Something was in the air last week, since Nicole and Maggie came up with this post: http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/sunk-costs-and-moderating-emotional-upsets/

That’s what I mean about moving forward.

But since to move forward, you have to recognize when you’re getting in your own way, this week’s topic is self-punishment.  Do you beat yourself up for not working?  Did you at one time, but stopped?  If so, how did you stop?

Amstr: 1) Ch2Article to book editor (finally!), 2) rework Ch 2–mashup article with new good chapter stuff that didn’t fit in, 3) Ch 3: 5 tasks, 4) read one book for Ch. 4.
Another Postdoc: print out article and read through closely. Mark what needs to be changed and make those changes.
Bavardess: no check-in
cly: an hour a day; figure out where I am (word count and draft wise) on my overall goal.
Comrade PhysioProf: no check-in
Contingent Cassandra: Work on J article on 2-3 days, even if for a short period of time.
Dame Eleanor Hull: schedule 2 hours research/writing time every day.
Dr. Virago: finish the draft part of that 2500-word essay, maybe start revising it, and start something on the review essay.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Write at least 632 words on article O. Touch it every day for at least half-an-hour.
emmawriting: Review document entirely done (as much as possible) by Monday. Grant proposal #2 fully revised into good-enough state on Monday and uploaded. Then extras: EOCP sent to journal. Results of Study 1 attacked with a practical eye so that I can do Study 3. If still no baby, Study 3 sent to collaborator (ask him if this is possible); otherwise have to wait until.. when? January? Feb?… Grant proposal #2 made better.
GEW: four 15-minute sessions.
highly eccentric: write on two days of the week; email Drs J and D.
historisusan: keep myself reading and thinking.
humming42: write every day.
JaneB: no check-in
JLiedl: no check-in
John Spence: (a) index 20 pages; (b) finish reviewing a possible source for my edition.
kiwi2: To finish my analysis for Paper Z. And to do my revisions on Paper X this week, to keep my collaborator in touch and interested in this paper. I have yet more marking to do this coming week, so one challenge will be to keep that under control and make time for the writing.
kiwimedievalist: Academic: revise article and resubmit. Non-academic, get the books out of the library, before my card expires!!
Kris: Write up the introduction and theoretical framework sections.
luolin88: Write or edit for half hour on Monday and Friday; take 30 minutes on Wednesday to think about conference paper coming up so I can get Interlibrary Loan requests in if necessary.
Matilda: finish the first draft.
meansomething: 1) an hour on the lyric essay; 2) 5 12-minute sessions on poems; 3) one submission.
metheist: write every day.
Notorious Ph.D.: Finish up researching and writing the Big Background, and read at least three items (1 book + two articles) for “cities” sections.
nwgirl: no check-in
Pika: get instructions for this smaller proposal from the funding agency website.
Pilgrim/Heretic: 2500 words. And a bonus celebration if I make it.
Premodern: Clear other things off my desk: 2 stacks of papers and another set of midterms, final versions of pre-tenure review materials (due the week after), a couple of grant applications. If I can get some reading in for the article, great, but otherwise this will have to be my reboot week.
rented life: work on book 3 times. Continue reading book D. Record as needed.
Salimata:  read 1 book and 2 articles I need for conference paper, write notes; plus find/organize older notes that might be useful.
Sapience: no check-in
Sisyphus: 1) finish the outlining and 2) reorganize paragraph 6. And then figuring out what is vaguely “off” about the rest of the paragraph order.
sophylou:  do some writing every day.
tracynicholrose: Finish TS edits; finish notes on P&P paper; final memo on BE analysis.
Trapped in Canadia: write the conference paper and make it brilliant so I can get a job and get out of adjunct hell.
Undine (Not of General Interest): 1500 words.
What Now?: Spend time this weekend sorting out my evidence and outline and prepping for my writing sessions during the week. Then, write at least three days (ideally before school), and aim for another 1,000 words.
Widgeon: Write the comment for the conference I am also presenting at this week. Complete (or possibly abandon) the powerpoint.
Z (Mictlantecuhtli/Profacero): Continue using research blocks as planned.

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155 thoughts on “Sept-Dec 2012 Writing Group, Week 9 check-in

  1. Last week’s goal: Spend time this weekend sorting out my evidence and outline and prepping for my writing sessions during the week. Then, write at least three days (ideally before school), and aim for another 1,000 words.

    Accomplished: Done! Spent a couple of hours on the weekend going through my notes and labeling them by topics/categories. Then, I wrote 1229 words, working three mornings before school.

    Commentary: Putting in some planning time ahead of my writing time helped. I don’t know whether the writing itself is better (I’m avoiding going back and reading any of it yet), but it certainly felt better and came more smoothly.

    Next week’s goal: Three days of writing before school, at least 1000 words. “Prep” the writing ahead of time — either in one fell swoop on the weekend or on the night before.

  2. Look at me doing the glowing-forehead dance! I think this is the first time I’ve ever set a big fat goal because I thought I had time to do it, and actually got there. Last week’s goal: 2500 words.

    Accomplished: 2540! Yippee! The best thing was coming here to check in, because I’d completely forgotten that I’d promised myself an extra celebration. I think I will lounge in bed until noon tomorrow with the last couple of weekend’s worth of New York Timeses.

    So it’s funny that the week’s topic is about self-punishment, because I am finding that setting reachable goals and celebrating them is SO MUCH MORE effective for me. I don’t do a lot of self-punishment, because that very quickly makes me hate what I’m working on and associate it with failure. Dame Eleanor’s point that you can’t change the past but you can change the future really resonates with me.

    However: I did the big push this week because next week I will be Overcome By Students. One of the big things I’ve learned here is the importance of momentum and writing a little bit every day, so I’ll try to keep that up, but I’m only aiming at 500 words for next week. Every little bit counts.

    1. Enjoy your celebration!!

      I totally agree that setting reachable goals is a better plan of attack.I write better and think better when I am not weighed down by negative pressure to perform. And I too have been learning about small goals for momentum. Its great.

    2. I totally agree with you about setting more realistic goals and then celebrating reaching them. Recreational reading in bed – what a perfect reward!

    3. Hooray for the glowing forehead dance! (Wait, does that have anything to do with the Tale of Taliesin? I remember “Behold the radiant forehead!” being shouted in reference to Taliesin.)

      1. Oh for pete’s sake, I’m not only repeating myself, but doing so stupidly! (In my defense, I don’t think I got the notice of those follow-up comments. Or, just blame exploding head month.)

      2. P/H — LOL, now I will *never* forget this exchange, since the image of Taliesin doing the Snoopy dance with a radiant forehead is *awesome*. I think we should add — in re: your other comment — the battle cry of “I Suffice!”

    4. Congrats on accomplishing such a big goal–and for realizing when you could set a big goal and reasonably expect to accomplish it as opposed to setting it for an OBS-week. Good luck with that, too!

  3. Sorry for not checking in last week! I was out of town, and when I came back my RSS feed was so full, I just marked everything “read”–and so forgot to check in, because that’s how I keep track of this.

    Last Week’s Goals (roughly): job market applications. Lots and lots of job market applications.

    Accomplished: 25 job applications total (that’s probably a two or three week total, but most were done this week).

    Analysis: Wow, job applications are way more time intensive than they need to be. And even more draining than personalizing every letter is dealing with an improperly working Interfolio system, filling out the same forms over and over, etc.

    Next week’s goals: well, we’re expecting a major hurricane, and if last year was any indication, we’re likely to be without power or internet for at least a few days. So, between now and whenever that happens, I want to get the next batch of letters done and sent. If I don’t lose power, I want to try and write a conference proposal. (I’m keeping this goal conservative because I will have a lot of grading next week.)

    1. Wow, I cannot even conceive of having to do 25 applications in one week. Eek on the hurricane – hope it doesn’t turn out to be too major. Where I live we have earthquakes but no hurricanes. I’m not sure which is worse. I guess with hurricanes you should at least get some prior warning.

    2. Job applications are also emotionally draining because you have to keep reconfiguring yourself as the Best Candidate in every different scenario. It can take a toll.

    3. Like Bavardess, I’m blown away by the number of job apps! Good luck sending off more this week.

  4. Last week’s goal: To finish my analysis for Paper Z. And to do my revisions on Paper X this week, to keep my collaborator in touch and interested in this paper. I have yet more marking to do this coming week, so one challenge will be to keep that under control and make time for the writing.

    Accomplished: On Paper Z, nothing. I looked at the revisions on Paper X, and couldn’t quite get it together. However, I did work a whole day (and a bit more) on my 3rd overall goal, on Paper Y. Mostly, this was reading relevant literature and considering the construction of my introduction. It progressed slowly, but it is a necessary part of the work for this paper.

    Next goal: To be brave. To attempt my analysis for Paper Z and spend at least a day on it.

    Commentary: I changed tack this week, and decided to commit to my research the first two days of the week, and let my marking pile up until the last three days. This way, I thought, I wouldn’t get so overwhelmed and into a lethargic frame of mind. I am really glad I did this. I felt as though I was prioritising my own values in research. Probably sounds a bit mad. . .
    Nonetheless, I found myself resistant to working on my stated goals. Rather than fight this, I decided to give myself a bit of space and moved on to a different but important writing goal that didn’t feel so ‘heavy’. This strategy of work self- deception, where I achieved research and writing time without feeling as though I was ‘working’, resulted in a reasonably productive week. Delaying the marking worked well for me too.
    As for sunk costs, I think this is what we learn about as the Concorde Fallacy in conservation biology. As in the Concorde airplane that cost millions and millions of pounds/ francs, and even when it was evident that it would not be anything great, they kept on going anyway on the basis of past money spent. . . My best way of coming to terms with current frustration and the tendency to beat myself up, and psych myself into moving forward, is a good session of cathartic exercise! This really does it for me. Endorphins.

    1. I think the ‘pay yourself first’ strategy works as well with research/writing as it does with money. I, too, tend to save marking for times when I’m too tired for any more intensive research work or for when I only have small blocks of time available.
      +1 on the exercise as catharsis!

      1. Oh, I love thinking of research/writing as “pay yourself first.” That’s brilliant. I’ve done the same thing in terms of working mornings and especially the first part of the week – the marking tends to fill up whatever time I give it, so it’s important NOT to give it the whole week. It still gets done in the end.

    2. Today was one of those days I wrote first, and didn’t resent all of the teaching-related writing I had to do the rest of the day. Much more manageable. I hope you find more ways to be kind to yourself.

  5. Goals: Academic: revise article and resubmit. Non-academic, get the books out of the library, before my card expires!!

    Achieved: As usual, because I had something academic to do, I managed to get the books for my ‘fiction’ out of the library, but only got as far as printing my article and the comments.

    Next goal: Academic: revise article and resubmit. Non-academic: make notes from books, and plan for NANOWRIMO. Write at least 500 words a day on ideas, themes etc for the book.

    Analysis: I am expert at beating myself up, so this was a good thing to be pondering. As I work on moving away from academia, there is plenty to consider as sunk costs, but there are also lots of things to be rebranded. Such as my current interest in Crusades, and discovering how much fun I’m having reading these texts, which suggests that I needed a change of topic.

    1. yay fiction! I still have a lot of reading to do, but I’ll write anyway and the reading notes can fill in the holes (or errors!) later.

    2. I love your idea of being a medieval fiction writer. Probably because I love reading it! Good luck with it.

    3. I also think your move to fiction is very exciting! I’ve often thought about trying to get a fiction text going to work on while I do the PhD (rather than waiting until after the PhD). I could work on it as productive procrastination and it might even motivate me to conduct more detailed research.

      1. Oh, and I think it’s awesome that you’re doing NANOWRIMO! I have a friend who is a total proponent of NANO. She published her first novel a few years ago, and it was the product (plus revision) of her first NANOWRIMO book. You go!

  6. Goal:
    Write or edit for half hour on Monday and Friday.
    Take 30 minutes on Wednesday to think about conference paper coming up so I can get interlibrary loan requests in if necessary.
    Go to bed early enough to get at least 7 hours of sleep.

    Accomplished:
    30 minutes on article Monday, about 40 going over conference paper notes and resources on Wednesday, nothing on Friday.
    I did well with the sleep plan until Wednesday night.

    Analysis:
    I was overcome by grading this week, so I am mainly happy to have gotten done what I did on Monday and Friday. Still, it takes work not to beat myself up about having wasted the bit of time that I did have available today.

    For next week, I need to hold on to my optimism that the article seems to be coming together. This weekend is way to busy, so I want to be proactive about needing some recovery time on Monday, but also having a specific plan to follow. This morning I was too fatigued to get past vague thoughts of “so much to do! what first? go in circles indecisively, then focus on missing piece of kids’ Halloween costume!”

    It’s a larger-scale version of the feeling I get if I don’t choose clothes the night before and end up trying to figure out what to wear at 6 am and taking forever, just because I’m so tired.

    Next Goal: 30 mins Monday and Friday

    1. It’s starting to sound like you are a person who does well with a lot of structure (which can be hard to arrange with children in the picture) but also gets rebellious if plans are too constricting. I’m also like that. I find it very hard to get back to work if my planned day has been interrupted by some urgent thing. Can you work out not just a specific task for your writing times but also a Plan B so that if you’re too tired or don’t feel like doing the main thing you can do something else useful and feel okay about that?

    2. Hurray for sleep…it really does make a difference in so many ways. Glad to hear you are keeping up with so many things.

  7. Goal: Keep doing research blocks as planned (cutting down their size if necessary).

    Accomplished: The goal, cutting down the size.

    Commentary: It is good, but I wanted more time. It is possible I may not get the 2.5 hours total per weekday I want in 1 block of time per day, although theoretically that is how it will best fit in. I need to fit in more, smaller blocks, morning and evening blocks probably.

    Beating up for not working: a very timely question, as I have been thinking about precisely this this week. When I first stopped working, I knew it was because there was Something Up, so I didn’t beat myself up. Then I decided it was due to Laziness, Procrastination, or Not Knowing How To Work so I started beating myself up. Then, I *really* could not work because I associated *working* with abuse — if, for instance, I did something like open the PMLA, I literally could not stop “hearing” the litany of nasty things which could be said about the horror of not doing anything work related like that more often. It is really shocking how disabled I was and also how rough I was on myself, and how these things fed into each other. But, the error was in thinking it was about writing — it was about academic work in general. Once I figured this out I started to be able to unravel things better.

  8. P.S. Next goal: same as last time, a research block a day, but try to do it without getting behind on grading, sleep, recreation,<p etc. Also, given that blocks of 2.5 hours are not usually happening, try to get the 2.5 hours per weekday by having 1 hour in morning and 1.5 in evening.

    P.P.S. Further analysis: I really need a more stable place to work, I have decided. Both office and house are in transitional states of space usage and will have to remain so until the semester ends but over Christmas this all has to stabilize so I can really write.

    1. Place is very important and I think is often underestimated. We have a romantic idea that writing can be done anywhere, since all you need is paper and pen (or laptop). But we not only need room to spread out books and notes or drafts, we also need a place that feels calm and supportive of intellectual work. I can feel a physical change come over me when I walk into one of the Bodleian reading rooms, as I relax and focus in a place where all anyone has done for centuries is read and write.

      1. Idea that you can write anywhere, romantic, I like that! People always tell me it is romantic to think you have to be comfortable, and that it is easier at the Bodleian or similar for the reasons you state, etc. They say caring about place is conspiring to procrastinate and realism and actual commitment to field entails not caring. (Then they will turn around and say not having the right expensive desk is also not caring.) This all, I see, is on the theme of being beaten up about research!

    2. I’m with you on place. I haven’t worked in my office for a couple weeks because it exploded with books and articles, and I haven’t had time to sort it all out. I manage to move from room to room in my house until there’s nowhere tidy left. Then I do a major cleaning and can start over.

      1. I read recently that some tech company pays to have employees’ homes cleaned twice a month. Fabulous fringe benefits! I can’t seem to carve out enough time lately to do the massive cleaning required. And there’s nowhere tidy left here either.

    3. I agree that place in important. It’s as much about *dedicated* space as anything (some of us don’t mind mess). When I was in grad school and couldn’t afford more than a one bedroom apartment, my “office” was half of the living room, but I very deliberately divided the relaxing/living space from the working space with the couch. And then along the back of the couch I put a two-shelf bookcase to further divide it. And like Dame E., I get tons done in research libraries set up for lots of visitors — The British Library is my favorite overseas because of the lovely, ample desk space and the buzz of industrious study it has in the summer. And I have a friend who drives 45 minutes up the road from Rust Belt to work at the nearest R1 university graduate library for the same reason.

      But if the issue for you is clutter rather than a lack of definition, can you work a little bit on all of that now, 5 minutes a day, rather than waiting for Christmas? I know, easier said that done, of course.

      1. It’s not clutter, it is place and vibe. I will reorganize office for certain hours and a corner of the dining room table for others, and drive to the closest research library Saturdays.

    4. I was shopping for a new computer yesterday, and the guy was trying to talk me into a desktop. He kept saying it sounded like I didn’t need a laptop. He didn’t seem to “get” the need to move from desk, to dining room table, to coffee shop, to campus, etc.

  9. Apologies for the no check-in last week. I have actually been making some good progress though.

    My last posted goals were:

    Finish revising article per supervisors’ feedback and figure out where I’m going to send it first; Read a couple of important theory articles for my proposal.

    Achieved:
    Article revisions are done and it is out with a couple of ‘friendly’ readers for final feedback before I submit it. I’ve identified my number one journal pick, read through all the submission guidelines, and put my article draft into their document template/house style.
    Read the theory articles plus a bunch more reading/note-taking
    Marked a bunch of undergrad essays

    Commentary:
    I generally avoid daily to-do lists because I’m persistently unrealistic about how much I can get done and then I beat myself up if I don’t cross everything off. The list starts to become something to guilt myself with instead of a tool for productivity. However, I have been making steady progress over the last few weeks by having a list of general things I want to work on over the week (e.g. ‘article’, ‘proposal writing’, ‘secondary reading’, ‘note-taking’ etc.), and then tracking how much time I spend on each one. I feel like this gives me more freedom than a set to-do list and I get a sense of accomplishment seeing the hours add up over the week. (I make checkmarks in a paper diary right in front of me on my desk for every 30 minutes I do.) For me, as soon as anything starts to feel too defined and prescriptive, I don’t want to do it, so I guess I learned to stop punishing myself by just accepting that and finding a different way to work.

    Next week’s goal:
    Work on fleshing out the theoretical framework section of my proposal and incorporate new material
    Apply to attend February postgrad workshop
    Tidy the garden/patio area outside my study – it got totally overgrown over the winter and is now driving me crazy every time I look out the french doors (right opposite my desk)

    1. Bingo – spotted another southern-hemisphere-dweller! I’ve been slowly getting my garden into shape, in the hopes of a good, fruitful summer. It’s much easier to work when you have something green to look at!

      Have fun with the theoretical framework – that’s always my least-favourite bit.

    2. Your time-tracking method is one that Julie Morgenstern recommends for people with non-standard schedules (http://www.juliemorgenstern.com/Products_Books_TMIO.php), and it sounds like it works well for you. On normal to-do lists, Dr. Crazy declares victory if she’s done 60% of the items (I think—can’t find the post), and that made a big difference to me, realizing that I could set the point at which I think I’ve done enough. After all, as long as we’re alive and engaged with stuff, there will always be More To Do, and if the alternative is sitting around in a nursing home looking forward to basket weaving class, I’ll take the bulging to-do lists.

      1. “There will always be More To Do”… no kidding. I like the 60% idea a lot – the few times I’ve actually gotten close to the end of a to-do list, it freaks me out in an existential way, like I’m afraid time will stop, or I will simply poof into nothingness, if there are no longer things To Do.

    3. I used to track time spent on things like this, in part because I went to graduate school from having been a paralegal, where such time-tracking if required for billing. Then I found it useful when we were trying to unionize the TAs, because I could give my data to the union and say, “No, really, this English TA is working *way* more than 20 hours a week.” Haven’t done it in awhile. Doing something like that might keep me off the internet — I may take it up again. Thanks for the inspiration!

    4. That’s fantastic that you got the revisions finished for the article! I need to do that to an article, but it’s difficult to face since I really think I need to do a lot to make it better. And I really like your tracking idea. It’s kind of like backforming a to-do list. I might try it!

  10. Goals for last week: 1) Ch2Article to book editor (finally!), 2) rework Ch 2–mashup article with new good chapter stuff that didn’t fit in, 3) Ch 3: 5 tasks, 4) read one book for Ch. 4.

    Accomplished: 1) YES!!! Article submitted! (though I have yet to get confirmation from the editor, so I need to check in on that.) 2) I got about 1/4 of the way done. 3) nope, 4) nada.

    Goals for next week: 1) finish Ch2 mashup and send to writing partner. 2) 5 tasks for Ch. 3, 3) start a book for Ch 4.

    Commentary: This was a perfect week to not beat myself up. I used to a lot, but in the last six months or so I seem to have recognized how much less progress I make when I focus on lost time. Since I’m gunning for a deadline, it somehow seems easier to think about how to get where I want to be from this point, rather than dwelling on the past.

    This week I was OBE–Overwhelmed by EVERYTHING! I didn’t schedule the recovery time I’d need from the article push last week. And I ended up spending a lot of work time at my kids’ school observing classes (something that had to be done, and there’s really no good time for it). I did, however, manage to spend a couple of my work days commenting on and editing an article draft for my writing partner. It made me feel semi-productive, and it put me in the mindset to evaluate argument and structure. By Friday, I decided to cut my losses, enjoy the busy (but fun) weekend ahead, and try to get in gear for a great work week next week. I do have a niggling sense of guilt about setting undone work aside, but I need to squash that. Onward!

    1. Yes, yay to the article submission! And I’m glad you’re letting yourself have the recovery time that you need. Hope the weekend was, indeed, fun!

  11. I missed check in last week. My apologies for bailing. Last weekend was a blur. Mr. NWG took a significant step forward in a church-related commitment. Very proud of him for this.

    Along with the good came the bad. One of my professional mentors died suddenly last week. So it was a weekend of celebration and mourning and very little writing.

    I’m OBE and trying hard not to beat myself up for flailing around and accomplishing little. So it’s time for re-boot mode. I’ve started making lists and will spend time this weekend focusing on getting back on track with the writing.

    This week’s goal: a). print out revised chapter one; b). begin work on revising chapter 3 (one hour of work on teaching days and four hours on non-teaching days); c). review remaining two chapters that I had hoped to revise this semester to decide whether I need to adjust schedule; d). review other writing commitments scheduled for this semester.

  12. Last week’s goals: Review document entirely done (as much as possible) by Monday. Grant proposal #2 fully revised into good-enough state on Monday and uploaded. Then extras: EOCP sent to journal. Results of Study 1 attacked with a practical eye so that I can do Study 3. If still no baby, Study 3 sent to collaborator, Grant proposal #2 made better.

    Accomplished: Three first ones done; an additional data-collection goal also done. Study 1 results not done.

    Analysis: NO BABY. STILL NO BABY. I caught myself getting too obsessive about the last edit of the EOCP paper before submission, since I decided to submit first to a higher-end journal; this seemed to prime all of my perfectionistic tendencies and I suddenly “realized” that the paper was a piece of *&%$. Luckily I caught myself, plus had another maybe-baby scare, and got myself to send off the imperfect draft. I’m trying to take the advice quoted by JaneB in the last writing group– “don’t wait until you think your work is finished to submit it. Submit it when you think it’s OK and you’ll be much more open to taking on board criticism, comments and suggestions, because you already KNEW it needed another round of revising.” It’s frustrating to have these articles always hanging around, waiting for more polish.

    But: hey, a good-enough grant proposal and good-enough article were sent out; not bad. I hope I can keep it up!

    Next week’s goals: … produce baby. If still waiting, on Monday, create more jobs to send to RAs; next, get over the illogical perfectionistic hangup over Study 1 that’s preventing me from moving forward.

    1. Congrats on getting the grant proposal and article off! It sounds like you’ve tied up most of your loose ends. Here’s to a quick and safe delivery (but not too quick).

    2. Wishing you all the best for a good delivery, and congrats for getting the article out of the door before the baby comes.

  13. Last week: get instructions for this smaller proposal from the funding agency website.

    Accomplished: no.

    Analysis: am not surprised, I was completely swamped with teaching. Our large undergrad courses are subdivided into three-week long intensive blocks, which means several hours of lectures/labs every day. This is the first week of my block, so unsurprisingly I had no time for anything else.
    I do actually quite like this system, because then I know that I’ll be out for everything else for these three weeks and don’t have to listen to my guilt when I don’t accomplish other stuff.

    Goal for next week: given that it’s the second week of my intensive teaching block, I’ll keep it to the same level as last week (and hopefully manage to do it): get instructions for this smaller proposal from the funding agency website.

  14. Last Week: write every day.

    Accomplished: no, not even close.

    Analysis: What amazes me most is that I joined this writing group to keep me accountable for my writing. What it has turned into is a safe emotional place for my first semester of teaching full time. The topic of self-punishment is so timely for me. I took action to have the disruptive TA removed from my class. It is not pretty, but it is definitely necessary. I did not realize how much I was allowing her harassment (I now understand when people mean about work-place harassment and bullying) affect my own relationship with the students. This, combined with a syllabus that I was handed and could not change, resulted in a lot of personal issues for me and the class. I did a mid-term evaluation with my students and was completely annihilated in 3 out of the 4 classes. So, I obsessed all day yesterday, last night, and part of this morning about what to do. And then I read these posts, and realized to cut my losses, fix what I can, stop obsessing about the past, and stop caring so much. See, I listen 🙂 Thank you.

    Goal for next week: Do the best that I can to get my ideas down on paper. So write something, no matter what or how much, every day.

    1. Wow – good for you for doing whatever it took to get rid of your disruptive TA! Those situations are so awful and so hard to fix. So, the class can only get better now. Good luck!

    2. I’ve done those mid-semester reboots for teaching before, and it can make a huge difference. Here’s to a more positive second half.

    3. Good for you for cutting your losses and taking action! Here’s to a better second half of the term.

    4. Workplace bullying leaves scars–be sure to keep in touch with the people and places that cheer you on, instead of those who make you feel bad about yourself. So good to hear that you have freed yourself from that abuse.

    5. Thanks everyone. I usually do midterm evals and change things up when I can. Hopefully this will help improve things.

    6. To echo what everyone else has said: really impressed that you took action on the TA issue, did the midterm evals, and also decided not to care *too* much about what you can’t fix anymore, and just fix what you can. I need more of that attitude myself! (Also first time teaching FT here)

  15. Sorry to miss last week’s check-in but I was giving my keynote. Yay! *tosses confetti*

    Goal for next week: finish revisions on accepted chapter

    Goodness gracious but I do get on my own case for not getting enough done. My blog suffers because, if I have enough time to blog, surely I have enough time to do something more important. Like all that grading? Or the revisions on my chapter? Or editing another piece for the current volume? Or cleaning! I’ve almost given up all of the hobbies that I enjoy – needlework, fiction-writing, scrapbooking, rowing and riding – because I just don’t believe that I can justify the time away from what has to be done. *sigh*

    1. 😦 That’s a tough cycle to get out of. My husband had taken a class on therapy and philosophy and one day the instructor talked about being enough. He asked them to tell themselves “I am enough,” when they got into these cycles. It’s hard to give ourselves permission that we’re doing enough. We have to live too–hobbies, etc. (Besides. Cleaning, is overrated!)

    2. Congrats for the keynote!

      And I think that, to keep us sane, it’s important to allow time for the fun stuff. Otherwise ‘work’, whether writing or teaching, becomes the enemy, and we resent it because we aren’t allowed to do what we want to do. Give yourself half a day, or an evening, to relax!

  16. Last week’s goal: (a) index 20 pages; (b) finish reviewing a possible source for my edition.

    Accomplished: (a) indexed 35 pages! (b) finished reviewing the possible source.

    Next week’s goal: (a) index 20 pages; (b) write up some information about features of the language in the text.

    Commentary: I had more time to work in the evening this week which helped with indexing – and I seem to be moving a bit faster so that is good! Having the check-in is still a really helpful motivation.

  17. Last week’s goals: Finish TS edits; finish notes on P&P paper; final memo on BE analysis.

    Accomplished: Completed final (hopefully) memo on BE analysis; worked a lot on TS edits but not done; haven’t touched P&P paper.

    Analysis: As usual, when I thought I only had a few minor edits left on the TS paper I realized that was not the case. It is improving, which is what is important, but not ready to go to co-authors yet. I spent most of the week getting caught up/ahead on teaching and dissertating students as I am leaving for a conference in Montreal tomorrow.

    Next week’s goals: I’m not checking in next week as I’ll just be getting back from Montreal. My only goal is to present my paper at the conference and hopefully learn something new. And to see some of Montreal and have fun with colleagues and my husband (who is joining me there).

    I used to beat myself up a lot when I couldn’t get papers out the door in the way that I wanted. Last year I put a lot of effort in getting a bunch of papers submitted and received almost complete rejections every single time. While I can take some rejection, it was an overwhelming amount. I also realized I didn’t enjoy writing the papers. So now I’m taking a different approach. The papers take as long as they take and they don’t go out until I’m happy with them. If they still get rejected, so be it. At least I will have enjoyed the process.

  18. 1. Last week’s goal: Write at least 632 words on article O. Touch it every day for at least half-an-hour.

    2. Accomplished. Yes, and yes. 🙂 I wrote 639 words so far, and there is still tomorrow.

    3. Analysis: I was much better at making myself stop the computer game after only a few minutes. I interspersed things like walking to the vending machine for a bottle of water, or perusing the new book shelf, as small rewards instead of sinking back into surfing the internet or playing the game. I also was nicer to myself, looking at the half-full rather than the half-empty glass.

    4. Next week’s goal. I’m also in the path of Hurricane Sandy, so I may have to work by candlelight, but even so I want to:

    Write at least 650 words on article O. Touch it every day for at least half an hour.

    Wow, sunk costs and self-punishment. I used to have a black belt in getting in my own way, although I’ve become a little better in the last few years. I had to work through whether I wanted to finish the dissertation merely because of the time and effort invested in it. I’m still doing it because I enjoy it, but if that ever changes, I now know the nomenclature with which to assess it.

    1. “I used to have a black belt in getting in my own way…” LOVE that, I think that describes what I’ve been doing to myself, especially over the summer.

    2. I hope that the storm doesn’t hit you too hard, but I am also struck by how *romantic* (see Z’s comment up top) writing by candelight sounds. Good luck with all!

  19. Last goal: work on book 3 times. Continue reading book D. Record as needed.

    Accomplished: Worked twice for very short periods. Cleared out desk! (Why do I keep needing to do that?)

    Analysis: Husband was awesome and shared whatever the hell it was he brought home from work, complete with fever and full body aches. Fevers for both of us have gone, but the aches, stuffiness, and tiredness and still chilling out with us. I spent the first half of the week taking care of him-he got it worse-and the rest taking care of me. I also reorganized my course so that it eats up a little less of my time, so that was helpful.

    I loved N&M’s piece on sunk costs–it was pretty helpful for looking at a few things in my life right now. I do beat myself when I’m not doing “enough” and always worry about doing “enough” (not just with writing, either). I’m chatty though, so I tend to verbalize this and husband reminds me that no one is asking me to do more and I need to let things happen. I’m not great with that but I’m working on it. And I bookmarked the sunk costs posts for times I need a reminder.

    New goal: work on book 3 times. Continue reading book D. Record as needed.

      1. Yes, the shoulds and coulds aren’t helpful!
        I recently pieced together that my perfectionism/desire to be perfect is why I struggle with starting and finishing anything. If I don’t start or never finish, it always has a chance at being perfect, because it’s still perfect in my head. I never worried about colleagues finding out I’m not perfect, but I don’t know if that’s because I hear that more from people who did the PhD thing, and I didn’t…or if it’s because I could just see my co-workers flaws and didn’t feel they were superior to me in a negative way. (My area of study was different than everyone else in my department–that helps I suppose.)

    1. You’ve lit the lightbulb over my head. “Still perfect in my head” is exactly what I do. I’ve told people I’m afraid of failure AND success, and they merely call the men from the funny farm. It is only perfect in my head–that explains it all.

      1. Glad I could help! I read it on a blog I randomly came across and can no longer find. Seeing it put like that was a “oh! That’s it!” moment for me too. I totally get what you’re saying.

  20. Last week’s goal:Work on J article on 2-3 days, even if for a short period of time.
    Accomplished:nothing (at least not on any of the above)

    Analysis:Grading is really piling up; church work continues to be time consuming (and hard on regular-schedule-keeping efforts to boot); some events and conversations brought some tricky emotions to the fore for a day or two. I’m coping, but fitting in even brief writing sessions is hard. I did make the decision to cut back a bit on the freelance work for the next few weeks, but, given the fact that the next few weeks are also horrendously busy, with days that are usually available for writing/work at home claimed for other things, that may just be a way of staving off complete meltdown.

    Goal for next week: Try again, more modestly, since next week has several days that are usually available for work at home occupied: Work on J article on at least one, even if for a short period of time.

    On beating oneself up: I used to, a lot, mostly because I tended to set unrealistic goals (or, in the case of the dissertation, to accept/internalize others’ unrealistic goals). I’ve gotten much better at realizing both what I *can* realistically do, and that external circumstances really do matter, while, I hope, realizing that giving too much power to external circumstances can become a trap in itself. At the moment, the trickiest external circumstance when it comes to writing/research is probably the fact that it’s very hard to tell which of various kinds of writing projects is most likely to lead to a more satisfying job (which would be one that gave me more time for writing and research). Strictly academic writing (which I’m quite happy doing) *might* lead to a more research-intensive academic job, but it also very well might not, and it doesn’t pay anything. Trying to move more in the direction of a combination of various kinds of freelance writing/more popular writing might eventually lead in the direction of making that my main livelihood (or at least a semi-retirement job), and such work brings in much- needed money right now to supplement an inadequate academic salary, but at least the kind of writing I’m doing at the moment doesn’t add much to an academic c.v. (moving strictly from freelance-assigned-by-others to popular writing proposed by me to editors might help a bit with this tradeoff, but not completely). I’m not sure there’s much I can do about this conundrum, except to realize it exists, and keep weighing my options, and making sure that I’m making choices consciously at any one point.

    I also need to control what I can control in the way of context/external circumstances, and, at the moment, I know I could be doing a better job of getting into some sort of regular sleep and exercise routine, and that that would support improvement in other areas. I don’t want to beat myself up about that, but I think a little more strictness with myself in this area wouldn’t hurt (and would eventually count as being kind to myself).

    1. “On beating oneself up: I used to, a lot, mostly because I tended to set unrealistic goals (or, in the case of the dissertation, to accept/internalize others’ unrealistic goals). I’ve gotten much better at realizing both what I *can* realistically do, and that external circumstances really do matter”—these are key realizations.

      There can be a fine line, too, between finding inspiration in others and using them to beat oneself up. “If she can do it, I can do it” is one thing, and “if she can do it, why can’t I?” is another. I have repeatedly wandered over that line. But the external circumstances are something that romantic accounts of writers achieving in difficult circumstances tend to suppress. In fact, such achievement usually comes either because someone else is doing all the support work (cleaning, supplying food, and so on) or because the writer perforce gives up on these basic tasks.

      1. Yes! I have spent much too much time over that line. I also internalized other people’s career goals as my own. Ooops.

      2. Another oops here: I just realized that it had never even occurred to me that instead of thinking “if she can do it, why can’t I” I could think instead “if she can do it, I can do it.” That’s clearly a much better thought, though!

    2. I am always amazed by the different things you have on your plate (and the healthy portions of each of them!). I am impressed by the fact that you are pursuing academic work AND freelance work. With all of your commitments, I hope you are often kind to yourself.

  21. Last goals: finishing the draft for the conference on November 3rd.

    Achieved: not yet.

    Analysis: though I am still on the way to go, but I’m not so depressed or disappointed at what I have been doing than I was last week . I have realized that at least I have something to say, though maybe it is only a little thing, but it has not been yet analysed as I am doing, I think, and anyway, I’ll do what I can do within the 5 days.

    Next goal: do presentation as good as possible

    Self-punishment, no I don’t do that. I used to blame myself quite often, but recently when some disappointing result comes up, I think I know really well if the reason of that is I have been lazy or wrong. What I need to do then is not punish myself but consider what to do to improve the situation. The problem is, I think I usually understand the situation and analyse it quite correctly and think up some solution, but I usually fail to follow the solution…

    1. Glad to hear that you’re feeling better about things; and yes, you can only do the presentation as best as you can. Wishing good luck and good feedback!

  22. Last Goal: print out article and read through closely. Mark what needs to be changed and make those changes.

    Achieved: All of it.

    Commentary: Amstr’s method is great and I think it’s just what I needed to be able to benchmark progress when 500 words a day no longer works. Thanks Amstr for your writing tips! As far as beating myself up, I don’t really do that anymore. I think I have a feel for how long it takes me to get certain things done. I used to feel that I worked slowly and I still think that I do. But now I just consider my pace to be mine. In recognizing my pace, I also realize that I have to do a little everyday. Afterall, slow and steady wins the race (so they say).

    Next Goal: Rearrange sections of paper to accommodate recent epiphany. Add one more paragraph to the conclusion. Begin the bibliography and endnotes.

  23. Last week’s goal: finish the draft part of that 2500-word essay, maybe start revising it, and start something on the review essay.

    Accomplished: *nearly* all of it. Technically, I have 2700 words, but I haven’t finished the content of the essay, so I didn’t really finish the draft and didn’t yet start revising it. But I did outline what I want to do on the review essay, so Huzzah!

    Next week: *really* finish the draft of the 2500-word essay, which requires re-watching a streaming video of a live performance, as well as writing. Since the bit I need for my essay is after the intermission of a 4-hour performance and there’s no fast forward (d’oh!), I think I may put it on with low volume while I grade or read at some other time. Hooray for multi-tasking! Given that, I think I’ll leave off other writing tasks for next week.

    On beating oneself up: These days I’m pretty good at getting in what I can manage,” and accepting “what I can manage” as good enough. I think I mostly beat myself up for goals not met over summers and sabbaticals. I’ll need to work on that this summer.

    1. Ohmygosh – all the discussion of not beating ourselves up, and particularly this phrase “accepting what I can manage,” has just reminded me of one of our catch-phrases from grad school. One of the PhD advisers was particularly known for her high standards and stern demeanor, so that you could *never* expect a word of praise. Consequently, though, we decided that reaching her absolute minimum expectations was therefore an admirable achievement – and our rallying cry of competence and encouragement became “I Suffice!”

      I think I need to dust that one off again.

      1. Well, yes, but it annoyed me when I realized I couldn’t just fast-forward to what I needed when I needed it. I do *want* to watch this performance again, but I wasn’t prepare for all four hours of it (or even 2 of those hours) when I was writing!

  24. last goal: write every day

    accomplished: 4/7 days

    next goal: continuing to write every day with warm up for AcWriMo

    commentary: The prompts this week were like pulling my head out of the sand. I continue to be surprised that no one has written a book about my diss subject, and it’s time that instead of being naively surprised by that, I use that to push myself to focus on the project before someone gets it published before I do. And I have wasted a lot of time lately berating myself and being angry with myself, and I so need to get out of my own way. I didn’t realize how much I was beating myself up until the questions was posed.

    I’ve committed to writing 500 words a day for AcWriMo, so I’ve been keeping track of my time and word count to get a sense of work habits. In this major revision phase, I’ve been deleting as much as I’m writing so my first goal is to just have a positive word count! I have also gratefully taken Dame Eleanor’s orders of writing in the morning. Seriously improves the quality of the day.

  25. I’m at work for the entire day today so don’t expect to get anything further done today — maybe tonight.

    Goal only met at beginning of week (though I did meet a secondary goal and scheduled a research day to be out of the office). I am dealing with a situation beyond my control that is draining a huge amount of energy. Let’s just say that the next time I have to go to the ER/am suddenly hospitalized (not that I want that to happen again) I will make whomever read off my insurance number back to me — because the chaos that ensues when the hospital gives out an incorrect insurance number to 5 or 6 providers (and it takes months to figure out that that happened) is pretty bad. I have to call this week OBE.

    Goal for next week: think about how to integrate secondary material I read last night (or relegate it to another project!); do enough writing that I’m not ashamed to report here.

    Self-punishment: um, yes. I am not good at multitasking and I feel like my job involves so much multitasking at so many levels that I’m wiped out by the end of the day. Writing to me is single-tasking (yay!) but then I struggle with my brain deciding that it’s going to multi-task ANYWAY (“hey! look at that footnote! you need to read that article RIGHT NOW! go look it up! and check your email too!”) I wonder sometimes if I have undiagnosed ADD…

    One thing I miss about being an actual academic is the feeling that all the balls in the air are supposed to go in roughly the same direction, towards roughly the same larger goal/mission. I no longer have that feeling–work and writing balls often seem to be going in opposite directions, and I miss the relative clarity of most of the projects being on more or less the same page.

    1. Oh, ugh—sorry about your insurance-related OBE! I don’t know anything about ADD, but it certainly sounds like your job trains you against concentration, which sounds awful.

      1. When I first started teaching (4-4), a friend of mine and I used to call that state of mind “externally imposed ADD.” The term’s been running through my head a lot lately! 😉

        One good thing about a Sunday shift — they’ve been quiet this semester and I’m actually getting some reading done. (Ssssh!)

    2. Sophylou, that feeling that one is now juggling odd, mismatched objects (work and writing) versus all the matched balls of academia is a tough one. Externally imposed ADD indeed–apt description. I hope you can shave off bits of the odd objects so that they seem a bit more alike.

    3. “externally imposed ADD”–now that’s definitely something I recognize. haven’t found a good solution to it yet, but I will!

  26. Conference paper done! Hurray! (There will be revisions, I’m sure, but I at least felt good enough about it to send to my commentator.)

    I’m not setting any goals for this week because my entire state has a bullseye on it for Hurricane Sandy. My house is just barely outside of the evacuation area. Power is expected to go out at any time, so I think my goal is just to survive this. Monday’s classes have already been cancelled and it’s looking likely that Wednesday’s will be as well. Wish me luck!

    1. Congratulations on your paper! I’m sorry to hear about the hurricane, but keep yourself safe and sound.

  27. Last Goal: Write the comment for the conference I am also presenting at this week. Complete (or possibly abandon) the powerpoint.
    Accomplished: Just got home from the conference (thus the late post). All went well! All my conference papers are done!
    Next Goal: Three partial research days. Work through primary sources.
    Commentary: Now my three presentations are all done, I can focused more on working on the chapter/paper. I do have lots of family obligations in the near future with busy children and a visit to an ill parent. So I will simultaneously try to be kind to myself, while also sticking to a schedule. We’ll see. Stay safe in the storm everyone.

  28. Last goal: schedule 2 hours research/writing time every day.

    Accomplished: 2 days + a bit.

    Next goal: schedule 2 hours research/writing time every day.

    Analysis: The beginning of the week went fine. Wednesday had a meeting scheduled that ate into work time, but I did move the project forward that day by printing out a document. I’ve also started easing back into the translation work, finally. At the end of the week, I got sick, and next week I have a batch of appointments on non-teaching days, but through the week I will keep trying on the 2-hour goal. But I plan to spend the rest of the weekend drinking hot lemonade with whisky. Anyone who wants can join me and say it’s medicinal.

    1. DEH, I hope your medicinals are helping you recover. Is a mojito medicinal? That’s what I’m thinking of making this evening.

      Thanks again for all you do here!

    2. Mmm, hot lemonade with whisky. It’s hot here again, so I will raise my Jack and Coke with lots of ice to you. Feel better soon!

  29. Last goal: 1) an hour on the lyric essay; 2) 5 12-minute sessions on poems; 3) one submission.

    Accomplished: 1) 30 minutes on the lyric essay; 2) 5 12-minute sessions on poems, plus some extra; 3) one submission.

    Next week’s goal: 1) 30 minutes on the lyric essay; 2) 5 12-minute sessions on poems; 3) 30 minutes on a residency application that’s due in December.

    Analysis: Last week I was unhappy with how far short I fell of my goals. (I’ve been thinking about whether and how I punish myself. I think I do take my disappointment out on myself, but it’s often in rather subtle ways. I need to think some more and also read through the comments above for inspiration; I’m posting so late on Sunday that I am in a bit of a hurry!) Anyway, I tried to maximize my chances of meeting my goals by taking time and thought to plan how and when I’d squeeze in my writing this week. Nearly every bit of the plan I made went to hell, but I got most of the goals done anyway, mostly on both weekends. I actually got some decent work done, too–and I’m pleased to have another submission out. It’s not what I’d planned, but I’ll take it!

    1. Congrats on the submission and meeting other goals! I have not doing well with my 15-minutes sessions, but I think I can pick up with them again this week. Your similar small-chunk commitment is a great reminder and motivator to me. Thanks!

  30. Last week’s goals: four 15-minute sessions

    Accomplished: I don’t think so. It’s all a blur.

    Analysis: Things fell apart a bit this week. The center did not hold. I was so behind in grading and prep that, on Monday night, I stayed up until 3:00. That kind of ruined me for the rest of the week. I didn’t do my run Tuesday morning. I noticed some junk food cravings (from fatigue? lack of exercise?). I was irritable Tuesday evening. I spent the rest of the week doing service work to get ready for this coming week’s important event related to the college crisis. Friday afternoon, I helped my Girl with an American Girl Doll Halloween party. It’s was extremely fun but supplanted Friday morning and afternoon work time. Then, I celebrated my b-day yesterday, so I didn’t do a stitch of work.

    But I DID buy a new computer–my first Mac. It’s a Macbook Pro. I’m nervous about the time it will take to make the transition between computers. Even though it seems like an extra time suck, I think I’ll try to hit a training session (or two) at the Apple store over the next week to try to make the transition go more smoothly and quickly. And I bought SCRIVENER!!!!

    This coming week will be busy: service stuff, grading, Halloween (son is going as a naturalist, daughter is Cleopatra), etc. But I hope to get a few things done.

    Goals this week: Four 15-minutes sessions, do the Scrivener tutorial, take a training session on my new computer.

    1. Happy, happy birthday!

      3am! That’s impressive. But way too exhausting with the rest of life happening. I hope the big event goes smoothly this week.

      Congrats on the new computer! You will LOVE Scrivener! (I also vote for Google Chrome, over Safari for a browser.) The tutorial is helpful, and pretty quick. You can always message me of you have questions.

      I love your kids’ costumes. We’ve got a ninja and Tigger over here (unless they change their minds and dive into the costume box).

    2. I hear you on the grading and all other stuff–it’s easy for things to just become one big blur. But I count even checking in to the writing group and reminding oneself of writing goals a little success, too, because it makes one less blurred? Blurry? Great Halloween costumes, btw.

  31. Ooops. Definitely didn’t meet anything resembling goals this week. I did get other non-writing things done, but writing? Nope.

    *sigh* Try again this week? At least an hour’s writing on at least two days of the week.

  32. Last week’s goal: Clear non-writing obligations off my desk: 2 sets of papers, 1 set of midterms, some grant applications, pre-tenure review materials.

    Accomplished: 1.5 sets of papers, half the set of midterms (hope to finish today). Presented a paper, although I didn’t get to the grant proposals, and I’m finalizing the review materials as I write.

    Analysis: A dismal couple of weeks, but I think there’s light at the end of the tunnel! That being said, I’m absolutely prone to self-punishment when I think I could have done/written/thought/taught better/faster/more. And compiling the review materials only feeds these fears.

    Next week’s goals: Return to the book chapter Friday and Saturday; 500 words. Also start thinking about the next essay I need to write by February (which, at the moment, looks so much more appealing than the book chapter…)

    Stay safe over the next few days, those on the East Coast!

  33. Goal: Write every day for one hour and formulate a plan for chapter progress.

    Total OBE. This week was a mess. I’ve barely written anything, and I’m as disorganised as ever.

    I am beating myself up over this. I’m also trying to figure out how to change what seems to be a steady pattern of non-productivity.

    1. I’ll channel Dame Eleanor and translate “I’ve barely written anything” to “I’ve written something”. That’s moving the project forward or a tiny bit of momentum to build on.

      I get similar feelings– from “barely written anything” to “disorganized” to “beating myself up”. I don’t know what the solution will be for you, except that the self-castigation tends to counterproductive. It gets in the way of figuring out what you can change.

    2. Write every day, but don’t say it has to be an hour. Just say “I’ll write for five (or 10) minutes. If I’m not happy, I’ll stop. If I am I’ll keep going.” If you make it to the hour then yay! If not, it’s ok. I did this over the summer when I was very, very stuck. It helped. Some days I just looked at things for a few minutes and knew I couldn’t get my head around it, other days, the 5 minutes turned to 15, etc. And it’s ok….don’t discredit your mind from possibly doing it’s own work even if you’re OBE on stuff.

  34. Last week’s goal: will be repeated as This Week’s goal

    What can I say, teaching is taking over my life, and this week the kids were home from school, so that just did me in.

    Do I beat myself up about it? No, no energy left to do so. Or rather, no, I guess not (anymore). I figure I get paid to teach, so as long as I keep up with that, I’m good. But of course, long-term I need to write as well, so I realize that I can’t let myself off the hook for not writing for too much longer. And I *want* to not just teach, but also write. That’s why I keep committing to it every week and really try to make a realistic plan for writing instead of just hoping that “next week” or “next semester” I’ll get this teaching thing under control and will have more time.

  35. Late again! I was supposed to be away last week, but I was actually being ill and sorry for myself. Either way, I last checked in in week 7 and set myself goals for two weeks.

    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. 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

    achieved: 1) done (in extra detail as I had to write it out in words for someone else to read) 2) didn’t 3) couldn’t 4) haven’t 5) no time (n’t) 6) not yet

    analysis: not exactly OBE more Overcome By Virus and My Own Mind (and a serious attack of the mid-semester I Am Useless-Es – I didn’t get an interview for that job I applied for, am rather stressed about various unbloggables, and am not getting enough sleep which always leads to wobbles).

    goals for next week: Sit back, take a deep breath, and look for some low-hanging fruit, never mind which writing project they’re drooping off. Then pluck the buggers. I’m fed up and discouraged, so it’s time to go back to basics and just do anything that will move a writing project forwards.

    do I beat myself up?: uh, believe me, I am an EXPERT at this! If it was an Olympic Sport I’d’ve been very busy this summer. But it doesn’t help. So I am also getting a lot better at doing exactly the same thing I do with students having a crisis, and saying to myself “never mind how and why you got here, you are here now, how are you going to move forward?” And making a list with a Nice Pen (it’s always a little bit cheering to write with a nice pen on paper, and to make a list).

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