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 (https://dameeleanorhull.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/writing-group-week-2-bug-spray/)?

Advertisements

58 thoughts on “Getting to know you

  1. I’m a historian at a decent public research university. My second book is out this month and I have just been promoted to full as a result. But that second book took over a decade to produce and I have always struggled to carve out writing time during the academic year with all its many pressures (more so these days thanks to cut backs). I find myself energized about a new research project and want to break some of those old, bad habits so I can get my ideas out there in the world in a more timely fashion. I am now in the very, very privileged place of not having to publish for tenure or promotion. But I love my scholarship and need to figure out a way to fit it into my daily life. And I’d like to help younger scholars avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve fallen into. Plus, I am a bit of a lurker in the blogosphere and would like to come out of the woodwork a bit more.

  2. Awesome—someone senior to me, to whom I can look for advice! Thank you for joining us. I aspire to be full, as well: that’s my five-year goal. Maybe less, depending on how things go.

  3. Where are you in your career?

    Mid-career tenured faculty.

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?

    Medical school within an elite private university.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?

    Substantially expanding my level of NIH grant support.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?

    None really. Writing comes quite easily to me and I have plenty of time for it. The issue is deciding what to write.

  4. Hi all! This is the first time I’ve joined this kind of writing group, though I’ve eyed some of the previous ones with much interest. I’m a tenured associate at a small R1, hoping to finish my second book and go up for full within the next 2-3 years. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to plan a lot of writing time this fall, which means I really need to figure out a writing schedule and develop some good habits. I have a giant pile of notes that need to be turned into a book, and my goal for this fall is to get most of that done.

      1. Oh, thank you! I’m not back to blogging yet, though I’ve thought about it a great deal… I might try it to get back in the writing groove, which I have definitely lost. (thus my pleasure at joining this group.) So, so far it’s just the name I’m using. 🙂

  5. Hello! I’m ABD-but-defending-in-six-weeks in English at a public research university. In the next five-to-ten, I want to have figured out how to turn my diss into a book (and gotten it published), and started or even finished my second project. More generally, I want to figure out how to balance my two rather disparate research interests, and keep work on both of them going.

    As for creating time for writing, I’m going to have to readjust to teaching (and not letting it take over too much time) after being off for the last year. However, I suspect that there will be two bigger problems: figuring out how to write something that isn’t my dissertation, and managing the demands of writing for the job market. I tend to be a perfectionist, and spend too much time fiddling with incredibly minor aspects of my CV, job letter, etc., instead of doing more substantial writing.

  6. Hi–like many of you, tenured associate at an R1, wanting to finish this book I’ve been working on.

  7. Where are you in your career?
    I finished my PhD about two years ago, and since then have been desperately applying for jobs and post-docs, to no avail. I’ve got two articles currently floating in the big blue yonder, and need to write a couple more. And work out how on earth to turn my two-part thesis into a real book.

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?
    While waiting for a real job, I’ve been lucky enough to get TAing at the big public university where I did all my study. I never know from one semester to the next if there will be work in the next six months, which is getting very wearing.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?
    I want to teach!! That’s my real problem – I’m a much better teacher than I am a researcher, but I want to teach Old and Middle English, which is harder to do at school level. However, I do have a lot of research ideas, too. I’d like to find a place which allows for a balance of teaching and research – but at this point, I’ll take any place that offers a job for more than 4 months.

    ,i>What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?
    My biggest problem with my writerly identity is that I’m not sure I have one. I have this vision in my head of me writing, both research and novels, but I really struggle to unplug myself from the internet and do the actual writing bit.

    This semester (i.e., for 8 more weeks) I have Thursdays free for writing, and large chunks in other sections of the week. I need to get back to the business of using those.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray?
    Mostly, to my university office space, which leaves me totally unmotivated. I think I need to bring in some pictures of writing happening, and stick them on the wall over my computer.

    (Also, to the cat, who makes working in the living room at home totally impractical, as she insists on sitting between me and the lap-top.)

    Thank you for hosting this again, DEH. I was really sorry to drop out of last round’s writing group with amstr, and felt lost every week, as I kept seeing the notifications in my inbox. This time round, I have much more focus, but I need the accountability.

      1. Cats! I do not know why we persist in bringing the tyrants into our homes. Except for all the times when they are cute and furry and make you smile ‘cos they’re purring at you.

  8. I’m a bit more than halfway done with my dissertation at a big state university back east. I’m on the west coast, driving my local library staff batty with all my interlibrary loan requests. I consider my dissertation a part-time job, and the rest of my life is filled with parenting two grade-school aged kids (the youngest starts kindergarten this year). Challenges to writerly identity: being outside of an academic community, being in a place filled with scientists (I’m in English lit), all the household things that can take up as much time as I give them, being able to think of myself as a writer in the first place.

    I wish I had a big picture goal. It’s hard to see much past the dissertation (I’m heading into my 9th year of the doctoral program, post-MA. That’s a lot of school.), and my subsequent goals have to do with knitting, watching movies, and learning to play more instruments. My dream at one point was to teach at a SLAC, like the one where I did my undergrad. That dream is still hanging around somewhere, but now I’m geographically bound, and I wouldn’t trade being home with my kids. I’m not interested in full-time work at the moment, but I’ve considered going back to teaching part-time (what I did between MA and PhD) and doing editing work (what I did my first 2 yrs. of PhD in lieu of teaching).

    1. Bugge-Spray: the internet and the laundry.

      Can I ask for a super-power, too? It would help immensely to be able to read, comprehend, and synthesize scholarly books and articles in the blink of an eye.

      1. I’m right with you on the internet and laundry. Whenever I’m home, on the weekend, I have to keep reminding myself about the washing. Why won’t it wash itself?!?

  9. I’m a historian teaching in a related professional program at a private research university. I’m second-year tenure track. Prior to the TT position, I taught full-time and before that I worked in a related professional field. I have also worked as an adjunct in a community college. Before all of that I had a variety of positions/careers. I mention all of this because I am older than most second-year TT faculty. I stumbled into teaching as a result of my professional field, not really intending to pursue full-time teaching after finishing the PhD. But I’m happy with the change in careers. I can see myself in this department, or at least in this career until retirement.

    I am working on my first book — full manuscript is due next summer. Big picture goal? Tenure is probably the one looming most significantly for me. A second book, some articles along the way. I would like to pursue more digital humanities projects.

    Challenges – time. I teach in a small department. My teaching load is generally a 3-2. But I supervise a number of graduate theses. I have nearly twenty advisees. So time is a challenge. Place is also a challenge. Difficult to find quiet, focused time in my office for writing. I can have the same problem at home since my husband works from home. We like to hang out together. Sounds sentimental, but he really is my best friend, the one person who really understands me. But hanging out means neither one of us accomplishes much. (No children at home any more.) Identity is another problem. I’m the first in my family to go to college. Women in my family and in my small hometown grew up to be wives and mothers (or vice versa), many doing so before high school graduation. They might work in a minimum wage job to add to the family income, but do not aspire to a career. BTW – that is my family’s attitude, not my husband’s (or his family’s attitude for that matter).

    Thanks for hosting, DEH. I’m looking forward to being part of this group. I need to get a lot of writing done this semester!

    1. Sir John and I also both work at home a lot, but he is so focused that I find him inspirational. OTOH, that focus means I wind up picking up cat duties, not so time-consuming in themselves, but once I’m downstairs I tend to find other non-work things to do. But it’s useful to at least notice and name the family attitudes; then we can try to counter any of them we have internalized.

  10. Where are you in your career? What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?

    Finished my PhD just over a year ago, now in the midst of a (portable) three-year post-doc fellowship. Last year I traveled too much and wrote too little. As part of a two-body solution, my post-doc was split between elite private university on the east coast and big state university on the west coast. This year I’m staying on the west coast, trying to minimize travel, teaching some nice big state university classes, and, um, having a baby in February.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?

    In the next 5-6 weeks: finishing the revisions to an old, painful paper that just won’t end; finishing a share-able draft of a second paper that has only one section left to go. Both papers are originally from my thesis, but both required a whole lot of new research to make publishable.

    In the next semester: This is my first big teaching semester (2 sections of ~200 students each) so I’m keeping expectations low. I would like to re-submit the old, painful paper; submit the new paper; and start working on something that I can keep up with next quarter post-baby. (I have various ideas for what “something” might be, but it depends on how some collaborative work pans out.)

    In the next 5-10 years: changing research areas, or possibly careers. I’m committed to tying up the loose ends of my PhD during this post-doc, but then I’m ready to move on. If I can do this within academia by making small shifts in research focus, then I will. If not, I’ll move to industry.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?

    Once the quarter starts, I’m sure teaching will be a challenge. For now, the real challenge is that I’m bored with my work.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray (https://dameeleanorhull.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/writing-group-week-2-bug-spray/)?

    The internet? Mainly the internet.

  11. Where are you in your career?
    I graduated with my PhD in May and I am beginning a two year post doc fellowship in September.

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?
    I am at an R1.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?
    I would like to have a book published based on my dissertation research and I would like to have some articles published and at least one in a flagship journal of my discipline.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?
    My biggest problem with writing is marshaling the focus necessary to complete the various projects I have started. The internet is a huge distraction. Additionally, I have problems with large blocks of open time. I am free from teaching this fall and, frankly, that scares me. Seemingly endless periods of time dupe me into believing that I have plenty of time and thus can afford to accomplish very little today. But tomorrow never comes.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray?
    The internet, namely, facebook.

    Thanks for hosting. I look forward to interacting with the group.

  12. Where are you in your career? Kind of stuck! I’m a senior lecturer in the UK (we no longer have tenure, but I’m as close to tenured as you can get). I don’t want to be a Chair (which brings with it more service responsibilities unless you are a research superstar and the latter requires masses of income) and it’s unrealistic to aspire to that anyway in the next 5 years. I’m in a STEM discipline.

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at? A squeezed middle one. It (and especially my department) aspires to be top flight for research but we have higher teaching loads and less support than our ‘peers’ at the universities they’d like us to be directly competing with. Most of our income comes from our undergraduate students (even after the university takes it’s giant bite). Teaching and research are in constant conflict, and not always in a good way (some (male) colleagues get away with the old game of teach badly, get less teaching, have more research time, be praised for dedication to research, get promoted/get resources, expressing enthusiasm for teaching is seen as an admission of ‘not being really committed to your research’). We have a lot of first generation students and a wide preparedness range among our students, reflecting both a committment to widening access and a lack of desire to leave the region among many local(ish) students, so being a good teacher can be quite challenging.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out? If I knew the answer to that I wouldn’t feel so stuck! There are a lot of good things about this place, so I’m not committed to writing my way out, and I do enjoy teaching, but I’m having a sustained period of ‘is this it?’-itis. I want to have a better, more securely funded research group, and to continue my work – perhaps the best goal to work for is a D.Sc.? It would require more focus from my work, serve me well if I wanted to move, and be a good high point to finish on even if I decide to change careers…

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?

    The distraction of urgent but not important, and the distractions of people (especially Certain Colleagues). The unfortunate fact that as usual this year my teaching is different, almost entirely in teams, and will no doubt be dynamic for reasons beyond my control. Sigh. The internet (especially simple games sites like king.com), and myself – I have clinical depression, not perfectly under control, and I love to sleep and read…

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray (https://dameeleanorhull.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/writing-group-week-2-bug-spray/)? the insides of my head!

  13. Is it too late to join?

    Where I am in my career: I am an academic subject librarian with a history PhD who really wants to continue to publish in history (I held two temporary teaching jobs before trying out several alt-ac jobs, so have been adjacent to/sort of in the academy for awhile, but not at a teaching job for about 7 years). I am at a strapped-for-cash research university.

    Goals: I have an article that I finished for submission in an earlier one of these writing groups, but it now needs substantial revision to get ready to be sent off to its third (sigh) submission. I would very much like this article to lead out into a larger book project (and I would also very much like to GET THIS ARTICLE PUBLISHED already so that I can start thinking more seriously about other chapters in that hoped-for project towards a book proposal. Too much things I want to say. Need to start narrowing them. I would also very much like to publish an article that grew out of my dissertation and had gotten a lot of positive attention/feedback but was rejected because it was scooped (journal sat on it for an awfully long time) about half of the article could be very easily salvaged into a completely different article, different enough from the book that scooped it.

    Challenges:Time: 9-5 job which can be very draining (public services); identity issues: vague pressure to identify as a librarian and give up on being a historian; energy: recovering from major surgery, so, energy is very up and down. However: I am happiest when writing and doing research, so need to keep going. (Major surgery –> evaluation of priorities). I started a blog while I was still on leave to give me space to thrash out ideas more casually.

    Bugge Spray: oh, the voices that insist that I am a failed academic!

  14. Hi internet-folks! *Nods* Hi again, Dame E. 🙂

    Where are you in your career?

    I dropped out of these writing groups to finish my thesis (project too big and not fitting the group’s timetables). It is now done! That was an M.Phil; I’m now biding my time waiting for the corrections to come back, and trying to turn the momentum and clarity I built up at the end of it into articles. And a PhD proposal.

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?

    I was at the University of Sydney, which is pretty big in terms of both research and teaching. I tutored (TA’d) for the medieval studies program there and hope to do so again.

    Right now though, I’m working part-time for a transcription company, as a rather boring sort of proofreader. It’s mostly court transcriptions, and completely unrelated to my field of study.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?

    *wistful sigh* I might, maybe, have a PhD. And a job, but we all know how dicey that one is.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?

    Hmm. I’m doing a whole damn lot better now than I was mid-thesis, actually – having actually produced a thing seems to lead to producing more things. The main challenge at the moment is fitting that around real-world work, and retaining a sense of direction without the knowledge that I Am A Student, Students Study.

    1. Yes, producing a finished something is a great help. Now that the MMP’s companion-piece is out in the world, a lot of the imposter-syndrome voices have receded into the background, and I am excited about finishing the MMP. Congratulations on finishing your thesis, and I hope we can help you with the sense of direction and a community!

  15. Where are you in your career?
    I am in my first year as a TT associate librarian. I am older than most in my position, since I have worked for several years at institutions that do not offer tenure to librarians.

    In addition to the MLS, have an MA in comparative literature, with a medieval emphasis, and am ABD.

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?
    I am at an RU/VH (previously known as R1) state university, which is veering sharply to follow the science and technology grants, and freezing/shrinking/ceasing literature and language majors.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?

    I enjoy writing and research. I want to finish the dissertation and continue my scholarship, as well as my creative non-fiction. I will be an administrator for the next 10 years at least.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?

    I have some of the same challenges as SophyLou mentions: I am a department head, which is a very draining 9-5 job. Although I have experienced a very pointed “pressure to identify as a librarian” in most of my positions, I am now at an institution that counts my medieval studies articles toward tenure, and wants me to finish the Ph.D.

    That said, it is difficult to find the time during a workday full of administrativa and meetings; even if I find time, it is also difficult to hide.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray?

    My inner critic, who second-guesses every freaking line.

    I add my thanks to you, DEH, for hosting this group again. I have found the accountability very helpful; often the discussion offers great points and hints, too.

      1. Yes, it’s amazing, especially since I am in technical services. It’s too bad you feel the vague pressure; naively, I thought subject librarians might escape. After all, what happened to scholar-librarians?

  16. Where are you in your career?
    -what career? I’ve taught FT, I’ve adjuncted, I’ve worked for a non-profit research organization, I’ve been a maid (not in that order). This semester I’ll be adjuncting a senior seminar at a very small Private College I used to teach at, while I give fiction and freelance writing a try for a career option.

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?
    -Private College. I have taught at CC’s too.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?
    -Fiction Book published, a legit writing career, instead of just writing for the sake of writing. I’d like to have teaching be something I do just because I want to, not because I have to. Mind you, I enjoy teaching but after what I’ve dealt with I’ve not got the desire/drive for FT gig somewhere (one exception–if Private College had something FT again, I’d go back. It’s the best place I’ve worked at.)

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?
    -Both of these questions have the same answer. Being a writer, identifying as that is new to me. I’m struggling to make sure that it’s important–claiming time/space/other needs and believing my project in the first place. I’m also not great with unstructured time and constant changing of schedules–two things I have to deal with as husband schedule is different every day, every week (I do know 4 weeks out), and I have unstructured time.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray?
    -Extended family, a few friends, my own thoughts or the voices of others I can hear already…usless distractions.

    1. It will be interesting to hear how fiction writing fits in with some teaching. I keep thinking about fiction (and have a historical fiction story ready to go – with a fair bit of the research done), but I am not convinced I’m a writer. So good luck with the change in identity! Claim it, and the space and time it needs.

      1. Thanks! I have a unique opportunity here when I don’t *need* to work FT but I think adjuncting, especially a fun class like this one, will present a good break and a chance to meet new personalities while writing thoughts marinate. Being a writer was always my secret career, I never thought about actually pursuring it until I told my husband and he said “what are we waiting for here?” It’ll be interesting!

      2. My husband and I have this on-going thing about which of us is going to write the best-selling novel which will be turned into a blockbuster movie. It’s always the other one!

  17. Quite glad to join you here. Thanks for having me.

    Where are you in your career?
    I’m starting my fifth year in a tenure-track position, which comes after a previous career working in public information.

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?
    I’m at a mid-sized, second-tier state university.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?
    I have this book manuscript that I meant to finish this summer, but then, as usual, overcommitted myself to other enticing projects. I’d like to have this book published as a big step toward establishing a voice in a small but growing specialty area. I’d like to be an expert there.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?
    Hmmm…that challenging identity question again! And I am still mulling it over. Making commitments to appointments with myself, letting myself make time for writing and excluding distractions are ways to contend with some of the challenges. The biggest issue is privileging writing and research over teaching, service, and other life stuff.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray (https://dameeleanorhull.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/writing-group-week-2-bug-spray/)?
    A little spraying serenade to hypnotize and quiet Twitter and the RSS feed would do well. It’s a little OCD acting up, and now that classes are starting I don’t have the luxury of scrolling through every.single.Tweet.

    1. This is why I haven’t joined Twitter…I’m sure it’d be fun to be where everyone is but I don’t need another distraction!

      1. I resisted Twitter for a long time, then found that there are rich academic discussions going on all over Twitter. I intended to use it sparingly and wisely, but I got carried away. Terrible distraction.

  18. Hi Dame E! Hi writing group members!

    Where are you in your career?

    I’m in that liminal space of associate professordom, trying to figure out “what next?”

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?

    It is technically categorized as R1 public, but it hasn’t really been at that level for about 15-20 years, ever since the state defunded most of the PhD programs. I’d call it a comprehensive regional state university with a good teaching load (3-2).

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?

    I want to get to Full Prof in the next few years, so I need to get a couple more journal articles out there. I’ve been doing a lot of invited stuff lately, which is nice — it’s good to be known and wanted in my subfield — and has a certain amount of prestige (I’m a known quantity), but there need to be some more peer reviewed journal articles before I can go up for full. Also, I’d like to have a second book project (which doesn’t have to come before getting to Full, actually — not at my university). I kinda, sorta do, but I’m not really sure where it’s going. I’m trying to let it tell me, but I’m getting impatient with it. I keep telling myself that it took me 10 years to go from idea to book on the first book, and that I need to give this one that time to percolate, too, but, dammit, I’m getting older!

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?

    The usual: teaching, service, the internet, life. Also, not being able to see yet where this next book project is going. Grrrr. Oh, and I’m kind of out of ideas in my original sub-field, the one that I’m a known quantity in, which bums me out. Also, remodeling a new house for the first 6 months of this year and moving in the middle of the summer really didn’t help my productivity and now I need to reboot.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray.

    Well, this isn’t the use it’s prescribed for, but I’d really like to spray it in my uni’s president’s face.

    1. Hi! I want to get to full prof, too.

      Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray is not recommended for off-label uses. There is some chance if used as you describe that it might make your uni president more effective at convincing people to do things you don’t approve of; s/he might need more demons and obnoxious voices, not fewer. Tell you what: let’s all send our nagging voices over to buzz in the ears of Dr Virago’s uni-prez, and get them to do something useful for a change!

      1. Oh, but see, the Prez *is* an obnoxious voice (and may also be a demon) in the ear around here, bringing morale down low, leaving one not wanting to do anything — research, teaching, or service — because Prez and Prez’s cronies don’t value it one whit.

  19. Welcome to everyone! Next Friday, 31 August, will be our first official check-in. Please be prepared to post your goal(s) for the 16-week group. As usual, I recommend focusing on a single project for the group. And, as I fear may be usual, this will be a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do proposition, because I am going to be trying to finish the MMP, revise a fellowship application, and keep on with the translation work. All with three classes and one major committee. How do I get into situations like this? I think I have Ivy-class ambitions in a regional-U life.

  20. How did I miss this? Great start for me, I guess. *sigh*

    Where are you in your career? What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?
    Let’s see, I’m in the later stages of my seemingly endless PhD. I’ve been on a leave of absence this summer and that is going to continue through the fall semester because I’ve been hired as a FT adjunct at a tiny little private college. This is a complete change from the schools where I did my M.A. and where I’m working on my PhD, which has almost 15 times as many students as the tiny college. It’s somewhat similar to my undergrad school, although – warning: total educational snobbery ahead – my undergrad school was not just historic with a lovely campus and large endowment, but more academically rigorous than the tiny college.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?
    I want tenure. I’ve always seen myself at a SLAC in New England or a bigger institution somewhere in the U.K. or Europe, but, let’s be honest, that’s a bit of a dream in this job market and things don’t look like they are going to change anytime soon. So…at this point I feel like I’d just be happy if I had a job and a book out, possibly with another book in the works. Let’s hope!

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?
    Ha. Some of you have seen my struggles with writing. I know now that I will seize any excuse to not write. I had a breakthrough the other day, though, and realized that one of the reasons I have been struggling with my writing is that I feel like I don’t have anything to say, to contribute. I reviewed my chapter outlines and major points for each chapter, revised them a bit, and slowly started to remind myself/realize that I do actually have something to contribute and that it is fairly important, too. Unfortunately, I also struggle with sticking to my schedule. This might be my busiest semester yet, considering I’m teaching four classes and will only have two days a week for my dissertation. That will be my big challenge this semester, so fingers crossed that I manage to create and stick to a reasonable schedule this semester!

    I don’t have the luxury of working on just one thing this semester, so it’s going to be a bit crammed. I have two conference papers this semester – one to revise and one to write entirely – an article that needs to be finished asap, the same with a book review, and, of course, the dissertation. I don’t think this semester will be long enough!

  21. I’m a mid-career tenured academic working in the Australian system. My uni has pretty good teaching loads and poor support for research coupled with very high institutional expectations. We are being restructured, like a lot of institutions in Aus., but I’m pretty confident I’ll be around for the next 16 weeks.

    The end of this writing group pretty much coincides with my 40th birthday, so questions about big plans and futures are resonant. I think more of the same but with more impact, more momentum, more confidence and less stress. And hopefully less teaching as I’m pretty burned out on that.

    Challenges: all the usual stuff that can get in the way if I let it. I tend not too and am disciplined about writing every work day. The major challenge is being tired – some days I’ve carved out time to write but am so tired my brain won’t work.

    Anti bugge power writing spray to be used on viral infections my kids constantly share with me and postgrad students who cannot turn data into a thesis without huge amounts of direction from me.

  22. A little, late, reply! Very grateful for the new writing group. (Not sure if my HTML will work below, apologies in advance if it doesn’t!)

    Where are you in your career?
    Nearing the end of my first contract in a T-T position. After second contract, am kinda expected to be applying for tenure/promotion, but no “tenure or out” system here.

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?
    I think it qualifies as “small liberal arts with ambitions.”

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?
    To be a vital part of interesting intellectual conversations! To have published several articles a year and be invited into collaborations, conference symposia, etc.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?
    Well… finishing projects, I think. Actually sending articles OUT for publication. Despite constantly collecting and analyzing data and applying for grants and so on, I have not sent out a first-author article for… um…. five years. That’s astounding. And it completely prevents me from being the big-picture person above. Oh, and children and their accompanying joys / guilts.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray?
    Either a) the belief that my perfectionism is valid, or b) the clock. I think maybe I just don’t have the time to do all the jobs I want to do as well as I want to do them.

  23. So excited to be joining this group as the summer group at amstr’s was a wonderful experience.

    Where are you in your career?
    I’m also a mid-career tenured professor. My training is in developmental psychology but I’ve worked in public health my entire career (and almost my entire life).

    What sort of institution(s) do you work or study for?
    I’m at a large state university that can’t decide which is more important: research or teaching. I love both.

    What’s your big picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?
    I am currently deciding if I want to go for full or not. The benefits vs the effort are not really clear to me. For myself I have many research projects I want to pursue. Writing books doesn’t really count in my field (it’s all about the articles and grants) but I have book-length ideas and now that I have tenure I don’t really care what counts. I know I have no desire to write any more NIH grants. I’ve done that for too many years already.

    What challenges do you face for making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?
    I have always been able to find time to write but I also always have more to write than I have time for. Currently my biggest challenge to time is that my son has moved back into our home (renesting the empty nest) and I enjoy spending time with him. My writerly identity has expanded to include a very different type of writing. I have moved away from quantitative studies to focus on qualitative research and more scholarly and theoretical pursuits. This has forced me to rethink how I write and how to get my writing published.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer spray?
    Thanks but I think I’ll take a pass. I’m feeling like I need to go (slightly) in the opposite direction. Sometimes less is more. Both my writing and my life would probably benefit if I did a little less.

  24. I’m an associate professor at a large regional public university in the US that aims to become research-intensive. I have a 3-3 teaching load.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?

    I want to write a book and apply for full professor. I got tenure 7 years ago, but do not have the publications (articles and/or book) that I need in order to apply for promotion.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?

    Procrastination, difficulty asking for help in other areas of my life, insecurity about whether I even have a writerly identity.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray?

    Primarily, my internal self-critic. Then, the internet, especially online KenKen, Sudoku, and crosswords.

  25. hi all!

    Where are you in your career?
    This will be my first term on TT as a physical scientist. I have yet to finish and defend my thesis, so that will be a huge part of my fall work.

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?
    Small regional university in lovely area quite far from everything else. Mostly undergraduate, with potential for graduate student sharing with other institutions.

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?
    Definitely tenure and Associate Prof in 5/6 years. And a fundable research programme in a field related to but different to my current (thesis-related) work.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?
    The two courses I teach this term, being new at my university, new in town, thesis writing and concurrent journal submissions are the big ones. There’s also the fun stuff like conferences and field trips and collaboration which sometimes suck up more time than they are supposed to, precisely because they are fun…

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray?
    The voice/attitude that says “oh, you only have 20 minutes, you can’t do any worthwhile writing so you might as well…do marking/lit review/journal trawling/class admin/tea/ aka anything other than write…
    And maybe the part of journal websites that keep suggesting related articles and you go find them and they are fascinating then you find more and by the time you realize you’re wasting time you have spent two hours downloading articles on everything other than what you were originally looking for!

  26. Hello, all,

    Thank you for hosting, Dame, and nice to see you, everyone!

    I currently work for a small public college of technology and teach general history to young- really young students.

    I hope to publish a book in a few years based on my thesis, though I know it needs comprehensive revision, since I have left it for several years. Now I feel like to face my old thesis, and it is becoming important to me to get a book published- I am getting older and have to think about my job situation. This writing group is going to be the first step.

  27. Late on the bandwagon, but: I’m a tenured professor who just realized that she has to file for promotion in two years and hasn’t published a damn thing on her new project yet. Lots of conference papers and notes; no real output. Time to change that.

    Thanks for hosting! I know from experience that you’re making a real time sacrifice here, so I’m so pleased you’re taking it on.

  28. OK, following Notorious’ blog, I need this group. So I’m in.
    While I think of myself as mid-career, I’m a senior faculty member in history at a public R-1 that is even more financially challenged than most.

    My goal over the next 5-10 years is to finish the book I’m working on now — completing a project belonging to my (deceased) husband, and get moving on a fun project that may — or may not — be my last biggie. I expect to retire in 12-15 years.

    The biggest challenge I have is a crazy level of university service, largely brought upon myself, but also caused by the shortage of senior faculty here. This will be my last year with such a crazy level of service, and some of it is very exciting. I complain more because I’m overwhelmed than because I hate it — I actually like the way some service is both structured and allows me to learn new things. But I lack staff support for some of it, so that can be a real time suck. (i.e. I am running a conference this fall, two weeks before the national conference for which I am program chair takes place. Not good planning.) And I *also* enjoy research and writing.

    I want to apply the bug spray to all the other things that I let take priority over my writing.

  29. Many thanks for hosting! I was thrilled to find this and hope that I can participate. I’m a post-doctoral researcher at a university that has reasonably good support for such things (in the Netherlands). I have the incredible luxury of time to write (after a series of adjunct positions, I appreciate this!), but need some help focussing.

    Since my current gig is temporary, my immediate goal is to find something a bit more stable. As far as writing, I have a book-length project that I’m hoping to make progress on (my goal for the group is finishing the fifth and final chapter). My challenges include time management, job-hunting and general organisation.

    I’m also working on a grant proposal for the Dutch-equivalent of the NIH and would love to bug spray the people who write the incomprehensible guidelines for such things.

  30. Where are you in your career?
    I have just finished a three year postdoctoral fellowship, and now have some short term employment, but would love to find long term employment in research/academia. This is a tough job market, and I need to publish papers so I can lift my employment profile from ‘looks good’ to someone they can’t go past.
    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?
    University
    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?
    My big picture is to be engaged fulltime in a permanent position doing research/mentoring or academia. Also to make a real contribution to my field, which is about publishing my work, but also producing work that I feel can make a difference.

    I have three papers I want to focus on during the writing group:
    1) Paper X is essentially drafted, but needs redrawing of two graphs, tweaking of the results section, and general rewriting. And, it needs to be submitted without perfectionist mucking around, which I find difficult
    2) Paper Y, which needs further analysis of the data, drawing of 3 graphs, writing of Methods and Results sections, and general rewriting. I also want to submit this during the writing group period.
    3) Paper Z, a collaborative paper which on my part involves the analysis of one dataset, and the writing of these results (probably two paragraphs max.). It should be fairly straightforward, but because I am not totally confident about how to do this, it will take more time than usual.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?
    I love writing and thinking, but my challenges are the discipline of tackling tasks that are important as opposed to urgent; and not getting distracted by other pieces of work that I am not prioritising and that will take longer to complete. I want to complete some stuff! I am curious about almost everything, and have to focus so I can get my work completed and published. I also have to attend to student needs and other tasks that can suck up a lot of time if I am not careful. This semester, I have about 20 hours a week to work on my research, theoretically.

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray?
    To the voices of despair that tell me to give up and find another career.

  31. Hello! I happen to stumble onto this, and think this is just a fantastic idea and opportunity to light a fire under me!

    Where are you in your career?
    I am just starting the 3rd year of my PhD, and have taken the big step of changing direction, topics, and committee members. While it’s been hard- it’s also been the best few months of my PhD thus far!

    What sort of institution(s) do you work for or study at?
    I study and work at University in Atlantic Canada

    What’s your big-picture goal, not just for this iteration of the writing group but for 5 or 10 years out?
    Ideally, I would love to land a TT job where I could teach and expand on my dissertation research. However, I am also open to opportunities in non-academic sectors.

    For this writing group, I would like to focus on getting a draft together for a paper I have been wanting to put together for awhile. It will be my first “out on my own” project, and am looking forward to getting the experience of planning and completing writing personal writing goals.

    What challenges do you face in making time for (or expanding!) your writerly identity?
    Up until recently I would put MY writing on the back burner, and complete writing for outside projects, RA positions, volunteer/collaborative work before my own. I have cut back and learned to say ‘no’, and so now it is actually sitting down and spending time on my own work- which is new!

    To whom or to what would you most like to apply some of Dame Eleanor’s Anti-Bugge Power-Writer Spray?
    The internet!!! It can suck you in, and make you lose time on silly websites and useless information!

  32. Greetings! Is this where we list our goals and do the first check-in?

    I am a postdoc in English at a public MA-level university, that’s pretty much open enrollment. I am back on the job market (yet again) looking for a permanent position. As part of that, my goals for this writing group (besides getting out a crapload of job apps) are to revise my dissertation into a book and send it out. Since that’s proving very slow and I have lots of teaching and stuff on top of it, I’m saying my goal is to completely revise and beautify chapter 3. (I am sick of chapter 2 and not looking at it.) That means I need to take the weekend to finish off the last loose ends on chapter 1 first.

    I think my biggest problems are my sense of impatience (clearly if I work on my revisions for a day, they should be done already, right?) and my couch. Seriously, it induces naps when I can least afford it. I might need to use the Bug-Spray on it.

  33. Hello, everyone! I’m looking forward to being a part of this community this fall. And Dame Eleanor, many thanks to you for hosting this group.

    I left higher ed. post-tenure and have been teaching at a private girls’ high school (which on my blog I call FGS, for Fabulous Girls’ School) for five years now. For the first few years after I left academia, I pushed myself to keep writing academic work in the summers, but that impulse died away, for which I’m mostly grateful. I wrote and published a pedagogical article a year or so ago, but otherwise I’ve been adrift, a writer in search of a project that I knew I didn’t want to be straight-up academic but wasn’t sure what I did want it to be.

    Now, however, I have a project — I’m writing an institutional history of FGS! — and so I’m facing a couple of challenges: I have a co-author, which is a new experience for me; this is a new genre for me, which is exciting but also slightly daunting; and I have to figure out how to create a research/writing habit during the school year when I’m teaching four courses and doing all of the other things that HS teachers do.

  34. Greetings everyone! I am quite excited to be a part of this group since I missed joining the one over at Notorious PhD last semester. I am currently ABD and will defend before the end of the semester. This is my second career, having gone back to school to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a teacher. (Sometimes I wonder about my sanity). In the last couple weeks, I also started a three-year teaching position at a smallish state school. I have a 4/4, but luckily it is only one prep. Still, I find myself numb by the end of the week. I consider myself very blessed to have landed not only this position, but also a department that is welcoming to new faculty. Who knew it would be such a transition from being a graduate student with quite a bit of teaching experience to full-fledged faculty member?

    My big goal is to find a tenured position and expand my dissertation into a book. There are also a few articles that I want to write–topics that have popped up over the years. I think that I might also like to buy a couch once I get settled somewhere. And if I get really ambitious, I might try to buy a small house before I die.

    My challenges to writing? Beyond my normal procrastination and insecurity about expressing my ideas? The biggest challenge is time. I am prepping a class that is new not only to me, but also to the university, so that takes up quite a bit of time. Plus I am just teaching a lot.

    I would like to apply bug spray to my committee members who continually say to me that I will not finish. According to them, they have seen the writing on the wall. grrr.

    On a positive note though, Killer (not her real name), my crazy calico cat, is starting to settle into her new home (unfortunately, a basement apartment with only one window).

Comments are now closed.