This week’s topic: celebrating accomplishments, which was something of a theme in last week’s comments.  Congratulations to Dr Sapience!  I hope you’ll do/have done something other than apply for jobs, the better to enjoy your new status.

Celebrating can be tricky.  Sometimes the timing just isn’t right, as when I got the MMP’s companion piece accepted in a bad week for cat health.  Sometimes you may feel like you really don’t deserve a celebration, or people around you may not understand why you want to celebrate.  You might just not want to behave like a snowflake who gets a medal for showing up.

All the same, if you do something that makes your writing special and enjoyable, won’t you be more likely to do it?  If you write in coffee shops, is it really just to hide out, or is the coffee (and maybe a cookie or a scone) part of the draw?  I say celebrate even small things, like having written your words for the day, or meeting your goal for the week, and then have a real blow-out for the big achievements.  Why be a Puritan?  Go on then, have a bit of fun, treat yourself.

And a related post, if you need something else to read.

Amstr: 1) (optional) do a readthrough of edited article (if I get it), 2) work on Ch. 3 (type changes, fix fns, reverse outline, do 4 or 5 tasks from list), 3) tidy up Ch. 2 draft and send to writing partner, 4) prep for writing retreat (starts Fri).
Another Postdoc: Redo introduction and review section with the intention of clearly communicating what I want to say. Maybe begin the conclusion.
Bavardess: Article: footnotes for pages 7 – 12 and incorporate a couple of additional sources (new pubs that are relevant to my argument); revise per supervisor’s feedback (mostly minor suggestions to improve flow and signposting.  Read and take notes on the two books I have on interloan so I can return them
cly: write (not read, revise or research, but write) for 45 minutes each day.
Comrade PhysioProf: checked in.
Contingent Cassandra: Finish handouts and do presentation; begin work on another freelance piece; take advantage of the break in routine provided by the conference to think about goals for the second half of the semester.
Dame Eleanor Hull: keep trying on the two hours/day goal. Final edits and mail the proposal.
Dr. Virago: checked in.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Spend seven hours filling holes in article O, in whatever configuration works.
emmawriting: EOCP sent to collaborator. LOI fully rough drafted (deadline after weekend). MC5 fully prepped and sent to collaborator. Review letter 2nd section drafted if necessary. Results of Study 1 (Short Paper) written BADLY.
GEW: 15 minutes per day, this time just four days for one hour.
highly eccentric: writing on at least two days of the week.
historisusan: read 3-4 more articles. I’ve also been trying to get back into exercise, and I think that may give me a disciplined structure that will enable more reading and working on this project.
humming42: write every day.
JaneB: 1) face that wretched few-author paper. 2) outline the paper for the conference and do some data analysis if possible and 3) send emails about the grant.
JLiedl: finish the keynote.
John Spence: Over the next two weeks, index 30 pages.
kiwi2: At least 2 hours on the analysis for Paper Z.
kiwimedievalist: no check-in
Kris: read and note two articles for the paper and some sense of the structure and argument.
luolin88: 1/2 hour Monday and Friday.
Matilda: finish reading materials/ revise outline of the presentation/ start writing the draft
meansomething:  1) 60 minutes on the lyric essay over multiple sessions over the course of the week. 2) Five 12-minute sessions on the poems.
metheist: checked in.
Notorious Ph.D.: 90 minutes of work a day, split between reading and taking notes-and-musings on the readings.
nwgirl: Tackle the EH section.
Pika: this weekend finish the CV sketch, then I am taking some time out, as I am travelling all week next week. The week after: proofread, re-edit, finalise and submit (deadline is at the end of that week).
Pilgrim/Heretic:  at least 2,162 words, and glow maintenance.
Premodern: 5 more pages, for a total of 10 pages. I have another essay I’m trying to finish and polish, so that’s the main goal for this week.
rented life: Write/edit/expand: three times this week. Continue reading book D. Any additional research/writing is bonus.  Practice audio-recording instead of writing at times.
Salimata: no check-in.
Sapience: First round of job applications.
Sisyphus: appeared in order to congratulate Sapience; no goals posted.
sophylou: get some notes typed up, finish skimming last two books for evidence of consumption, read/note one item.
tracynicholrose: Rewrite discussion for LM paper; rewrite intro on P&P paper; start drafting BE findings.
Trapped in Canadia: no check-in.
Undine (Not of General Interest): write minor presentation; finish 2 reviewing projects. Finish conference paper.  And write something, even if it’s only research notes, on the major project every day.
What Now?: Write at least three days (ideally before school), and aim for another 1,000 words.
Widgeon:  Two full days of research (taking notes, compiling ideas). And two additional days of a short block of research, at least 30 minutes.
Z (Mictlantecuhtli/Profacero): two blocks of 1-1/2 hours each, each week, more if available, put computer files of this project in organized place, keep touching work, keep *good* control of all else.

109 thoughts on “Sept-Dec 2012 Writing Group, Week 7 Check-in

  1. Well, goal accomplished. I managed to write for at least an hour every day this week. That should be something worth celebrating. I’ve sent off a fellowship application. That should be something else worth celebrating.

    The problem with forcing myself to write daily and not having a set goal means that I can accomplish my goal without feeling that I’ve accomplished anything. I have made good progress though. Maybe I’ll try the same goal next week before deciding that I need a new plan.

    As for ‘recovering perfectionist’, well, I’m having a bit of a relapse at the moment…

  2. Last week’s (untimely/unannounced) goal was a repeat of the previous week’s goal, which was just to get SOMETHING done on my projects…


    Hooray! I did it! In fact, I wrote about 1000 words of my short, invited article! Woot! And I thought a little bit (mostly while walking the dog) about how to revise that damn double review into a review article, although I didn’t do anything concrete. So I am ready to CEL-E-BRATE GOOD TIMES! (Yeah, I’m easily pleased with myself at this point.)

    This week’s goal: in addition to catching up on woefully neglected grading this weekend (which you don’t have to post as a goal!), I’m looking forward to getting back to a normal mode of working, and hence being able to pound out the rest of the draft of my 2500 word article and make some plans for the review essay.

    Also, in other news, the last two weekends I managed, despite all the other work I was piled under, to plant 186 bulbs and tubers of various spring flowers, as well as to plant three Montauk daisy plants (a mum-related species that blooms in late summer/fall). Look at me! I’m a gardener! So I’m celebrating the fact that I seem to have found a new hobby, too.

    1. Spring bulbs are fantastic! You plant them, forget where they were, and come spring, there’s lots of lovely colour! (Sorry, that should probably be ‘color’.)

      And yay for celebrations!

      1. It was just that ‘colour’ looked wrong in this font… I’ve just been marking a student’s essay, and was stumped for a moment as to why ‘honor’ looked so weird, and now I have to figure out if a very shy student has American roots, or the wrong spell-check turned on…

    2. yay for gardening! I miss it, as I just have a few pots on the patio now that we rent and don’t own. And for meeting goals!

      1. in some future life, i will have an herb garden. i admire those who lovingly tend to things planted in the earth.

    3. For awhile I loved gardening and wanted a bigger one, and lately I keep going away in the summers and everything goes wrong in the garden. Grubs ate the iris this year, and I haven’t even been out to try to salvage what I can yet.

      1. Going away in the summer is a real down side of the academic life – my yard is in a total state after three years of intensive summer travel schedules (and wierd summer weather. Extra rain = ridiculous amounts of weeds around these parts and encourages carefully chosen garden plants to weed-like behaviour…)

  3. Apologies for being MIA again! Overcome by marking and lecture-writing. I was totally going to have all the essays done last weekend, and here I am, with most of them still to go.

    Previous Goal: Get out books related to my story, to read between marking.

    Achieved: No. I haven’t been able to get anywhere near the library, and any time I’m passing, I’m moving at a great rate, on my way somewhere else, urgently.

    Commentary: I’ve just been letting everything pile on top of me. This pile of essays are really boring, so I’ve been marking them far too slowly. They have to be done by the end of this week, however, so my weekend is mapped out. Thankfully, it’s a REALLY wet weekend, and the semester is one week away from being finished.

    Next Goal: Get books out of the library – because I’m running out of time when I’ll be able to access the library. Write a character sheet for the priest. There, little goals…

    1. I’m laughing, becuase I too have a huge pile of marking, and I’ve been busy saying to myself, at least its a really wet weekend. It’s not so bad! Roll on end of semester.

  4. Last week’s goal: Tackle EH section.

    Accomplished: Not much. But I did write almost daily.

    Next goal: Finish revisions on this chapter.

    After a productive week 6, week 7 just sort of fell apart. Maybe not fell apart, but I just felt like I struggled more than I had the week before. I feel a bit stuck at the moment, without any clear idea how to get through this patch other than to keep showing up in front of the laptop and writing my way through it. Revising the book manuscript just seems like such a daunting task right now. And I feel like I’ve been working on this topic for far too long. Sigh. Oh well, onward. Can’t go around it, can’t go under it, can’t go over it! Guess, I can only go right through it, so to speak.

    As far as celebrations, I have one planned for this weekend but it’s not writing-related. Mr. NWG and I will celebrate three decades of marriage.

  5. Goal: Write/edit/expand: three times this week. Continue reading book D. Any additional research/writing is bonus. Practice audio-recording instead of writing at times.

    Accomplished: Wrote twice on book, once on other stuff. Didn’t have a chance to read. Still very not comfortable audio recording. I feel like a total idiot talking to myself in my car, but I also don’t want to forget my ideas.

    Analysis: Home life has a situation that isn’t going away soon, but I’m getting better at striking a balance between dealing with that and doing my writing. It’s no where near where I’d like it to be, but I’m trying to hang onto the headway I have made there. The more I keep carving space for myself, the easier it will be to write more and get my reading done. Though I’m not sure I’ll ever not feel dorky recording (or listening to said recordings) just so I don’t foget an idea.

    New goal: Write/expand/edit 3 times on book specifically. Reading book D. Record as needed.

    1. I have a long commute with time to think so I use a digital recorder to capture what I cannot write down. I started that practice a few years ago while working on the diss and I still feel dorky. (Hate the sound of my recorded voice). But better to feel like a dork than to lose a good idea.

      1. JaneB, I do commute alone though I sometimes wonder what others must think when they drive past and see me talking to myself. Of course, I could using a hands-free phone, I guess, so maybe it’s not too weird.

      2. I commute alone..mind you I don’t feel dorky SINGING in my car at the top of my lungs..just recording. Go figure

  6. Last week’s goal: Write at least three days (ideally before school), and aim for another 1,000 words.

    Accomplished: Yes! Wrote Tuesday through Friday mornings before school, 30-60 minutes each day, and managed about 1500 words.

    Analysis: This writing-before-school custom is working really well. It’s not quite a habit yet, but it’s a pattern-in-the-making. Now, the writing I’m doing these mornings is a little atomized, a little episodic; I’m writing self-contained bits and bobs that will at some point need to be pulled together into a more cohesive chapter. But I’m fine with that; I’d rather take a weekend to revise a fragmented chapter than try to write a whole chapter from scratch!

    Next week’s goal: Second verse, same as the first: Write at least three days (ideally before school), and aim for another 1,000 words.

  7. I did indeed do more than get job applications in. There were several dinners out (and I somehow managed to get at least three cakes pressed upon me at various events that were not supposed to be about me) and lots and lots of sleeping, which I hadn’t been doing prior to the defense.

    Last weeks goals: job apps!

    Achieved: five job apps are in, one is mostly in.

    Analysis: Interfolio has been ridiculously impossible. All three of my advisors had problems uploading my letters; one still hasn’t uploaded, which is why one application still isn’t fully in. I also really, really hate working this close to deadline. I’m hoping in the next few days to get a little bit ahead of the next batch so that I don’t feel so darn nervous.

    Next week’s goal: next batch of job apps. I may be late checking in as I will be out of town over the weekend.

  8. Goal: Finish the keynote

    Accomplished: Still about 1000-1200 words short of where I want to be but as this is due for next Friday, it might be good enough.

    Analysis: Another week where I felt OBE – lots of grading, a holiday weekend with not only family time but a mucking huge editorial task. If I stop to think about what I’m not getting done on my writing, I get simultaneously depressed and angry.

    Next week’s goal: Polish and deliver the keynote

    Celebrations? Wow. that’s so not where my head is right now. I’m feeling kind of down this week. It’s hard to see what’s worth celebrating but I know that’s depression, exhaustion and anger talking. I’ll be back to my normal upbeat self in a week or week and a half: we start our autumn break on the 22nd! Now that is worth celebrating!

    1. Will delivering the keynote and having that finished feel like a cause for celebration? If you’re not feeling celebratory right now, perhaps it could help to schedule the moment when you think you will feel celebratory. I mean, I know we’re all supposed to live in the moment, blah blah blah, but the reality is that most of us do have these periods where we feel depressed or exhausted or angry; it occurs to me that somehow mentally putting an end date on those feelings might be helpful.

      Anyway, hang in there! And I hope that the keynote goes well!

      1. I like the idea of letting yourself feel the fury but scheduling an end to it. The “celebration” might take the form of downtime or recovery time, because fury/exhaustion/whatever can need recovering from.

  9. Last week’s goal: write minor presentation; finish 2 reviewing projects. Finish conference paper. And write something, even if it’s only research notes, on the major project every day.

    Accomplished: finished 1 1/2 reviewing projects; finished conference paper; finished minor presentation; wrote something on the major project most every day. Also an accomplishment, of sorts: turned down two reviewing projects. Could “just say no to extra projects” be a mantra for this week?

    Next week’s goal: 1500 words on major project, which should be possible now that I’ll be in the same time zone for more than 3 days at a time. Finish last 1/2 of reviewing project.

    1. Allow me to thank you, on behalf of authors and editors, for accepting reviewing projects. I’m trying to find a couple of reviewers (just one essay each!) to take over from someone who dropped the ball last summer, but didn’t tell me until the end of August that the reviews were no longer possible, and of course now it’s exploding head month and no one wants to do it. You are a treasure. The Kiwis, though, are giving me ideas; maybe, as their term is coming to an end, I could find someone Down Under to take these on.

  10. Last week’s goal: At least 2 hours on the analysis for Paper Z. This week has a lot of teaching and marking, so I need to make sure that all gets done in a timely manner as well, I exercise, and I don’t exhaust myself working crazy hours.

    Accomplished: Nothing, actually. I always knew that this week was going to be a hard one, and it was. I did have a couple of hours I could have used for my goal, but the truth was, I was absolutely exhausted. I sat at my desk, stared into space, and then went to the library instead and read newspapers, and browsed the new books. It was a better use of my time and gave me a tiny rejuvenation space.

    Next goal: The same as last week, to finish my analysis for Paper Z. I will also be talking to my collaborator on Paper X on Wednesday, so a secondary goal will be to work on rewriting that paper again to get it closer to submission.

    Commentary: This was a really heavy teaching week, and I was counting down til the end of the week. So, I don’t really feel bad about not reaching my goal this week. I found myself longing for a few hours to do research, imagining how it would feel, thinking about the joy of reading papers I can use to develop my background theory. I could almost taste it. Instead, I schooled myself to push through and get other essential tasks done (marking, writing tests, tutorials with students – at least the students were really interactive!). This coming week, the first two –three days will be flat out on teaching stuff, but hopefully after that I will be able to really have some thinking and writing time.

    As for celebrating- I hope to celebrate an end of marking, and the resurgence of research time, on Wednesday and Thursday. I am really looking forward to it. Today, I am celebrating making it through the week in one piece.

    1. Those sound like good things to celebrate! I’m just counting down to the end of Wednesday next week, when all my teaching will be done…

      Want to meet for coffee sometime?

      1. Actually, I haven’t been in Auckland for quite a while, think south – over the Bombay Hills 🙂 same island. Actually, the place where no one ever wants to live- but actually its great down here! We love our pet sheep and chickens! I definitely like the idea of catching up- I think we should keep working on it (chat less anonymously by email?). Perhaps you get down to Wellington on occasion?

  11. Last Week’s Goal: Two full days of research (taking notes, compiling ideas). And two additional days of a short block of research, at least 30 minutes.
    Accomplished: I did the two full days of research, and it felt quite good even if I’m not fully at the writing stage yet. But with teaching and service responsibilities I shirked my 30 minutes on other days.
    Next Goal: Finish cutting down conference paper and compiling power point. Begin processing primary source material. Two full days of research plus 30 minutes on three additional days.
    Commentary: I’m lousy at celebrating. This is definitely a fault that I need to work on. When my book finally came out it coincided with my stepmother being gravely ill, so I never really celebrated even that. Thank you Dame Eleanor for the reminder!

  12. Last week’s goal: keep trying on the two hours/day goal. Final edits and mail the proposal.

    Accomplished: OBE. Met with writing group on Monday to get their feedback on the proposal. I don’t think I got any writing done the rest of the week. Wednesday, sadly, went to an over-long meeting and class prep; I must plan better to avoid that sort of encroachment on time. That is the first time this semester that I didn’t manage to leave campus and go write. I spent some time brooding over a job advertisement. I think I am going to apply. It’s a very long shot, but I want to see what happens. That had me thinking about my research agenda, at least.

    Analysis: This past week was unusual in various ways and for good reasons. Sleep and exercise got screwed up as well as work. I’m calling for a re-boot of the semester.

    New goal: this morning I have to go finish the fellowship proposal, including updating my CV. Really that’s last week’s goal, but if I put it here I’ll at least have that to report next week! Schedule 2 hours/day for research/writing; schedule time for marking papers, as well (new batch coming in Monday); stick to that schedule.

    Further commentary: Teaching stuff really shouldn’t be reported as writing-group goals, but like Z, I want to try to manage everything sanely for better overall productivity and happiness. The silver lining in the loss of the Tiny Cat is that the boys don’t need so much attention and are less likely to have emergencies, so I will have more control over my time and movements. I will be able to stay late on campus on Fridays, if I want, and to go out or just upstairs to my study to write, instead of trying to work on the couch so I can keep an eye on the little cat.

    I think I will do a re-boot post for Monday, so anyone who feels the need can join in there on the topic!

    1. It’s finding the balance which I find hard. Either there’s no marking to do, and I can do what I want (which usually doesn’t result in much more productivity), or the marking piles up, at which point I’m dying to get back to whatever article needs work…

    2. I’m very sorry about the Tiny Cat (I’m late, but have just seen the post today).

      I hear you about the over-long meetings though. In my new place we have several people who seem to adore hearing themselves talk, so they are bound to jump in into whatever topic is being discussed (even if it doesn’t concern them in the slightest) and elaborate their opinion extensively. They are never stopped by the chair and that leads to very long meetings. I’ve no solution, but sometimes I think I might adopt a strategy where I tell people I have to be somewhere else after a reasonable time and just get up and walk out at that point…

      1. Long meetings! I sometimes bring a small notepad and write down my research ideas, future plans and so on. This is not appropriate if you have something to do with the topic, but when only attending the meeting is your duty, it may work. You might have developed a great idea when the over-long meeting finishes.

      2. I had my laptop, and I did manage a little, even though it was a 6-person meeting. The leader was so reasonable about saying people could walk out that I stayed to be polite, when more draconian measures would have meant I stormed out in a temper. Must get over this nice-girl mentality.

    3. I have a ridiculous meeting conundrum: a university-wide committee with horrid long weekly meetings, and the need for a departmental meeting where I can’t get my colleagues to agree on a meeting time. Forgive my complaining, but I find both groups to be somewhat selfish about their time…and mine.

    4. One of my goals for this week was to re-set. I didn’t write it here because at the time I was thinking of the re-set in terms of not arriving late for everything, but it seems to have worked for the writing goals as well.

  13. Last goals: finish reading materials/ revise outline of the presentation/ start writing the draft

    Accomplished: well, most of them I have started, but all of them I have done just a half. There left some parts of the material to be read, outline has started to be revised, but I have constructed only a rough one, the draft has still only a few lines.

    Analysis: though my goals are only a half met, well, I think I am on the right way. I should plan what I can do within three weeks, and I really must start revision of my argument. Reading materials is of course important, but I want to avoid that ‘see, so many interesting things happened!, then, what?’ type presentation.

    Next goals: revising outline, mainly re-constructing my argument/ finishing writing a really rough first draft

    Actually I like celebrating, but usually my celebration is only a small bit – like, you write 300 words today, so let’s celebrate! ok, I’ll have a caffe latte instead of a coffee!
    I know I am a person who easily- really easily – lose confidence in anything, so these tiny bits of celebration work to cheer me up in everyday life.

      1. Ooh, bribery! I read this earlier today, and so bribed myself to mark two essays before renewing my coffee and allowing myself a raspberry licorice with chocolate inside. And after my quick check here, I’m going to do two more…

  14. Last week’s goal: 2,162 words.

    Accomplished: just under 1,000, so the glow fades a bit. (Though I’m very glad to see it being well maintained by so many others here!)

    Analysis: Sort of OBE, if two days off may be counted as “events.” Last week included our fall break, which is when I usually get ahead on things like writing and exercise. But since this semester I’ve been so good about doing both of those things on campus, having two days (and my main writing days) off campus actually shot my good habits to pieces. Hoping to pick them up again next week.

    This week’s goal: 2,162 words, and getting my groove back.

  15. goals: 1) face that wretched few-author paper. 2) outline the paper for the conference and do some data analysis if possible and 3) send emails about the grant.

    achieved: 1) I printed out the latest versions of my notes, rough draft and of the figures and tables that might go in it. They are all in my bag. I WILL look at them and make some progress this week… 2) outlined, abstract revised for the conference web site, data analysis tinkered with a little. I have worked out how I can put the talk together with a minimum of additional work which is a start!. 3) sent emails. No replies yet. Am facing up to the fact that once AGAIN I probably won’t meet that deadline. No wonder people with lower teaching loads produce more research income… and get lower teaching loads as a reward… sigh

    analysis: My semester gets busier from mid-November. This is supposed to be the time when I get some research done. I am not panicking… yet. But I am stressed, and not feeling well, so an element of OBE is creeping in It happens. I should never have agreed to go to this conference, though… but don’t I always feel like that before I go?? I did also get a BIG refereeing project off my desk and get all of next week’s teaching prepared and this week’s taught, and spent several hours working with my post-doc on another conference talk (her abstract said she’d present lots of data analysis which she doesn’t know how to do, and I am co-author…).

    goals for next (two) weeks: 1) write conference talk. 2) Survive conference. 3) Meet with colleague in conference-town and help them with their analysis (they visited me here in August to learn to use some software, and want some input on their results so far) – and play with their cats/eat their partner’s scrummy cooking/stay the night after the conference in their spare room, so it’s win-win. 4) go through few-author paper and make extensive list of what needs doing 5) draft case for support for small grant application due end of month. 6) make appointment with chiropractor about neck (it IS SO a writing goal, because a) the problem is almost always caused by sitting at the computer for too long and b) pain makes writing harder to do)

    next check in: probably in two weeks, because I am travelling to a conference next weekend, and can’t decide whether to take my netbook – I need to travel light because instead of flying I’m going via train-train-train-train-boat-train-bus, and have both neck and lower back issues… which takes about the same length of time once you factor in all the extra time needed for getting to the airport and waiting around!

    celebrating: writing in itself is usually a little treat fitted in around teaching, grading and paperworking! Thinking of it that way makes me feel much more inclined to find that 15-30 minutes, which really does help me feel better about my day overall.

    1. I hope your travels will be charming. My recent conference travel involved a short train ride and two planes, and I appreciated the change of pace on the train.

    2. I like the idea that writing itself can be a little treat–I think that’s definitely true sometimes, but hadn’t thought of it that way

  16. Last week’s goal: unstated, but get at least one day of writing in.

    Accomplished: about half a day in.

    Analysis: The positive of of the week: it was my birthday so I went to dinner with some new co-workers. The negative of the week: continued TA problems. Can anyway give advice on what to do when a TA is incompetent and undermines you at every turn? I have never seen behavior such as this before. I have now had to take over part of the grading, which I am not supposed to do according to my contract.

    Next week’s goal: write every day and stop caring so much about what happens, or does not happen, in the classroom.

  17. Last week’s goal: Finish handouts and do presentation; begin work on another freelance piece; take advantage of the break in routine provided by the conference to think about goals for the second half of the semester.

    Accomplished: Handouts completed and presentation given (successfully, I believe); freelance piece begun; thinking still in progress

    Analysis: The conference was encouraging in the sense that it confirmed that I’ve got a viable mid-to-long-term research plan, but discouraging in the sense that I’m still wondering how in the world to fit in time for writing about research as well as teaching in both the regular and the summer term, and writing for pay. I’m still mulling what to do about that (or whether there is anything to do about it).

    Goal for next week:Finish current freelance piece; spend at least a brief period (1 hour if possible, as little as 15 minutes as not) on J article on at least 2 days; keep thinking/planning.

  18. Goal last week: read two papers and figure out structure and argument of paper.

    Achieved? No.

    Analysis: Marking. Marking! Marking! Marking! I could have squeezed in work on the paper but it felt like it might be the thing that pushed me over the edge into ‘aaaahhh!’ I find I get an emotional hangover from marking – it’s hard to bounce back after commenting on the absence of an argument 65 times – once for each paper.

    This week: last week’s goal. The due date for this paper is in two weeks so it’s time to knuckle down.

    On celebrating: I don’t celebrate papers getting accepted or grants being awarded. By the time success comes it all feels like old news. But I do celebrate finishing tasks I hate. I give myself little treats for every ten papers marked/ day full of marking/ postgrad thesis I’ve survived. My treats are usually things to plant in the garden so that I look forward to being outside as well as the thing itself. I also buy things online – or at least, put things in my shopping basket but then abort before the final payment because I’m pretty tight with my money and the thing never feels worth it in the end.

  19. Just back from a conference, with a bit of travel saga on the way back (delays, lost luggage, preorganised shuttle at airport deciding not to wait for my flight, etc.), so what was supposed to be 10hrs of travel turned into almost 24… Ah well, at least I am back, although exhausted.

    Last week’s goal: finish the CV sketch & time out for travelling.

    Achieved: CV finished and as predicted, had no time for anything else during the conference.

    This week: proofread, finalise, upload and submit the proposal (deadline is at the end of the week). And then celebrate. 🙂

    And after this I’ll have three teaching+marking intensive weeks, so not sure how much writing is going to happen. But perhaps it’s not too bad to have a few weeks off from proposal writing after this submission, so that I can regroup and plan the second proposal better.

    Also, this is my first really big sole-PI proposal, so it’s both exhilirating and scary to hold those 20 pages and realise what they are potentially worth in funding.

    1. When air travel is smooth, it amazes me with its speed. When there are delays and problems, I can’t believe how stressful it is. I hope you recover quickly!

  20. I’m glad you brought up coffee shops in your list of celebrating the small things, because, though I’ve always been a coffee shop writer, the ubiquitious wifi, combined with my utter lack of self-control (and yes, I’ve considered downloading some of that block-it-out software, but I’ve been holding out) make it difficult. Well, triumph, because this week, I discovered a great new coffee shop, about two miles from my house, with NO WIFI WHATSOEVER. Better yet, the coffee is great. (The scones, however, are just okay, and it’s kind of expensive, so I need to scout out a cheap beverage.)

    Now, on to my report:

    Last week’s goal: 90 minutes of work a day, split between reading and taking notes-and-musings on the readings

    Did I accomplish it?: Well, I got closer than I did on previous weeks. I’d say I worked for about 60 minutes, four out of seven days. So, that’s movement in the right direction. I’d like to keep inching closer. In the process, I got finished with a couple of nagging books, and refined my reverse outline (I’ll have to blog about my own dialogue between draft and outline over at my place, because it’s long).

    Analysis: I’ve found that the morning writing habit is supported by good habits in the 12 hours prior to it. So, I write better in the mornings if I get up early and meditate. I can only get up early and meditate if I get to bed at a decent hour the night before. And I find I can only do that if I adhere to a no-video, no-internet rule after 9 p.m. So, that’s my “hidden goal” for this week. But my real goal…

    Next week’s goal: I need something more concrete, I think. So I’ve picked a section out of my reverse outline to *finish.* This means skimming a couple more doorstop books, taking notes, and boiling literally thousands of papers down into one to two paragraphs. So, shorter version: Finish researching and writing the Big Background.

  21. last goal: write every day

    accomplished: I got to it about half the time.

    next goal: still write/research every day, and turn writing into a daily habit again.

    commentary: I am among those who don’t do a good job of celebrating. When writing my dissertation, I ordered a book from amazon after every chapter submitted to my advisor. Rewarding myself isn’t quite the same as celebrating, but it works for me. I have a huge grading load right now—and empathy for those who have already posted about the same—and found that I rewarded myself this week with writing time, which was completely unexpected. Really: if you can get those assignments graded, then you can spend some time with this project that you love. Turning it on its head seems a good approach, although I didn’t manage to get through my workload with adequate time for writing each day.

    1. I hear you about rewarding yourself with writing time after too much grading–it’s nice to get back to one’s own stuff!

  22. Dame Eleanor, your post this week and the linked post about procrastination both hit home for me. I have more than a bit of the puritan in me telling me I shouldn’t really celebrate little x given that I should have done Big X.

    I am currently trying not to get sucked into perfectionism on the organization of the article I’m revising. I’ve done a lot of reorganziation that helps move the focus the paper away from anecdotes/example and onto the bigger issues instead. On Friday, though, I realized that in my attempts to achieve clarity in one section of the paper, I was moving paragraphs back to where they had been before I moved them on Monday.

    1/2 hour Monday and Friday.

    35 minutes Monday and 1/2 hour Friday.

    After last week, when I had the same goal, but did not manage to put any time into writing, it was a little easier to apply Dame Eleanor’s Bug Spray to the part of me that says “yes, but it was such a tiny goal, yes, but it took two hours of non-productive procrastination before you got started, yes, but…”

    Next Goal:
    1/2 hour Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

  23. Sorry about missing last week’s check-in, all! Was floored by an extremely nasty stomach bug–didn’t come near my computer the entire long weekend. (Yeah, I feel like my students with their horrible-sickness-excuses; on the other hand: after having been really sick over the weekend, I have a renewed appreciation for the fact that sometimes, people do get sick, and that being sick really sucks)

    Last week’s goal, accomplishments, analysis: can’t remember what I planned, but surely didn’t manage to accomplish whatever it was–the first week was pretty okay, with two days of writing (30 mins/day) on very-first-article; the 2nd week, though, was just catching up on myself with grading and writing lectures.

    Goal for the coming week: keep working on very-first-article, 30 mins on (ideally) every day Mon-Fri

    Celebrating: I realized this week that I no longer think, all the time, that I am going to be fired. I’m more confident that I am getting the hang of teaching, at least a little bit. (I got a few nice comments/notes from students, too) I didn’t quite celebrate this, but it did make me feel a lot better about everything, almost as if I had celebrated something.

  24. Last week’s goals: 1) an hour on lyric essay; 2) 5 12-min sessions on poem sequence.

    Accomplished: 1) yes; 2) 3 done, 2 left undone.

    Next week’s goals: 1) an hour on lyric essay; 2) 4 12-min sessions on poem sequence; 3) one submission.

    Commentary: Slightly more than an hour and a half spent on my own writing, over the course of a week in which I also taught my classes, took care of my mother’s dog, and made significant and necessary progress on two conferences (hiring faculty for one, organizing a panel for another), still looks kinda like a victory, even though I didn’t hit both my goals for the week. It’s just SO MUCH BETTER than so many other weeks in which my good intentions to write got buried under everything else I had to do.

    About celebrations, I’ll just observe that the ones I really remember are the ones to which I’ve invited witnesses. When my book came out, I had a celebratory dinner at a Mexican restaurant with three colleagues. I’ve been to that restaurant many times, but I remember that night in so many particulars, and it gives me such pleasure to look back on it.

  25. Goals met? Technically I really only accomplished the typing-of-from-notes goal, but I got enough writing done as a result of that that I don’t think the other goals matter much.

    Goals for next week: let myself do some writing every day.

    I think the smaller goals have now become ends in themselves so that I can feel like I’m checking something off. They’re not really helping at this point. What really needs to be done is just, writing.

    “Letting” is the important word there. Because of some specific circumstances, I struggle with feelings of impostorhood at my day job; for me, writing is something I’m good at and know how to do, so time spent writing is time spent affirming that there are things that I’m good at. Also, especially because I’ve started a blog meant to focus on my scholarship (which got a lot of hits this weekend when I blogged about my exciting primary-source find!), writing for me is also a way to engage with others, which, for me anyway, is a very good thing if I’m feeling impostor-y (and is a good thing even if I’m not!). So, writing sometimes feels like a celebration all by itself.

  26. I call last week a success! I put time in on my proposal on both Monday and Friday (goal = two days), and also, excitingly, finished the first formal draft-for-prospective-supervisors-to-see. \o/

    I celebrated this by, er… I guess by taking a few hours off to read chunk of a novel, actually, although it felt more like exhausted escapism than celebration.

    This week… the goal shall be to write on two days, again.

  27. Sorry for the late check in! We lost power (and internet) yesterday so I had to wait until this morning.

    So, goals met:
    Article – did the footnotes but didn’t do much other revising (essay marking got in the way)
    Did the reading and note-taking I’d planned and have returned the interloan books.

    Goals for next week:
    Finish revising article per supervisors’ feedback and figure out where I’m going to send it first (will revisit Belcher for some advice on this part of the process)
    Read a couple of important theory articles for my proposal

    On celebrating –
    I’m actually pretty good at this, although sometimes it is not so much celebrating as rewarding myself for getting through the work, even if what I’ve accomplished may seem pretty mundane to anyone else. I have a regular Saturday late afternoon-early evening slot that is dedicated to reading for pleasure with a glass of wine if I’ve managed to hit my goals for the week or, even if I haven’t, to at least recognise myself for trying.

    1. Good achievement! and yes, it is important to have some time for pleasure…it sounds a good idea to have fixed time for your pleasure.

  28. Goal: Redo introduction and review section with the intention of clearly communicating what I want to say. Maybe begin the conclusion.

    Accomplished: None of it for no apparent reason.

    Next Week’s Goal: The same thing – Redo introduction and review section with the intention of clearly communicating what I want to say. Maybe begin the conclusion.

    Analysis: I did finally make a semester plan, determine some goals for the semester, and I made a list of things to do this week to accomplish said goals. Hopefully this will get me back on track.

  29. Last week’s goals: 1) do a readthrough of edited article (when I get it), 2) work on Ch. 3 (type changes, fix fns, reverse outline, do 4 or 5 tasks from list), 3) tidy up Ch. 2 draft and send to writing partner, 4) prep for writing retreat (starts Fri)

    Accomplished: 1) delayed to writing retreat, 2) typed changes, fixed fns, did 3 tasks from list , 3) read through, edited, made a list of 29 more things to fix, 4) made a plan and goals (see blog)

    Next week’s goals: 1) get Ch2Article back to reader, 2) Ch3: 10/29 tasks, 3) Ch2: type in changes, do 5/29 tasks, 4) Ch4: SFD of abstract

    Commentary: I tried not to burn out working this week so I’d have energy for the writing retreat this weekend. I think I erred on the side of not doing enough work. It did take more energy that I anticipated to plan for the retreat (both for me and for my family), but I do wish I had gotten through a few more tasks. Even though I still have a lot of things to fix, I’m in a good spot for completing major tasks on time.

    Much of this coming week will be getting the article out the door to the book editor (due Saturday). The chapter draft of the material helped a lot, and now I’m in the process of finessing the transitions and making sure my argument is consistent throughout. (Side note: I’ve had two very different experiences with book editors this year, one positive, and one in the semi-okay range, and I’m curious what others’ experiences are. I think the writer/editor relationship is an interesting one, and I don’t yet have enough experience to know what exactly I think about it or what to expect. I did work as an editorial assistant on a journal in grad school, but my book collection experience has been quite different.)

    I’m still hoping to get the chapter drafts out the door soon, but this week is the week I need to let the article take priority.

    Note: I was intending to post this before my writing retreat, but forgot. The retreat was fabulous. I’ll post more about on my blog.

    And now I’m off to celebrate a successful (and rather rustic) writing retreat with a shower!

  30. I’m slipping in under the wire. Apologies!

    1. Last week’s goal: 7 hours filling in holes in article O.

    2. Accomplished: about 5 hours worth.

    3. Analysis: OBE. The week began with a call from my brother, whose oncologist told him the initial reading of the biopsies by a pulmonary doc could not be right, and that he needs another biopsy to find the malignancy which the oncologist is sure is there.

    The week continued as one of those “must-catch-up and try to ignore the free fall into the maw of administrativa after the high altitude rush of the research trip” scurries to shore up the margins of personnel reviews and tamp down the sparks of interpersonal work.

    Thursday night, I finally said the hades with it, and sat down with the article, at work, alone in a somewhat spooky but blessedly quiet place. For the first time, I was able to resuscitate slightly the glow of the research. I didn’t write a lot, but I read through my notes, expanding here, adding here; I enjoyed the flow of the words and the silence of the place.

    Next week’s goal: Spend four hours on article O, and add at least 500 words.

    On celebrating and rewards: As Dame Eleanor said about Tiny Cat, my timing for celebrating was off. However, I do respond well to rewards/bribes. In many ways, staying in my office for many hours after my staff had all left was a reward for a week that was not only scalding in a personal way, but full of stressful work navigations. It was a small blessing to open up the photocopies of the manuscripts and revive that world, redemptive enough that I cranked up the radio and sang loudly and badly to the music by the end of the evening.

  31. Sigh … I do not feel like celebrating. The week before last, I got back to my chapter revisions for a bit, and made up a to-do list of small, doable actions … and then was promptly swamped by a tidal wave of grading that washed me right off the deck. The good news is that I have done all the grading, and that Mon/Tues are our Fall Break. The bad news is that I have 4 ILLs out that are all due tomorrow, so tonight I am going to cull through them all and return them next morning. … if the library is even open during Fall Break. *puzzled*

    I have been going gangbusters on my job apps and am trying to finish them all for the whole season over break, since I am pretty sure I won’t have time to even blow my nose the rest of the semester. Then I have scheduled group conferences with my comp students for the rest of this week, so … I can make a goal of trying to touch my chapter revisions every day this week, but honestly I don’t see it happening. I feel like the world’s suckiest researcher. Where does the time go? Why can’t I even find the time to at least make incremental progress on my chapter? How am I supposed to find the energy to do this?

  32. Last week’s goal: 15 minutes, four days, for a total of 60 minutes.

    Accomplished: Probably only about 15 minutes total, if that.

    Analysis: We had friends in town over the weekend through Tuesday morning, and I didn’t work much while they were here. So I set off to work on Tuesday VERY behind with grading. Also, my big college report (re: college crisis) was due by late Wednesday so that it could be sent overnight mail on Thursday. I was in class and meetings all day Thursday. I got some grading done on Friday afternoon, but I felt kind of pooped, so I didn’t make quick progress. All in all, I didn’t not work on the dissertation.

    But I did celebrate! My colleague (and co-author of the report) asked to buy me a drink when we finished the report on Wed. I was tempted to say no (SO much work to do), but I said yes. I’m so glad I did! I think that celebrating our accomplishment helped me move on to other tasks.

    Speaking of other tasks, I’m not facing about 100 essay, and some of them should have already been returned a week ago. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this backed up with grading. I’d like to spend an hour on the diss today, but it’s hard to justify.

    Next week: I’m going to be in grading hell, so I’m going to just aim for four 15 minutes sessions again. Even that seems ambitious.

    1. It sounds like you can reward yourself with writing in between grading chunks. May your grading progress with the speed of Mercury.

  33. So this week I did not even manage to read the articles I hoped to get to. I did catch up on all my grading (phew!) but that entailed 5:30 AM mornings and 11:30 pm nights, so not healthy. I had a guest speaker on Thursday, which knocked out a lot of time. And then I took my summer vacation (gone from home less than 48 hours — don’t get carried away!) in the form of a trip to a very lovely place in the mountains where I hiked and ate and met new people who are not academics. So that’s OK. I’m working on appreciating my need for breaks: I realize — reading this, thinking about my life — that many of us are intense workaholics, and I wonder if part of celebrating is claiming the joy that we get from our work.

    But this week I want to keep reading, and maybe get myself an outline of the essay I want to write. I should have most of Tuesday and Friday, so that will be good.

    I also want to hold on to the feeling of joy that I had when I was in a beautiful place.

  34. I am a day late and a dollar short. Just got back from 4 days at the beach with no wifi! It’s fall break around here and I celebrated my good work this semester with some sun and surf.

    Last week’s goals: Rewrite discussion for LM paper; rewrite intro on P&P paper; start drafting BE findings.

    Accomplished: Rewrote major portion of discussion section of LM paper; wrote notes for P&P paper intro; did outline of BE findings

    Analysis: It was a decent week but shortened considerably by my mini break at the beach. I’m feeling very rejuvenated now and hoping to be able to plow full steam ahead this coming week.

    Next week’s goals: Rewrite findings for LM paper; continue notes on P&P paper; work on TS paper edits.

  35. I’m late, but with many apologies. I was at a conference out of the country this weekend and simply ran out of time last week. I’ll keep it short this week because it’s late and I’m exhausted.

    Next week’s goals: get ILL books to write conference paper and write three pages of said conference paper, hopefully by writing for an hour each day, already scheduled in to my week. Fingers crossed it works this time!

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