, taken notes when reading for the MMP (or teaching, or whatever) coincides with the Zoo paper.
Soon I will need to do the “real writing,” and I need to think about how and where to start. I feel like I’m on the verge of moving from one method of starting to a new way, but I’m not quite there yet. All the thoughtful attention to what I’m doing now and have done in the past for the MMP, all the posts for writing groups in the past year, make me feel like something in my process needs to shift. But as with pushing the mosaic bits of my argument around, I’m not quite sure how the process is going to change. I’m still waiting.
How do you get started?
Amstr: 1) rest, 2) write 1000 (or more) words on Chapter 3, 3) read 5 theory articles, 4) take care of photocopying and bibliographic details.
ComradePhysioProf: checked in, but no goal posted.
Contingent Cassandra: (not really writing, at least not on my chosen projects, but perhaps getting some things off my plate so writing will be possible later): Work on annual report during writing time. Get taxes done.
DEH: write at least 20 minutes on M, T, Th, and at least 1 hour on W, F, Sa. Go to bed by 10 every night. Put together the complete draft and start polishing.
EAM: Work an hour a day on the first article, and the second one if I manage to finish the first.
FeMOMhist: I’m going to consult with some peeps to see what they advise. I’ve already changed horses midstream once in this writing group but since side project is well, my side work, I feel like I want to devote my time to the one that is yielding tangibles already.
GEW: add 5-7 pages to chapter, revise all of chapter to clarify theorectical approach, do article search on relevant side topic. Also, I want to get a lot of reading done, but I still need to figure out how best to target those efforts.
Ink: Only one page. TONS of work coming up this week and I’ll be happy if I get to it at all so making it very modest.
JaneB: a) finish revising complicated paper, sort out all the details in the references and get all the roughs of the figures assembled, send out to co-authors. b) turn into a more coherant and typed list. c) freewriting. grant ideas. 15 minutes, three days, let’s say, to have an actual measurable goal.
JLiedl: Get past the halfway point and complete the next major chapter section.
kiwimedievalist: write out a really persuasive project for a post-doc. Not sure how to make the project more interesting than my lack of anything actually published.
Luo Lin: Monday and Friday: 1/2 hour of revising; Wednesday 1 hour.
Matilda: finishing reading materials, definitely; constructing arguments, definitely; at first, making a practical plan of working time.
Nancy Warren: 3 pages.
profgrrrl: Move forward on book proposal and BS manuscript.
Rented Life: Do the other job application. Write/edit 1 page/section. Read 1 chapter.
Sapience: Work on cutting down my conference paper draft for KZoo from 20 minutes to 15.