Sept-Dec 2012 Writing Group, Week 1 Check-In

Updated to add: Because it’s a holiday weekend in the US, you can have till tonight to check in (not sure what’s happening with our Kiwis—do you get a holiday, too?), but after this, you have to check in by Sunday at 6:00 p.m. U. S. Central time.  I teach MWF at an hour that requires me to get up at oh-dark-thirty, so I will normally need to get the next week’s goals sorted out before I go to bed on Sunday.  And I will close comments at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday just to make it clear that I mean it.  Nine people who indicated interest have yet to check in at noon on Monday 09.03, and we have probably about as many folks who have joined us here without any previous notice.  Welcome—but because it’s a big group, please check in on time even if you have to report “no progress.”  Let me know if you’ll miss a week.  Otherwise, you’re likely to get dropped./add

We have 43 participants this time, if I’ve counted correctly.  Some of you have already mentioned goals, but just to be official and keep everything in one place, let’s all post one main goal for the 15-week (plus “finals” week) group.  If you have other deadlines or ongoing projects coming up (as do I), add those as well, but make clear what is the One Big Thing that you plan to accomplish in the coming weeks.

Here are the ground rules, which will be familiar to those of you who were in the Spring 2012 Writing Group (if you weren’t, you might want to have a look at some of those posts, just for fun; scroll way down to find the list of tags for my blog):

  1. Post every week, even if you haven’t achieved anything.  We’ve all had bad weeks.  Face it, forgive yourself, move on.  The group will help you deal with it.
  2. This week, please post your 15-Week Goal in your first paragraph and a specific goal for next week in a second paragraph.  If you have any other comments or questions, put them in another paragraph.
  3. Next week and in all subsequent weeks, please use the following four-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.
  4. Feel free to comment on each other’s posts.

I will post my goals in the comments like everyone else.

Here’s the list of participants as of this afternoon:

Another Postdoc
Comrade PhysioProf
Contingent Cassandra
Dame Eleanor Hull
Dr. Virago
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
highly eccentric
Notorious Ph.D.
rented life
Trapped in Canadia
Undine (Not of General Interest)
Way To Go Homesteader
What Now?
Z (Mictlantecuhtli/Profacero)

Lately, drawing on Virginia Valian (summer writing-group participants from amstr’s Writing Account will remember this), it has been very helpful for me to remember that I have a responsibility to the work itself, the writing, reading, and research that are not only what I love but also part of what I am paid to do and, above all, what I feel called to do.  Something I love can be a responsibility and not just an indulgence that should be put aside to serve others (students, administrators, whoever).  This thought has helped me stick with the writing in this first busy, distracting week of classes when lots of other people have needs.  If it helps you, too, great.  If not, let’s figure out what your motivation will be.

Welcome, or welcome back.  I wish you happy writing and a productive, sane semester.

Writing Group placeholder

Sorry, everybody, that I’m late setting this up.  I realized last night that although I thought (wishful thinking?) that I had another couple of weeks to get an external tenure review letter sent off, in fact it needed to be faxed today.  So that took priority.  I’m getting down to writing group set-up now, and our official First Week Check-in will be up this evening.

We have a bumper crop of participants.  This is going to be awesome!

OK, don’t post goals here.  Wait till I get the list and the guidelines up, please.

Thank you for your patience.  We appreciate your business and a customer representative will be with you shortly.

Basement Cat and the Tiny Cat

Long-time readers will remember what a hellion Basement Cat was in his youth.  He is called Basement Cat on the blog not because we actually keep him in the basement, but because he is all-black and used to act evil.

But now, at four (I think), he is mostly a nice cat (Glendower has taken over on the evil front, so we still have a difficult black cat).  This morning he is being particularly sweet.  The Tiny Cat has a special perch in our front window, which her brother the Grammarian also enjoys; we sometimes have to make the Grammarian move along, so the Tiny Cat can get into her spot.  She’s been sitting there this morning, and Basement Cat has been sitting behind her, where he can look out.  But even when she gets down, to drink or use the litter box, Basement Cat does not move into her place.  He’s keeping it for her.

Or maybe he just wants to spy from the shadows, since Neighbor Catboy and Neighbor Catgirl are out in the garden.

Getting to know you

I’m delighted to have so many people interested in the Sept-Dec 2012 writing group, even with 10 days or so to go until our first official check-in.  I know some of you from past groups, but we haven’t all been in the same groups, and there may be some new people here, so I’d like to go around the room and have you introduce yourselves.  Feel free to comment on any of the following, or add your own thoughts about yourself and your work:

Where are you in your career?  What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?  What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?  What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?  To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray (

Announcing the Sept-Dec 2012 Writing Group

Updated to add: anyone who still wants to join should go directly to the Week 1 Check In and check in, following the required format.  I’ve got everyone down to Kirstin, but I’d prefer not to have to keep checking back here.

We still have a week to go over at amstr‘s, so this is advance notice: I will be hosting the next writing group iteration, the Sept-Dec 2012 Group, so-called because I don’t want to assume that all participants are from the northern hemisphere.  After all, when it’s fall (or autumn) Up Over, it’s spring Down Under.

(Have I mentioned that in my Ideal Life I fly, on the equinoxes, from north to south or vice versa, and so never have to endure winter cold or long dark nights?  Anyone posting from the Southern Hemisphere is welcome to exult over signs of spring, and I will experience great vicarious pleasure as I imagine myself in my southern hemi-home.)

Anyway, we’ll begin where amstr leaves off, and have our first check-in on Friday, 31 August.  The group will run for 15 regular weeks (a semester’s worth) plus “finals,” where we report final results; that last check-in will be Friday, 14 December (followed by a holiday party—with caipirinhas, not eggnog, if I have anything to say about it; see Ideal Life, above).

So leave a comment any time if you want to join in.  Further details will be forthcoming.

And I should warn you, I probably won’t do daily inspirational quotes this time around.  Maybe one or two a week, if we’re all lucky.

We shall see . . .

I swapped out my almost-new laptop with the wireless problem for a new laptop (same model) which seems to be working okay . . . except that the wireless is rather slow.  Sir John suggests that maybe this model just has problems with its wireless card, and urges that if I have problems again I should insist on exchanging for something else.

Le sigh.  Le sigh enorme.  I hate setting up/breaking in a new computer.  It’s stressful and gets in the way of other work, though sometimes, obviously, it’s necessary in order to get any work done at all.  I really hope this one will settle down and behave.  I want to get back to a normal schedule instead of having to take time to visit computer stores (two trips this week) and do unusual messing about with electronics.

So if I suddenly go silent for another long period, suspect my laptop before you worry about my health.

Sorry . . . .

I spoke too soon about the connectivity problems being fixed at home.  I still need to get the laptop fixed.  This seems to be my year for computer problems.  I have not lost data, and I always have ways of working around the problems, but the current situation is still clumsy and kludgey, and I should just buckle down and deal with it.

Nothing much is new, anyway.  I am deeply in denial about summer coming to an end.  I’m sure I should be thrashing if not actually settling down to hard work clearing out the lists of things that must be done in the next two weeks, but instead I keep ignoring the lists.

But I expect I’ll be back to regular posting soon.