Last week we had some really helpful discussion in the comments about managing energy levels and figuring out how to use time usefully.  Let’s try a fun topic this week, also picking up on a brief thread in last week’s comments: what are your favorite office supplies, and how do you use them?

Four paragraphs (or extra commentary if you want), check in by 6:00 p.m. U. S. Central Time on Sunday.  See you in the comments!

Alloverthemap: no check-in
Amstr: 1) keep reading for Ch. 2, 2) freewrite 2x20min., 3) make a first revision pass on Ch. 3, 4) resubmit revised abstract to writing partner.
Another Postdoc: switch from the topic that was the “one big thing” (book proposal) to an essay; write out the data description section of this paper.
Bavardess: Complete one thematic chunk (H1 and H2) of the historiography section; refine definition of terms ; draft up a two-page skeleton with the main sections and related key texts for supervisors.
Cly: send the article away, write an outline for the chapter and make progress on ANOTHER job application. At least I will try to accomplish something from that list…
Comrade PhysioProf: Checked in (type up Specific Goals?).
Contingent Cassandra: Figure out what I can realistically do on the P project before mid-Oct. conference; move that forward and/or get back to J article-in-progress. Catch up on P project correspondence.
Daisy: no check-in
DEH: continue the attempt to have 2 hours a day for reading/writing/ research. Do something each day to Move Forward. Revise fellowship application and send it to recommenders.
Dr Virago: give *some* attention to the invited article and the review essay.
EAM: outline the article.
Emmawriting: MC5 online and collecting data; one grant proposal draft fully done, including data analysis for pilot data; one service thing.
Erinys: Build a framework. Strip the diss of anything relevant. Put it in the article in some sort of order.  Work one hour/day on the article.
GEW: 15 min per day, six days for a total of 1.5 hours. (Possible tasks: Work on intro and methods for chapter five, type quotations from primary source, finish chapter I started reading.)
Highlyeccentric: re-arrange the content according to the colour code, and give it some semblance of argument or at least headings.
humming42: Figure out chapter order.
JaneB:  1) have a complete ‘final draft’ version of the multi-author paper and circulate it to the rest of the team (goal a), 2) review the status and make a work-plan for the few-author paper (goal b), 3) write the first draft of an administative duty report which is due 1st October, 4) write on at least 5 days.
J Liedl: Complete chapter and do one round of revisions so it can go to series editor.
jmmcswee: (1) Solidify comprehensive topic with a concrete outline. (2) Convert all my book notes into written work. (3) Read 5 articles (with written notes) for my paper. (4) Say ‘no’ more often to tasks that I am not responsible for.
John Spence: Excused absence; will report next week.
Kirstin: write for at least 15 minutes every day this week.
Kiwimedievalist: Actually work on something academic – re-writing an introduction to a set of collected essays. Try and get this done on Tues and Thurs, particularly.
Kiwi2: draw the damn graphs.  I also have some revisions to do on a paper, but that is secondary to the graphs.
Kris: collect up all necessary materials and readings for a more powerful methodology discussion; read at least two sources for the discussion.
meansomething: 1) another 1,000 words on lyric essay; 2) 5 20-minute sessions on poem sequence.
Luolin88: 1/2 hour Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with an emphasis on Sucking Less and moving the article forward at least a bit.
Matilda: continue to read the first part of the material/ a book relevant to the topic of my presentation in November
metheist: Change tactic. Write my introduction because I am going to present it to a seminar here.
Notorious, Ph.D.: write 200 words a day.
nwgirl: Work on AB section and combine with J section.
Pika: finish the 0.5 section of part 1 that I didn’t manage yet. Start working on part 2 (which is really the main thing) and finish half of it.
Pilgrim/Heretic:  focus back on writing, stick to my morning schedule, and really get 2,000 words down.
Premodern: 3 2-hour blocks of reading and writing; 1500 words.
Professorsusan:  I have two full days for writing, and I want to poke around and figure out my structure/focus. It will mean lots of dipping in and out. I will also try to do the cutting editing stuff at night.
Rented Life: Finish book T, start book D. Write 2 times (minimum) this week–no time limit.
Salimata: decide on a paper by actually reading the two candidates: print them out and take with me on train! also, read/do Argument chapter from Belcher, also on train. 15 minutes a day.
Sapience: revise the dissertation abstract, order the rest of the books and articles I need for the review article I’m supposed to write.
Sisyphus: brainstorm a way to fix my schedule. Then I’ll try the same goal list as last week.
Sophylou: read and note one article. Start (for the umpteenth time) difficult book in field. And skim through at least two of the four of the novels the article is about and note every time the heroine makes a purchase.
tracynicholrose:  Finish edits on P&P paper and send to co-authors; continue work on TS intro; reread LM paper.
Trapped in Canadia: write six lectures and mark fifty primary source analyses to mark.
Undine: 1500 words on the chapter and begin work on a conference paper.
WhatNow?: Five hours of work; plus, actually start writing.
Widgeon: Two full research/writing days. Complete revisions for 9/25 talk. Read and take notes on sources.
Z: The same concept as ever: seven total research blocks; can fall back to six; blocks are supposed to be 2.5 hours long each but can be shorter, even much shorter; the point is continuity and not being distracted, no matter what.

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133 thoughts on “Sept-Dec 2012 writing group, week 4 check-in

  1. Last week’s goal: revise the dissertation abstract, order the rest of the books and articles I need for the review article I’m supposed to write.

    Achieved: I revised the dissertation abstract. I did not order the books or articles. I did write 700 words of my other major writing project.

    Analysis: The dissertation abstract is done, I think; I just need to get final approval from my advisor that it is ready to go out with job applications, and I think I’m set on that front. I did not order the books/articles for the review article, because I’ve realized my brain just isn’t in the right space for this yet, but it is in the right space to start working on the article idea I’ve had in the back of my head since May. I read about 5 articles and wrote 700 words, and it didn’t feel like pulling teeth the way doing anything related to the review article has been for the last three weeks.

    Next week’s goal: write a rough draft of the 10-15 minute presentation I have to give for my defense, try to get at least another 700 words done on the article.

    1. Productive procrastination is where it’s at! Not wanting to work on one thing and procrastinating on it by working on something else is a fabulous way to make progress.

    2. Your productive procrastination is inspiring, and your comment about (not) pulling teeth reminds me not to fall into thinking that all pending projects will present the same obstacles as the current troublesome one.

      1. yeah, that’s the hard part, isn’t it! It can be hard to convince yourself that it isn’t the entire project of being an academic that is hard all the time, but just the particular piece of quagmire you’re stuck in. (That may be a lie, of course, but it’s a useful one!)

    3. For what it’s worth, I think writing review articles is the hardest thing in the world, and I’ll never again willingly take one on. So I’m not surprised that you feel it’s like pulling teeth.

  2. Oh goodness! Why does time move so quickly when one is trying to meet a deadline?

    That having been said, this was a semi-productive week. I managed to re-read all of my earlier chapters (yay!) and write an overview of the volume as a whole. The downside of this was that my article was (again) neglected and I must (once again) confess that my goals have not been met. Bother.

    I will be fairly useless over the next week as far as writing is concerned. I have to finish a grant application and try to extract my teaching dossier from a finicky external hard drive. Other than that, the job app is close to done. I fear I may have to start the teaching dossier from scratch though.

    Bother.

    1. You moved the project forward. It’s okay to have big goals that you don’t always meet (like mine of two hours a day, which I think should be honored as a good and reasonable goal, even though life right now is getting in the way), as long as you don’t beat yourself up for not meeting them. You could try setting minimum goals and more ideal goals, if you like.

      1. That is a very good idea! I have been beating myself up for getting nothing finished these days. One someone suggested making lists of three essential things to finish each day. I might try that again. Many thanks.

  3. Favorite office supply? Right now, it’s a mechanical pencil. Since I depend on library books right now, I use it to *lightly* take notes in the margins. And yes, I’m a conscientious eraser of my notes, I promise you.

    On to the report proper:

    Last week’s goal: Write 200 words every morning

    Did I accomplish it?: Hard to say. I know that sounds weird, but Monday’s writing immediately got lost in a backup-related disaster; Tuesday’s writing ended up being stuff that I had to discard the next day; Today’s writing came from me finding some stuff that I had forgotten I’d written and pasting it in. All told, I probably got-and-kept 900 words, which is just short of 200 words a day for five days… but I wrote a hell of a lot more than that. So I’m gonna say “Mission Accomplished.”

    Analysis: In spite of the various SNAFUs, the daily words goal worked well for me. It’s not going to next week, just because of the stage the project is at, but I think I’ll come back to it again in the future.

    Next week’s goal: work at least 90 minutes every day (preferably mornings), in which I a) finish integrating the “found” material with the more recent writing; b) do markup and figure out where I need to make changes; c) skim and take notes on 2 books that just came in.

    1. I reckon if we all counted words actually written, versus words actually kept, we would be swimming in words. Writing and discarding for me is an essential part of the effort of writing. I think definitely mission accomplished.

      1. Yes, discarding can be good! I have a weekly goal of 2,000 words, because mostly I need to come up with a shitty-first-draft of the whole book. But this week I let myself fudge a little, because I did some good editing that resulted in the loss of a bunch of words – so I decided that “words edited or removed” could count towards my “words written” goal.

    2. Word counts don’t usually work as a goal for me for precisely this reason: I’m a prolific producer of rough, frequently somewhat redundant, text, and cutting is usually the hard part. Whatever the word count it certainly sounds like you’re making good progress

      1. I agree, word counts can be counter-productive. I need to write a LOT to work out where I am, and I also regularly need to discard everything I’ve written on an article and start over in a new document, when it’s gotten all tangled up, and a fresh assault is easier than unpicking the mess (I do this with my knitting too…). So product goals are best for me…

      2. My process sounds a lot like JaneB, but I love wordcount goals in the re-drafting stage, because so much is cutting and pasting that the word count often increases rather quickly.

  4. Last goal: 1 side of note-making on the introduction to the short edition, and turn a page of transcription into a page of a ‘first edit’.

    Accomplished: Achieved this in week 2 when I couldn’t check in; and this week I also managed to make notes on the text against a very likely source, which is a start at thinking how the author might have pulled this text together.

    Next week’s goal: another page of transcription into a ‘first edit’; check out one other possible source to rule it in or out; working on an index for my book (20 pages of book).

    Commentary: The goal-setting and accountability to the group has definitely helped so far in keeping my work on this going so far – so thank you! This week is a more ambitious target, especially adding in the indexing – let’s see how it goes. If anyone has tips on indexing they’d be very welcome!

    Office supplies: I do lots of note-taking on my commute to and from work on the train so loose paper in a plastic wallet and biros (and a large rucksack) are the main pieces of equipment. I have thought it would be better if I could be typing or keying in text on a phone or tablet or something similar (to save re-typing later) but I’m not aware of anything ideal so I have stayed with my low-tech approach!

  5. Last week’s goal: Two goals: First, to draw the graphs for Paper X, and to work on the revisions on my most hated paper.
    Accomplished: Paper X: the damn graphs got done! Admittedly, on Saturday morning our time, but I think we should take that as a win for the writing group! As well, I incorporated my co-author’s analysis (contributed in week 1) into Paper X, and rewrote the results. And managed to complete all my goals for the revision of my most hated paper, that popped up suddenly during the week.
    Next goal: Final rewrite of Paper X before sending to a senior co-author this week. This is something I can end up delaying for no good reason except that I have perfectionist horror tendencies. Second, to complete a final batch of lab work (2 days) which will complete the “story” I have for Paper Y. And, to SUBMIT the revisions for my most hated paper.
    Commentary: I was pretty determined this week. Also, because I worked so hard last week to clear things off my desk , that gave me a little breathing space this week. I worked on revising Paper X on Tuesday morning, and found it exciting. Thrilling, even. I love being immersed in a piece of research I believe in. Then I started the hideous revisions on my most hated paper in the afternoon, which were more palatable because of my thrilling morning. So, definitely a sense of accomplishment.

    1. Never underestimate the importance of clearing the desk! I’ve got a couple of desk-clearing things that I’m gonna get to this weekend. I haven’t included them in my goals, but they’re there….

      1. I agree — desk clearing can be energizing. I had four major deadlines this month and as of this week three are off my desk. I feel like I can breathe, again.

      2. I know I need to do a major cleaning, as the disorder that surrounds me in every corner of my house is a huge distraction. I’m not sure when I’ll get to it, but thank you for reminding me of the importance of an orderly world.

  6. Oh, and office supplies: I keep tins of lovely tea in my office! Usually at least three varieties. Drinking tea while writing and contemplating is one of my favourite activities, and the department’s tea is so hideous it is only (marginally) useful for keeping awake.

    1. Good tea makes a world of difference! I only discovered in the last year or so what it was that I truly liked in teas, though I knew Bell etc were NOT tea.

      (Off to do some writing now, so I have something to report be the end of the day.)

      1. I completely forgot to mention office supplies. I would have said mechanical pencils, but now I’m going with ‘kettle’ 😉

  7. Aim: collect methodology materials and read two of them.

    Accomplished? All identified but I haven’t gone into our annoying inter-Library loan system to order some sources. I read a couple of sources, too.

    Commentary: I’m going to shift my focus off this paper because this week I came across a call for papers for a special issue, perfect for a paper I’ve been working on. The deadline for submission is the end of
    October. I still plan to have the current paper done by the end of the writing group. Also jet lag, blurgh.

    Next goal: read up on relational autonomy and write notes.

    1. Oops, office supplies. Reams of plain white paper, which keep my daughters happily engaged in craft when I need to catch up on some work at home. I also love whiteboard markers beyond the boring traditional green-red-blue-black options.

      1. Working on a paper for a special issue sounds great, especially if you feel it is a good fit for your work. That can be exciting in itself.

        My kids also fantastic whiteboard pictures I leave up- one did a welcome sign on the whiteboard outside my door, with beautiful Pacific flowers, that I loved for its multicultural flavour.

  8. Last week’s goal: focus on writing, stick to the morning schedule, and get at least 2,000 words down.

    Achieved: I DID IT!! I was so excited to be close to my goal – this morning when it was time to stop and go to my yoga class, I had only 75 words to go, and I walked across campus thinking “75 words, only 75 words, I can’t wait to get back to my office and write 75 words!”

    Analysis: this is the first time on this project I’ve been that enthusiastic about having the chance to write. And I always knew it was true that it gets easier the more you do it, but it was one thing to know it, and something else entirely to finally get around to DOING it. Now more and more ideas are taking shape, and I have several sections to do next that I’m really looking forward to. (And all the more reason to write this down, because for sure by Monday I’ll have forgotten that I was looking forward to them.)

    Next week’s goal: more of the same. Morning writing, 2,000 words for the week.

      1. Thanks, everybody! I kind of want to print out these responses and post them on my desk as motivation for next week, because I will be remarkably quick to forget a) that this is possible and b) that it feels great.

  9. Project Goal: Draft Chapter Five of the Dissertation

    Last Week’s Goal: 15 min per day, six days for a total of 1.5 hours. (Possible tasks: Work on intro and methods for chapter five, type quotations from primary source, finish chapter I started reading.)

    Achieved: Yes! I did 15 minutes per day, even when I was just sleepily reading a book about historical context. I still made sure I did something, and, in fact, writing was a fair chunk of that “something.”

    Analysis: I often did my 15 minutes the last thing at night, which isn’t really all that productive if I read a fairly unimportant text that is comprehensible even when I’m sleepy, but at least it stimulates my brain to think about the project. However, on a couple of the days, I wrote. And when I’d write, I usually would go beyond 15 minutes to 30 or 40, which was great.

    Next week: Same. 15 min per day, six days for a total of 1.5 hours. (Possible tasks: work on primary source explication in chapter five, review important quotations from from primary or secondary sources and type them into document.)

    Office supplies: I’m not sure if these count as office supplies, but I love my iPad and my bluetooth keyboard with the origami keyboard case that protects the keyboard and folds out into a stand for the iPad. I also like my big fake-Moleskin notebook, my ball point pens in various colors, and a couple of good gel pens (which I LOVE for grading, esp., but which are also good for making notes on hard copies of drafts). Oh, and post it notes, of course!

    1. I’m impressed by how well you’re making the 15-minute increments work. I managed a few productive 1-hour sessions at the end of the summer (and probably need to go back to aiming for that when I get back to the same article-in-progress), but I find it hard to envision 15-minute ones. But perhaps I should follow your example and try.

  10. Last week’s goal: Work on AB section and combine with J section.

    Accomplished: Enough work to realize that combining the two sections was the right choice.

    Next week’s goal: Revise the newly combined AB/J section, smooth out the transitions, and skim related library book that just came in. To do this, I need to work at least 1 hour/day on teaching days and 3 hours/day on non-teaching days.

    Analysis: I accomplished most of this week’s work in just the past two days. Some desk clearing earlier in the week came me much needed momentum.

    Office supplies: Pencils, definitely pencils. I collect pencils (cheap souvenir!) but that collection remains un-sharpened. I use Mirado Black Warrior pencils. I also have a penchant for colored pens — Pentel RSVP.

    1. It looks like a few of us have had a bit of desk clearing to get pace or momentum this week! Its such a good reminder of the benefits.And its so much fun being able to concentrate without clouds of unfinished business hanging overhead.

    2. I tend to keep pencil-souvenirs when I receive one I like, too. I do sometimes sharpen them, but never near the point of losing the design (if I ever share a household with someone again, I suspect I’m going to have trouble explaining why some pencils in the cup are not to be used, but are there purely for the pleasant associations).

  11. Ay, just typed my whole comment and then killed it by mistake, progress is *good* this week about to do 5th of 6-7 blocks of research time and will do 6th over weekend. Hitting goals, doing better than expected, I am kind of impressed. I am actually very impressed.

    Next week: place research time in morning rather than evening, or in addition to evening, so that a different kind of project planning can take place. Try working on new things in morning and old in evening, as in book in morning and fiction in evening. See about finding a place to work on fiction (not house or office).

    Commentary: — actually *very* impressed with what just putting in time and letting your mind wander will do, my project design is starting to shape up and I did not assign myself that and would not have given myself such an early deadline to start, it just turned out this way.

    Office supplies: Those attractive European style colorful whimsical plastic folders, held together by elastic bands.

    1. I’m becoming increasingly fond of the plastic envelopes that look something like a manila interoffice, except clear (or at least translucent) with an elastic “string” to close. Perhaps they’re a close relative?

  12. Last week’s goals: 1) keep reading for Ch. 2, 2) freewrite 2x20min., 3) make a first revision pass on Ch. 3, 4) resubmit revised abstract to writing partner.

    Accomplished 1) yes, 2) freewrote 2x; 3) got started 4) yes, also submitted new intro to advisor.

    Goals for next week: Drafting week! 1) draft 6000-10,000 words of chapter, 2) read as necessary, 3) freewrite 3×20 min. (or as often as I’m stuck), 4) finish Ch. 3 revision pass (by Mon.)

    Commentary: It was an up and down week (more about that at writingaccount.wordpress.com), but I finally got into a good pace, the pace that I’ll need to keep up for the next few months. I finally figured out that I’m going to neglect household duties in more significant ways than usual this fall. I’m going to have to work when my kids are home from school sometimes. I’m going to have to use spare moments to read and other spare moments to write. And I’m going to have to use my work time in a focused way.

    DEH’s advice on my upcoming writing retreat (mid-October) to WORK FIRST, even before unpacking, came in handy this week. I read a chapter of a biography I’m working my way through before I showered each day. Making that bit of progress first thing set me up to accomplish a lot for the rest of the day. Thanks, DEH!

    I’m trying to enter this drafting week with confidence. Much of the drafting can include cutting and pasting from earlier bad drafts–all the evidence is there, I just need to reframe it.

    Office supplies: Page Marker Post-It notes. I’ve been reading lots of library books lately, so I tend to attach them to sentences and write a brief topic note on the post-it. Then I can skim through to take notes later. I also try to use the star system (I think Belcher talks about it), where I can mark any interesting idea, but I mark one, two, or three stars alongside based on its relevance (one is generally interesting, two is compelling and relevant, three is probably something I’ll use in my work), and then I just type up the three star comments.

    I also like nice pencils, ones that are easy to sharpen and to keep sharp (I’m favoring Ticonderoga #2 EnviroStiks at the moment).

    1. You had an awesomely productive week! I have a soft spot for the Page Marker notes too, and can never decide whether I want to leave them in my books for future revisiting or remove them after I make use of what I’ve marked.

    2. Amstr, where did you post about the writing retreat? I’ve been thinking about doing something like that myself, but I’ve never done it before, so I’d love to hear how you’re organizing it.

  13. Last week’s goals: Five hours of work; plus, actually start writing.

    Accomplished: Made it on the hours of work, but didn’t actually start writing; still in note-taking mode.

    Next week’s goals: 1) finish working through the primary sources, a finish line that is within sight; 2) finish reading a secondary source book that I started last week; and 3) 4 sessions of free-writing, 15 minutes each.

    Commentary: The research is going well, although it wipes me out. I like my primary source material a lot, but I’m in hyper-vigilant mode not to miss anything as I read through it, and after an hour or so I’m exhausted. But the end is in sight on primary source material for this chapter, so my plan is to finish that this week, and then I’m hoping that the writing itself will feel a little lighter; not that writing is easy work, of course, but there’s a creativity to it that sometimes makes it more fun, and, at least at the shitty first draft stage, it’s easier for me to work in smaller bits of time. My sense of this chapter’s structure-to-be is still pretty vague, so my plan this week is to begin writing through four sessions of brief free-writing, starting to put ideas together and just seeing what happens with no particular worries yet about where I’m going.

    Office supplies: At the moment, I’m enjoying Post-It note flags. I’m just starting some secondary source reading, checked out of the library, and I flag the parts that I want to type up notes on. So I went out and got a brand-new set of the little flags in bright colors, which are making me happy.

    1. WN, I like the flags, too, but not quite as much as the notes. I have a grad student who was addicted to the flags but he would put them inside a book, right on the page. That might have worked for him but he forgot to pull them all out when he returned my books. Now I’m finding flags EVERYWHERE inside my books. Ugh.

  14. Last week’s goal: 1500 words on chapter and start on conference paper.
    Accomplished: 1419 words on chapter and conference paper about 2/3 done.

    Next week’s goal: 1500 words on chapter; finish conference paper and begin a reviewing project.

    Comment: This week, I got up every morning and, spurred on by Flavia’s post about her idea notebook, wrote in a paper notebook every morning for 30-60 minutes before going on to work on other things. And this group is helping: I found myself saying that I had to get to 1500 words (or almost) so that I could post it here. You all are inspiring!

    Office supplies: Right now it’s the old medium-size Moleskine notebook, with graph paper for some odd reason, that I’ve been using to write in every morning. For pens–I write with fountain pens, and I filled them all with purple ink this week.

    1. How are you finding the writing-by-hand? I’ve been wondering if that’s the way to go as I start free-writing on my chapter this week.

      Congratulations on such a productive week!

      1. I sometimes find this is a fabulous way to begin a new chapter or article. My big problem is being able to read my own writing…

  15. Last Week Goals: Two full research/writing days. Complete revisions for 9/25 talk. Read and take notes on sources.

    Accomplished: I did work on those days and revised my talk. But my forward progress was minimal, which left me discouraged.

    Next Week Goals: Finish revisions on conference paper. Start organizing files and notes to prepare for work on the chapter.

    Commentary: This upcoming week will be busy (giving that talk and many meetings), so if I can send off the conference paper by week’s end I will feel satisfied. And I realized this week that I have multiple files (both electronic and real) that duplicate each other, so I clearly need to work on organization.

    Office Supplies: Reading about everyone’s great tools is inspiring! Clearly I need to buy more post-its. Not quite an office supply but I’ve been using the “Freedom” program that bars me from the internet and e-mail for a set time. This does seem to help me focus, although I’m mildly embarrassed that I need to use it.

    1. The fact that you’re disciplining yourself to use the “Freedom” program is a sign of your obvious self-restraint and focus — no need to be embarrassed!

  16. last goal: Figure out chapter order.

    accomplished: Yes, I think. I reorganized the chapter file and made a few notes.

    next goal/commentary: I’ll be at a conference this coming week, so will check in October 5-6. I hope to have the editing and revising for chapter 2 done by then, along with marking the sections that require new research and writing. After looking at what’s there, I’m excited about digging into it.

    favorite office supply: I have a great love for binder clips. I haven’t found an office product with such broad application in the household. In terms of writing, research, and teaching, binder clips mark order, beginnings, and endings. It’s pretty goofy. I also have a dream office product, which is a pen scanner, so I can scan lines from a book and save them, rather than retyping everything I might want to cite later.

    1. Binder clips are great — they hold together open produce bags, organize the rat’s nest of power cords under my desk, and have even been pressed into service to hang a Christmas wreath on my door.

  17. Last week: finish the 0.5 section of part 1 that I didn’t manage yet. Start working on part 2 (which is really the main thing) and finish half of it.

    Achieved: shitty first draft for about half of part 2. Finally pulled together all new papers needed for full lit review for part 2. Finalised budget and staffing and finished time planning, so I know I will have three parallel research streams, each divided into several inter-linked work packages. Made a chart with time planning, to be included in part 2 (mandatory).

    Analysis: this was a looong week with many distractions, but I managed to proceed more or less according to plan. Also thanks to this group: I caught myself a few times when I wanted to say yes to some unexpected distraction and said no, because I remembered that I have to report here at the end of the week. So this is working, which is great!

    Next week: complete draft of part 2.

      1. I carry a research notebook, too! When I started to use a research notebook, I thought I must use it in an organized-way, so I soon gave up. But when I re-start to use one, I decided I could write anything in it, like ‘write first, revise later’ way. My research notebook has become a great help to my research since then.

  18. last goal:
    MC5 online and collecting data; one grant proposal draft fully done, including data analysis for pilot data; one service thing.

    accomplished:
    MC5 will be online by Monday morning, almost there. Grant proposal: data analysis done, but draft will have to be drafted Monday. Service thing done.

    next goals:
    Start the morning NOT on email, but on one of my goals. See what happens if I do email at 11am.
    Examine LOI template carefully and draft ideas
    paper 1: Finish factor analysis writeup.
    paper 2: Plan/start short-article writing.
    Push other research forward

    commentary:
    I don’t have many real-desktop gadgets, but I do use lots of computer-top gadgets. The one I find most useful is RescueTime. This week, for example, I’ve been tracking my 4 “projects”- writing, research, service, grants– and trying to figure out why I was still in overwhelm mode. Some of that is process: I think I spent too much time on some fiddly, less-important data analysis aspects (deleting mysterious ghost participants who might have been major errors), though that’s also perhaps a matter of planning time for dealing with unexpected problems in data. (If every week I write “as usual, data analysis took longer than expected”… hmm.) But some of it is the hidden breaks and slow starts– RescueTime tracks what happens on your computer(s), whether you’re aware of it or not. E.g. yes, I did spend 10 hours on service this week and that was more than expected, but I spent the exact same amount of time on… nothing. Blogs, online shop browsing (5 hours specifically of those), other things that I didn’t count as being one of my 4 projects. Hence my first goal this week on starting out computer time with “real work!”

      1. Urgh, I meant this to go on the comment below. But I was heading up here to say thanks for the RescueTime recommendation. That sounds very useful!

  19. Hello, all,

    Goals: read the first part of the main material/ read a book relevant to my presentation in November

    Achieved: I’ve been reading still only the first part of the first part of the main material. I have not read the book yet.

    Commentary: I have been slower than I’d expected in reading materials, but I have found some inspiring points and took notes, searching for the related articles and so on, so it was natural that it took some time. I planned to re-read a book, the starting-point study of the topic I am working on, but I wasn’t able to. I read it when I started this topic, but I think it would be helpful to come back to it from time to time, especially when I fell somewhat my argument is stalling (is this appropriate word? I am not sure, ). I am going to set a writing goal again to reconstruct my writing habit, which is so easy to collapse.

    Next goal: continue to read the first part of the main material/ read the starting-point book/ write at least 15 minutes a day

    Office supply: Dame Eleanor, it is a lovely fun topic! I enjoy reading what other people like to have in their office.

    For me, like amstr and others, I like Post-its, various kinds of them. Also I always use 4 colour- with one pencil ball point pens. I have tons of them and scattered them in my bags or desk at office and at home, here and there, with Post-its. So, when I want to write down something, or underline what I am reading, these things are always at my hands. It looks so disorganized, numerous pens and Post-its around, I am afraid.

  20. Last Week’s Goal: Complete chapter draft & do one round of revisions

    Accomplished: EVERYTHING! *tosses confetti*

    Next Week’s Goal: Draft outline for October keynote; write 1000 words (apparently I’m going to have an hour or so to speak. Eek!)

    Favourite Office Supply? Post-It notes. My grad students were bemused in Friday’s seminar to see me whip out a folder that had letter-sized sheets covered in Post-Its. Those are the notes I’ve made over the years for the methods text they’re reading this month. I don’t write in books but I make liberal use of Post-It notes in my readings. Post-It notes with lines, Post-Its in many colours, Post-It flags? I have them all in my arsenal!

    1. Congratulations! And yes, post-its seem to be a major theme (I wrote my own reply before reading others’, but I’m another fan, and sometimes gather them on pieces of paper, in envelopes, and/or on the endpapers of books, too.

  21. Last week’s goal: 1) another 1,000 words on lyric essay; 2) 5 20-minute sessions on poem sequence.

    Accomplished: Yes!

    Next week’s goal: 1) 500 words; some necessary research; an hour of experimenting with the form of the lyric essay 2) 4 20-minute sessions on poem sequence.

    I now have 4,000 words on this lyric essay, and I think it might be time to slow down on cranking out the words and time to start exploring some different formal approaches, so I’m dividing my focus among cranking out some more words (since I’m in the middle of writing something), getting hold of some relevant materials, and experimenting with the form without worrying about word count. The poem sequence is coming along, but I think 4 sessions rather than 5 is a more realistic goal for this week.

    Dame Eleanor, I suggested you not comment on my goals last week as a way of not adding to the burden of commenting, which seems formidable! I’d love, though, to be included again in the “roll call” in your post with my other intrepid comrades.

    I wish everyone a great week!

    1. P.S. Binder clips. I like the correct sizes for the manuscript or sheaf or whatever it is I’m binding. I screened manuscripts for a book prize once and acquired an enormous quantity of black and multicolored ones after the mss. were recycled. Post-Its and Uni-Ball micro pens are tied for second place.

    2. Congrats on another impressive week! I’m so interested in this “lyric essay” and will look forward to hearing more about it (maybe on your blog?).

      And Yes! on the binder clips, although they tend to play a more crucial role in my managing piles of grading than they do for my own writing.

  22. Last week’s goal: write six lectures and mark fifty primary source analyses to mark

    Accomplished: marked one primary source analysis and wrote I don’t know how many lectures – enough to get me through the week and several parts of lectures for next week

    Analysis: I honestly don’t know where this week went. Classical India was a struggle for me to lecture about, despite the fact that I focused on Hinduism and I’m a religious historian. Sigh. I’m also moving in to WWI in another class and that is horrifying, to say the least. It’s going to be a long two days to get through the rest of the primary source analyses, but at least that’s all I need to focus on right now.

    Next week’s goal: review sources for conference paper, write a whopping 400 words for that paper, write two tests for my classes, and finish that annoying book review

    Office supplies? Again, DEH, you are reading my mind. I just reorganized my work office that I share with someone who is on leave. I went binder clip crazy. My friend, who understands my OCD ways, gave me clips that have words like “Crap” and “Caca” on them, plus some that have been bedazzled, so I love, love, love them. But, highlighters! I just used a highlighter for the first time in years yesterday and was so excited. I’ve been trying to go digital with everything, but I needed a paper copy of an article and it was far too thrilling to use a highlighter. Now that’s embarrassing! Post-it flags have become a necessity for reading. They help keep my notes short, too, whereas, without them I tend to go overboard typing up more than I could possibly need.

  23. Last Week’s goal: Figure out what I can realistically do on the P project before mid-Oct. conference; move that forward and/or get back to J article-in-progress. Catch up on P project correspondence.

    Accomplished: Well, if figuring out how very little time I realistically have to work on anything that isn’t grading and prep and some un-droppable (at least right now; I’m making plans to cut back, but they will take a while to come to fruition) church work counts as having partly met my goal, then I guess I partly met it. Realistically, I did nothing *other* than look at a calendar and figure out what can realistically go where.

    Analysis: I think this counts as the week when the semester really hit, in the form of lots of grading. Add in an all-day Friday mini-conference (I usually have Friday at home), and I’m perilously close to overload. Partly as a result, I’m still struggling with the phenomenon of staying up too late getting too little done. The good news is that the only thing I absolutely have to do professionally (other than teach) this semester, the conference presentation, is a simple one: a round-table contribution on already-completed work rather than a full-fledged paper on new work. That also means that I should actually be able to enjoy and get the most out of the conference. Oh, and there was another bit of good news: I was accepted to a DH-related class/workshop (not the MLA one; I still need to apply to that).

    I also have a family occasion next weekend that will take up some time (but should still allow me to check in). So, my goals for the coming week are going to be very, very modest:

    Goals for the coming week: Make progress on P project work, especially overdue correspondence, as possible; Do MLA DH workshop application; try to do a better job of juggling grading/prep, church work, and a better exercise/sleep schedule.

    Favorite office supply: post-its, especially of a size good for marking pages in books I’m citing, are essential. I’ve played with color-coded post-it flags, but can never stick with a single color coding system (other than the one I use to code obligations by type on my calendar) for long. Gel pens (plain old blue and black) are also necessities, as are pencils that will actually take sharpening and don’t lose their erasers immediately (and after they do, the push-on replacement erasers are handy). Finally, I keep 3×5 cards, preferably those lined like a notepad (crosswise rather than lengthwise) in stock, mostly for shopping lists, and as portable scrap-note-taking paper. More and more of my life seems to be recorded in pixels, but I still like hands-on supplies.

    1. Yep, modest goals are good. Even realizing/figuring out how much time one realistically has, counts for something, in my book.

  24. The cold I was suffering from morphed into a full-on chest infection, so I ended up in bed doing nothing for a couple of days.

    Last week’s goals:
    Proposal – Draft sections H1 & H2 of historiography section; skeleton proposal outline with description of each section and key secondary lit; refine definition of terms

    Achieved:
    Got the historiography stuff drafted (though it is not particularly elegant or sophisticated at this stage) and did a draft of the outline. Did not do much on definitions of tms, because I realised this was taking me deeper into the theoretical discussion and my brain just wasn’t up to it this week.

    This weeks’s goals:
    Proposal – Draft the rest of my historiography section; first draft of my theoretical framework, including definition of terms
    Article – complete footnotes/any additional citations for pp.1-5

    Discussion:
    Felt like another half-assed week where I didn’t get as much done as I wanted because of being sick/ addle-brained. I did get some more necessary reading done in the secondary lit – I can often cope okay with reading/ note-taking even when the more active thinking & writing tasks feel like too much.

    Favourite office supplies:
    I have to say, this week it’s been a big box of cold medication and my heated wheat bag (for aching joints). Also, while not strictly an office supply, the bottle of Ardbeg has also been a great, if occasional, comfort!

  25. I used to like using different brightly colored pens for marking up my drafts. The past few months, I haven’t been working as much with printed drafts or using the multiple colors of pens.

    Last Week’s Goal:
    1/2 hour Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with an emphasis on Sucking Less and moving the article forward at least a bit.

    Accomplished:
    15 mins Monday, 35 minutes Friday (OBE Wednesday)

    Analysis:
    It turns out that I had in fact left myself a downward slope to start on, once I finally sat down to work on the paper. I was part-way through making revisions based on notes I’d made on a printout at the end of the summer.

    My schedule, including sleeping, seems to be settling down, which helped.

    I finally got my new glasses, which is a mixed blessing. The old prescription was not working that well for me, so it’s good to have the new RX, but I moved from lined bifocals to progressive lenses, and I’m still getting used to them. For example, I’m pretty sure my laptop screen and keyboard are not really convex.

    Next Goal: 1/2 hour Monday and Friday

  26. Last week’s goals: Finish edits on P&P paper and send to co-authors; continue work on TS intro; reread LM paper.

    Accomplished: Have a full draft of TS paper; reread LM paper and worked on presentation that’s due next month; did not touch P&P paper.

    Analysis: It’s been hard for me to get back into the P&P paper even though it is the furthest along of all the papers. However I also had another migraine this week. It just left lifted this evening and hopefully I’ll have some breathing room this week.

    Next week’s goals: Follow-up memo on BE analysis; 1st draft of internal grant for next study; finish edits on P&P paper.

    Office supplies: My moleskin notebook. I write best on a computer but I need paper for To Do lists and research notes. I am lost without my To Do lists.

  27. Hokay! Despite a disrupted sort of week, with a late return to Sydney, finishing/laying aside one project (the article draft) and starting another (a TESOL course), I seem to be making progress and all that,

    Done this week: Finished the first presentable draft of said article, sent it off to a mentor for input. Set deadline to come back to it (mid-october). Also laid out all the deadlines / things to do for PhD and scholarship applications. And did the pre-course work for the TESOL thing.

    This week is the point where I really test my ability to work on three projects at once. To that end, in addition to coursework, I shall:
    – skeleton out my paper for ANZAMEMS & identify further research
    – do same for PhD proposals. eep.

  28. goals for last week; 1) have a complete ‘final draft’ version of the multi-author paper and circulate it to the rest of the team (goal a), 2) review the status and make a work-plan for the few-author paper (goal b), 3) write the first draft of an administative duty report which is due 1st October, 4) write on at least 5 days.

    what actually happened: I had a… mixed week, actually. I seem to remember Monday and Tuesday being fine, although I spent them all working on teaching stuff. Then it got progressively worse. What did I accomplish? 1) I put together the comments from everyone on the last draft of the multi-author paper and smoothed it out. Need to edit the appendix and finalise the figures before sending it out. About half done then… 2) untouched 3) hah. No. 4) one day.

    analysis: it was a crappy week. I don’t really know why, but… it was. And the new semester starts tomorrow so I’m stressed and anxious. Teaching prep, especially checking syllabi and populating the VLE, offers so many opportunities for productive procrastination, but they aren’t producing writing. I really need to stop having Grand Plans for any week – small easy goals which I can improve upon when things go well are much more realistic, even if I WANT to think I’m going to have a great week…

    goals for next week: 1) get the appendix and figures sorted, circulate the manuscript 2) review the status and make a work-plan for the few-author paper (goal b) 3) sort out travel plans for the paper I’m giving in October (eek! Haven’t started the data analysis yet!!!).

  29. Oh yeah, stationary (-ery? can’t spell). I love it ALL. LOTS OF IT!!! Many many much SHINEYS ALL MINE!!!!

    But my essentials remain plain or quadrille paper and a fountain pen (or other writing implement at a pinch, but a fountain pen really is better because it flows more). My secret addiction is notebooks, including those lovely ones pika mentioned above, but I find it very hard to actually use the nice ones – I mostly scribble notes in plain paper basic notebooks or the cheap school maths exercise books from WHSmiths and keep the nice notebooks in a drawer for gloating over, until I think of a worthy use for them.

    Speaking of which, I need to get going now so I can get to the shop before it shuts (Sunday trading laws) to get some decent quality quadrille paper and fountain pen cartridges, to copy out my maths homework ready for mailing to my tutor (I may be mad, but I am continuing with being a distance-learning student as well as all the hassles of academia… when making a fair copy of pages of algebra is the most relaxing thing in your day, perhaps ‘may be mad’ is far too moderate a statement). I expect there will also be a new notebook coming home with me…

    1. Oh, no, algebra is very relaxing. It got me through some very bad days in high school, which led to my being a math major . . . for awhile. This probably has something to do with my enjoyment of collecting and tabulating data about manuscripts, now.

  30. Hi everyone
    Sounds like there is some fantastic writing going on. I missed last week, on a field trip looking for new research projects after I finish my current ones.

    Accomplished from two weeks ago: sent off a complete chapter/paper for coauthors and supervisor, and made a good dent in the other one.
    Teaching is great fun, but I need to be very careful to not have it suck up every second of every day.

    As for what comes next, I’m going to drop out of the writing group for this term. I’ve discovered that I need extra time more than the accountability of posting goals for now. I will miss the support, but I’m in the stage now with my thesis papers that I know exactly what to do, and just have to do it, 15 minute increments and all. I’m limiting everything that is not completely essential to teaching or thesis papers, and that includes all the fun discussions and things that the interwebz can suck one into. I’ve also tried to limit work on weekends and I’ve found that it has helped to get me to Mondays in a more refreshed state.

    So, thanks to DEH for hosting, thanks for all the help, I’ve learned a lot from other writers in this group and the last one, so I wish you all success and productivity! I’ll stop by occasionally because I’d be sad if I didn’t know how things turn out 🙂

  31. Sorry for the late check-in. Last week’s goal was to get *something* done on my two writing projects.

    Got *nothing* done, actually, because the anthology editing had to take precedence, and will have to continue to do so through next weekend.

    So, next week’s goal is to finish this damn editing job so I can get back to the writing!

    1. I think one of the things that makes life more complicated is that we have multiple projects going, and we can’t always choose what takes precedence. So I’d consider the anthology editing progress, even if not the progress you want.

  32. Last week’s goal: outline the article.

    Accomplished: Half done.

    Analysis: Couldn’t sleep or do much of anything until I heard Wednesday that all fifteen samples of my brother’s biopsy were negative for cancer. *celebratory dance inserted here* After getting the news, I did manage to attack the article. I decided to write in the parts I knew already from other sources, so the outline went more slowly, but is fuller. It took me until now, under the wire, to get there, but I’ll take it.

    Next week’s goal: FInish the other half of the outline.

    Ooh, favorite office supplies! Several come to mind. I use colored ink to edit–red for delete, green for add, and blue for expand. I edit (and sometimes write) with fountain pens in longhand–somehow the connection with the brain is stronger for me when I do this.

    When planning/outlining, I use the same color display of post-its on a large posterboard or flip-chart. I need to see something visually to get the sense of it. I keep the red deletion post-its on the board, because otherwise I wouldn’t remember the holes that I need to fill in.

    I love notebooks and stationery, but like JaneB, have a hard time actually using them. So, anything that will take fountain pen ink is preferable.

  33. Ugh. Ok, my schedule is still borked. If I write first thing, I don’t have time to exercise and I am always worried in the back of my head that I won’t make it in time to get one of the last non-construction-impaired parking spaces. If I workout and grade first thing, I get sucked into the day full of dealing with students and getting more assignments and teaching and stuff. And I cleaned and went hiking this weekend instead of worked on either of the work categories. I don’t regret it, though. It won’t be nice weather forever!

    Accomplished: I printed a section of the chapter, and highlighted/checked page numbers for a novel against the correct edition (I revised it using a different ed. from the Norton critical ed I had started with. bleah.). It seems I can squeeze in some editing/checking/proofing in a way that deep revising just seems too overwhelming or too much mental work.

    Goals: a) Make a list of small tasks that still need to be done! b) set aside at least 15 minutes every day to chip away at these small tasks! if not c) an actual prose-revising session on any day I can muster the energy!

    Shiny things: I loooove office supplies! I love color-coding things!!! I use them more in my teaching than in my research (gotta use tons of binder clips to keep track of student papers! Post-its and plastic flags in my books and to leave grade questions on student work! Sparkly colored pens for grading fun!), but I do like to color-code drafts of my writing when trying to organize and balance my paragraphs. Rewriting sentences in my margins is more fun in hot pink and then crossed off in purple when I add in the changes. The most important tool of shiny office supplies, however, is bribery. They are a great reward for you after you have revised something — and sometimes their shiny newness can inspire you to revise more!

    In fact, I think that’s what I’ll do: if I put in an entire hour on revising my chapter today, I’ll let myself buy a new pack of brightly-colored Pilot pens.

  34. Last week: (1) Solidify comprehensive topic with a concrete outline. (2) Convert all my book notes into written work. (3) Read 5 articles (with written notes) for my paper. (4) Say ‘no’ more often to tasks that I am not responsible for.

    Analysis of last week goals: I completely ROCKED our #1, 3, and 4! But I didn’t touch at all on #2.

    This week I will accomplish: (1) Convert my book notes to written work (I will do this!!), (2) read 5 more articles for my paper, and begin a solid intro, and (3) Put 500 words (regardless of quality) into my comprehensive.

    Comments: Even though I didn’t accomplish all my goals, I feel very productive and happy about what I did accomplish. I have an amazing committee meeting that directed my focus and goals. I was also able to create learning objectives and outcomes for both of my comprehensives- so I have a clear goal and idea of the direction I am headed in.

    I have to say that joining this has really made me conscious of completing MY goals and MY projects. It’s easy to let things for yourself move to the back burner, but when you’re accountable- even if it’s through this medium – it’s really helpful. I am constantly aware of what days I am going to do stuff (However, sometimes I get sucked into the internet and productivity spirals down)…it also helps to manage my busy schedule. I know I need to set aside specific time for myself to complete work, and I think it’s going well!

    Fave office supplies: Highlighters!! I can’t live without them! Those, and cue cards! I find their great for making notes in books on specific pages! I like to write my thoughts on them as I read!

    1. Congrats on getting so much done! I’m glad you had a good committee meeting. I know people say this all the time, but a good committee makes all the difference.

      It might help to break down the “all the book notes” item into smaller chunks. It sounds like a daunting task, but probably won’t be so bad in small increments.

      Good luck!

  35. So, having had a brainstorm last week about how to focus this article, I went digging around in my old emails and discovered it’s not due until NEXT September!!! But I think I’m going to aim for a draft by Christmas just so it’s done.

    What I accomplished this week: on Tuesday, one of my research days, I spent the day doing the final set of cuts and revisions to my article. (The journal has a 5000 word limit, and I’d missed that 5000 words included notes: who knew?) Sent it off Tuesday night, and have just had the final acceptance. So that’s well and truly done, until I get the proofs.

    Friday was devoted to doing bibliographical research: one morning I’d woken up with a vague outline in my head, and that showed me what I needed to read in the secondary literature. I will have no problem with primary sources — it’s really a matter of figuring out which ones to include. I ordered a boatload of ILL things, downloaded articles, and so I feel as if I know where I’m going. Yesterday I had an uncommitted day, and I finally started reorganizing books in my house so that the collection in my study supports my research. This process is half done, but I consider it an important step towards creating a working environment that actually works. I’m tired of saying “I know I have X book” and not being able to find it because we only half organized the books when we moved in. And I’ve spent far too much time staring at bookshelves because I *know* I have X book.

    I’m not big into office supplies (though there are times when I go to Staples and think that if I just find the right supplies, my work will be better). And I’m trying to make my life less paper-filled, because the paper it takes over the house!!! I love the uniball vision elite pens, and they make them in lots of colors. I do make lists on paper, and I always carry one of these, with 3×5 cards: http://www.levenger.com/Cases-15/Pocket-Briefcases-765/Shirt-Pocket-Briefcase–Core-2398.aspx. I often carry a little notebook, but I’ve used it less than expected, but I do like having a place I can jot something down when I’m out and about. I have lately been quite taken by the Levenger Circa notebooks — they are great for both teaching and some of my service obligations; and when I’m done, it’s easy to pull out the paper and file it. (Levenger is another place where I think if only I spent several hundred dollars on X, I’d be more productive.) For those who like binder clips, I have a lifetime supply. I do like the colorful plastic coated paper clips, though!

    Anyway, goal for next week: start reading all the stuff I identified — that should be about two weeks work. Things will slow down a bit because I’ve got papers coming in on Wednesday, but I’m going to try to keep Tuesday and Friday as research days.

    1. It is very important to have an environment that supports research. That’s another of those things that we’re “not supposed to do” (like not reading, just writing), but just as we can’t write without reading, it’s vastly harder to write in a place that isn’t conducive to it, no matter how devoted to the life of the mind you are.

      1. This is so true; not just the need for the space to write, but also the space to read. All these hidden things that we’re not “supposed” to need, but which we can’t really function without…

  36. Last week: switch from the topic that was the “one big thing” (book proposal) to an essay; write out the data description section of this paper.

    Accomplished: Very little. I managed to present this paper at a conference and participate like crazy in this conference on Friday and Saturday. That left little time to get much else done.

    Next week: draft the other sections of this paper.

    Comment: I just got home from the conference and I am exhausted.

  37. Goals met!! Read and noted relevant dissertation. Started difficult book and experienced the “do I really have to read this?” internal whining that always comes up with this book (heavy theory which I always think could be put a *little* more straightforwardly). Went through two of four books to track my heroine’s consumption patterns (which were, interestingly, minimal, which is significant for the topic!)

    Goals for next week: I am going to a THATCamp to begin work on a proposed digital humanities project with collaborator, and am looking forward to meeting people and learning stuff and changing my scenery. I have another phone interview when I get back. Goals are very modest: do some writing, any writing, no time limit, just some writing; read over at least one notebook relating to project (airplane time!); if time, go through last two books and track heroine’s consumption.

    Not on my list, but relevant: wrote a blog post related to project that I’ve been itching to write for awhile. I started a blog while I was recovering from surgery as a place to try out ideas related to this project and other stuff (creative work and things related to larger topics in girls’ history) and have found that useful for doing shorter, more casual “here’s what I’m thinking about” writing.

    My obstacles continue to be the 9-5 job and some stressors particular to that environment. It is difficult for me to make time to write after work, though I think it would be a very good thing if I could manage a half hour or hour just to think about my own work on a weekday, rather than letting it out to play on weekends.

    Office supplies: notebooks, designated for projects. Colored pens, and the right pen is best! I am fussy about what notebooks I assign to which projects, but it’s always worked for me to have a notebook for each project that I can make longhand notes in and use for longhand writing, which is actually one of my best strategies for getting unstuck — writing out whatever in longhand just *helps*. Oh, and 5×8 notecards, one per article/book/unit of scholarship. I’m supposed to be an evangelist for Zotero, but honestly, I’ve discovered that I really need to handwrite summary notes, as I learned to do in grad school.

    1. Sorry to hear that difficult book is giving you troubles. Sometimes with those, I’ve tried reading a few reviews of the book first, so I’m pretty clear what it says, and then skipping around–looking at the end of the intro first to get a sense of the whole, reading sections (based on ch. titles or index) that seem most relevant to my work, etc. Sometimes when intros are incredibly dense, it can be easier to dive right into the body of the work, and return to the intro later, once you have a sense of the whole (sadly, though that’s what the intro is supposed to do, intros often fail to).

      I hope the 9-5 stressors ease up a bit. Or go away altogether.

  38. Hi, all!

    Last week’s goals: 3 2-hours blocks of reading and writing; 1000 words.

    What was accomplished: Smaller blocks of reading and writing, and about 500 words.

    Analysis: Again, it’s not as much as I would like. This week, I’m going to carve out more time to finish off a massive service requirement that has dragged on for weeks; I hope that will really help to free up writing time at last. But I’m also discovering that it’s better to try to write every day than in bigger chunks; 30-45 minutes of writing before my morning class, for instance, has worked well.

    Goals for next week: 45 minutes of writing first thing every day. Let’s see where I am on the word count at week’s end!

    Office supplies: I too love mechanical pencils! I also recently got a coffeemaker for my office, which felt at the time like a ridiculous extravagance, but has actually been quite economical and made my office seem more homey.

    Good luck with next week’s goals, everyone!

  39. Last goal: continue the attempt to have 2 hours a day for reading/writing/ research. Do something each day to Move Forward. Revise fellowship application and send it to recommenders.

    Accomplished: quite a bit of moving forward. About an hour on Monday, another hour on Wednesday, half an hour yesterday and 1.5 today. I have collected something to cite in the minor revisions to the MMP’s Companion, copied, read, noted and outlined an essay relevant to the MMP, and worked on the fellowship application. I also checked to make sure the recommenders are willing to tweak their letters and write in my support again, which they are.

    Next goal: I still think research deserves two hours a day, so I will see if I can get closer to that this week. Product: send a draft of the revised proposal to recommenders and to someone else who offered to read it. See if I can move forward with the MMP and translation project, as well.

    Commentary: Tuesday went to service and teaching; Thursday went to a far-away vet appointment that I thought Sir John was taking but that he’d forgotten all about. The Tiny Cat has had several good days and has even gained a little weight, so that is easing some tension around here, such that work was possible this weekend. On the application, I have to keep reminding myself that they don’t care about my self-esteem issues (http://firstgenamerican.com/2012/09/19/life-changing-advice-part-2/); I just have to show that I can do the work. So I wrote in my journal for awhile about the self-esteem issues, and that developed into the discovery that I do have a coherent research agenda that ties together the MMP, its companion, and the book I want to write (the fellowship project). Pretty cool. I had no idea they went together so neatly.

    1. It’s sometimes liberating to realize that others don’t care about our inner angst. Thought at times I think that it’s a nice part of our humanity to notice that most of us have inner angst issues of some sort or another. Also that while we may have self-esteem issues, others see us as fairly competent adults! But I’m glad that you can see the coherence of the projects you’re working on!

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