I’m still sick, and feeling worse as of Thursday.  So I’m punting on this week’s discussion.  Here’s a link to advice about being productive from the Chron fora: http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php/topic,76982.msg1832723.html#msg1832723

If you care to read it and discuss, go for it.  I’m going back to my hot drinks and kleenex.  Carry on!  We’re entering the home stretch.

Amstr: finish fix-it tasks for Ch. 3 and send to advisor, do some reading for Ch. 4, and tidy office.
Another Postdoc: Complete the Bibliography and end notes. Smooth over any rough areas of the article.
Bavardess: at least 5 hours writing on proposal; tidy up/ edit article abstract.
cly: impose or find some sort of structure.
Comrade PhysioProf: no check-in.
Contingent Cassandra: Spend at least a short time doing something on the J article on 2-3 days.
Dame Eleanor Hull: schedule 2 hours of research a day: 4-6 Monday, 1-3 TWTh, 4-6 Friday. I want to plan writing tasks, as well, but the main thing is good topic sentences for the new(ish) draft of the MMP.
Dr. Virago: revision of the draft, including a conclusion and some winnowing of the excess (maybe down 300 words by next week).
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Write at least 650 words on article O. Touch it every day for at least half an hour.
emmawriting: Keep self and baby alive. Actually, though, I should come up with tasks to give to RAs too.
GEW: Write 1,000 words of Chapter Five.
highly eccentric: less writing, more planning. Two arbitrarily selected tasks: identify 4000 words for writing samples; skeleton out conference paper.
historisusan: Keep brain engaged.
humming42: Write every day with plan for 500 words/day.
JaneB: no check-in.  Was there an excursion or something?
John Spence: (a) index 20 pages; (b) review another possible (but unlikely) source for the text.
kiwi2:  I will contact my co-author on Paper X at the end of the week about the revisions; draft a 200-400 word webpage; and prepare (revise and update) my portfolio of experience for a job.
kiwimedievalist: Get this [expletive deleted] article out of the way, hopefully for good; non-academic: write 500 words a day – they may not make the final cut, but just get writing!
luolin88: 30 mins Monday and Friday for the article; 30 mins Wednesday getting started on a conference abstract.
Matilda: start revision of the presentation; make a revision-writing plan.
meansomething: 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 (including asking for references).
metheist: try to write something every day.
Notorious Ph.D.: 90 minute work sessions every day, though these can be split.
nwgirl: Continue with chapter 3 revisions, working 1 hour on teaching days (3) and 4 hours on non-teaching days (2).
Pika: decide if to keep proposal as a goal (and if so, get instructions) or if I should switch to something else (and if so, decide which journal paper to prioritise).
Pilgrim/Heretic: 1000 words (AND at least looking at the file, every day).
Premodern: More applications early in the week.  Keep writing!
rented life: work on book 3 times–specifically making Tuesday, Thursday, part of those times. Continue reading book D. Record as needed.
Salimata: read book and organize notes for conference paper.
Sapience: finish all the job applications for November. Try again on the proposal.
sophylou: finish last section of article in order to have a zero draft written. Finish book I am arguing against. If time, and zero draft gets done, start editing zero draft (will need cutting down to meet word count).
tracynicholrose: excused absence for conference.
Trapped in Canadia: write two lectures and get the conference paper up to perfect or near-perfect, but I won’t be checking in because I’m leaving Wednesday for the conference.
Undine (Not of General Interest): 1500 new words.
What Now?:  Two before-school writing sessions, 500 words; get through additional sources.
Widgeon:  One day of reading.
Z (Mictlantecuhtli/Profacero): Saturday through Tuesday, 25 minutes each. Wednesday and Thursday, 2.5 total hours each.

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83 thoughts on “Sept-Dec Writing Group, week 11 check-in

  1. Last week’s goal: To contact my co-author on Paper X at the end of the week about the revisions; draft a 200-400 word webpage; and, to prepare (revise and update) a portfolio needed for a job.

    Accomplished: Nothing. Except, as I was writing this I kicked myself into action and emailed my collaborator!!

    Next goal: The portfolio (which has now moved to being a job for this weekend because I can’t put it off). To reserve my probably-one-day-available for writing (on any of my projects). This will involve: not working myself to the bone on the other unrelated work (which involves quite a bit of travel); making arrangements promptly as far as possible so they do not eat my writing day; and trying to keep my exercise, sleep and healthy eating ticking over.

    Commentary: Two and a half solid days of marking this week. Two days of hard out work on other projects. Half a day of organising, catching up with emails, making arrangements with people, and basically feeling exhausted. I did do some preliminary work on the webpage (i.e. talking to someone about the content) but essentially did none of the above goals; except that now that I am checking in I have emailed my collaborator. The web page will have to wait.This coming week I have three more solid days on an unrelated project, and at least one day of marking, if not two. I am essentially dreading the week, and need to get myself into a determined frame of mind, so I don’t waste the time that I will have. When life is so busy, I have to work really hard to visualise the rewards of writing, and push myself to use the time I have available.

  2. Also, I hope your recovery is on its way Dame Eleanor. Here, we have a beautiful early summer day, with tui calling, and flitting between the nectar of the opening flax flowers in the garden. Best wishes.

    1. Our tui are making a heck of a racket fighting over prime spots in the pohutakawa tree. I never knew they were such aggressive little birds (amongst themselves) until we moved to this house amongst the bush.

    2. It’s fun to hear the news — and to hear of the flora and fauna — from down under. I’ve made it to the tropics during winter once, but never all the way over the equator. It’s intriguing to consider that it’s early summer elsewhere.

  3. DEH, take care of yourself, I hope you recover quickly!

    Last week’s goal: 1,000 words and looking at the file every day.

    Accomplished: (beams crazy bright forehead glow at everyone) 4414. That’s four thousand four hundred and fourteen words!

    Confession: Yeah, I totally cheated. Found a file from a conference paper I wrote last fall, where I’d saved all the bits and pieces that I’d written and were interesting but didn’t for whatever reason make it into the paper. But, voila, nearly all of them fit perfectly well into various parts of the book! Which was hugely fun, since I’d completely forgotten about the file. I think that’s also given me a good head start into writing some of those parts – it helps to have the first paragraph of a section done, just to light the way.

    Next week’s goal: back to 2,000 words, and petting the file every day.

      1. So that got me off on a mental thread of wanting to think of this book project as an adorable kitten, which needs to be fed every day to grow, and is enjoyable to pet and scritch behind the ears, and rewards all that attention with purrs and squeaks and love. But that immediately morphed into “I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him and rub his fur backwards…” I now really really want to name this file George.

      1. Fred because that’s the generic family name for large spiders (as in “there’s a Fred in the bathroom, warn your sister”) and this file seems to have a lot of legs and has magical enthusiasm repelling properties…

        Hectore… well, it just seemed like a Hector. Like Sisyphus’s Floyd.

    1. I’ve been thinking about the word cherish a lot lately, and while I have tried to cherish my students, my loved ones, my pets, and myself, I forgot about cherishing my projects. Petting and cherishing indeed!

  4. Good through Tuesday, epic fail Wednesday and Thursday, and also today Friday, due to emotional crisis and fatigue and perhaps illness, although I have touched work somehow on each of these days. Today, for example, I wrote 32 words.

    Goals for weekend: reassure parents about iMac, finally finish grading and desk clearing for classes. Finish documentation project for academic senate, this is crucial. Reading, 25 minutes to 2.5 hours each day, in this novel, a discussion of which I threaten to include in my book.

    M-F goals: some type of work per day, 25 minutes at least and 2.5 hours ideally, on this manuscript. I have been saying I will storyboard it and I have a bunch-o-documents open, some ancient. In those 25 minutes at least, I want to work on sewing some of these together, or setting them out and seeing where they fit.

    Commentary: Administrative – service work really doubled this semester in unexpected ways and has had to be done, and I am exhausted, have also hosted big time university guest this week. But for me the key isn’t so much cutting down work and responsibilities, it is learning to stick up for myself without going into paroxysms of terror.

  5. Goal: Find or impose some sort of order

    Accomplished: In part – I’ve been re-organising and re-drafting things to the point where I am driving myself batty. I probably haven’t made much progress towards finishing, but I have got myself back in the habit of petting/poking at my file.

    However, I’m still convinced that my writing is a bit too, umm, formless and rambling. If anyone has organisational tips, I’d love to hear them!

    1. I haven’t had a chance to read Dame Eleanor’s links yet, but I have similar organisational problems, especially once a piece gets quite long (e.g. chapter length). One thing I’ve found really helpful is reverse outlining, where you go through your text and pick out the topic sentence of each paragraph then just work through those to see if they flow logically, support the developing argument etc. Sometimes I find paragraphs that either have no clear topic sentence or multiple topic sentences, which is a sure sign of where re-thinking/re-writing is required!

      1. I LOVE reverse outlining. It’s also the kind of thing that’s helpful to ask someone else to do for you – what jumps out at them as the main idea of each paragraph may surprise you.

  6. Hi, hope you feel better soon.

    Um… last weekend… um… I took it off. Not exactly intentionally. I just couldn’t make myself do anything productive on ANYTHING (unless reading web-comics and fantasy novels counts? No?). This semester is winning 😦

    I had some goals, they went for a walk somewhere.

    The week before last nothing got written. Partly because I had an academic visitor, so spent some time talking about things we will write one day and things we need to do before we can write, which ate my actual writing time. Last week I wrote a highly-unlikely-to-be-awarded application for study leave, and decided that all my current projects are boring.

    Analysis: JaneB needs a holiday, or new meds, or a kick up the backside, or all three.

    Goal for this coming week: work on something which is purely research writing for an hour.

    1. Purely research writing can feel like such joy in comparison, especially if it isn’t ‘for’ anything like an application, but just because.

  7. Oh, Dame Eleanor. I hope the rest and hot toddies gradually cure what ails you.

    I’m checking in from a conference, which means that I haven’t done anything constructive this week. But I think being at a conference, hearing good papers, thinking is good.

    Plans for next week: read book for review (relevant to project), and grade papers. 😦

    Looking at the advice in the chronicle forum, I’ll just say that I’m intrigued by the tension between the speed demons (I’d never heard 2-2-4 before) and the tortoises. I’m definitely a tortoise. It’s important to keep reading, writing and thinking, but the pace at which this leads to articles and books will vary over your career. Sometimes a whole bunch of stuff comes together, and suddenly you have lots of stuff in a very short time. This is, I’m sure, both disciplinary and generational; I finished grad school in history 30 years ago, and there was definitely a push back against the quantitative focus of the sciences. It’s also temperamental: it struck me that the people in the Chronicle forum focused most on production had a very instrumental attitude to research, while I could never do something that was not driven by curiosity.

  8. Undine: you got more than halfway toward your goal.

    Z: I may need to do a post about this, but consider Research as a Second Language’s breakdown of an article into 40 paragraphs of 5 sentences each. A person could write one sentence a day and produce an article in 10 months (assuming, of course, that they are the right sentences). But this does mean that 32 words is a good step forward!

    JaneB, someone on the Chron fora has the tagline “My motivation is in Lake Buena Vista. I need to go look for it.” This always makes me smile, and want to go help look. Your goals are probably there, too.

    ProfessorSusan, conferences are good and inspiring. I am glad to hear you say work sometimes bunches up, because I think mine is doing that or about to do that. I would like to think that that will be a recognizable trajectory to people who see my CV or review my grant applications. The thing that struck me about the Chron advice (and here again I may need a separate post, ultimately) is that no one ever told me anything remotely like that. I mean, I don’t think any of my “mentors” (who haven’t done all that much mentoring) ever said anything about how to develop a career. I can see that it depends on temperament, but it seems to me that if you have an archive you love, it would make sense to milk it for all its worth before you move on. When I finish the MMP, I’ll have two articles out of the same MS, one I have pictures of; there might be one more there, although I have other things I want to work on. But I have ideas like someone who teaches a 2-1, whereas I have the time of someone on a 3-4 (because of commute and need for exercise, although my actual load is 3-2). It would have been helpful for someone to explain how to get research done on a teaching load higher than a 2-2. I suppose one problem is that no one on my grad school’s faculty had any notion of how to do that, and Dr Crazy is younger than I am.

    1. I would love to know if anyone *does* feel like they were mentored well on how to develop a career – the absence of that mentoring seems to be a common complaint. I was trained in a very reputable program, and having been tenure-track/tenured for 13 years, I feel like I’m just beginning to get some of this figured out on my own.

      1. My mentor was great in some respects (teaching, service and networking) but not so much in publishing. I think that’s why I especially floundered on that front when my job at the teaching-intensive university changed research expectations. I had to learn, really for the first time, how to ramp up a publication agenda.

      2. I read a book my first year as an assistant professor, The Compleat Academic, http://www.funjournal.org/downloads/KazamaR8.pdf, and it was very helpful.

        My graduate program (Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley) did not assume we would get jobs. Filing your dissertation was like retiring.

        I more or less knew how to develop a research program because one had ample opportunity to observe people doing it. What I do wish is that graduate programs would address the question of types of jobs: they are so focused on placing their students anywhere that they will not allow people to even consider what kind of place they might fit in, or not. I remember hiring someone here who had thought about it and had a brilliant answer to our question, what is your interest in us? He had really specific reasons why he thought he would be happy at a place like ours, and we were thrilled because what he said he was looking for, really was what we had to offer. I, in my time, did not have enough information about the nature of non R1 schools to understand the differences among them, accurately interpret their job descriptions, and so on.

    2. RSL, yes, and that is what I used to do before my crisis that caused me to stop writing and develop every bad habit and try every piece of bad advice to counter these. My illumination for the week is that the reason I was always good at research and writing steadily is because of foreign language study: you have to study in little pieces daily, I knew this, and so that is just how I always studied everything, and it really works. Which is why I get irritated at Boice, because he presents what I think everyone already knows as a brilliant new idea.

      My father was a professor who worked efficiently and did well, without overworking. From sixth grade through five years of assistant professordom, I imitated his habits and they really worked, and I had a nice life. He, though, had a really clear goal which I think helped: he wanted to stay in his job so we would not have to move schools. This nonacademic and actually modest goal, many of us, now, lack: we are, instead, struggling to get to places where we can actually do our work, or be less deprived. It is all so amorphous, it is hard to focus. On the other hand, during the few weeks I was pregnant with this child I lost, I found that feeling come over me, to my amazement: all doubts about work dropped away, things mattered less and I gained perspective on them, because now I had the project of supporting someone else. I had the same singlemindedness about graduate school, wanted to stay in so work was easy, and I have that few doubts about the project I would go to law school for. I thnk I need to figure out how to love, not just be interested in, my current project that much. L’appétit vient en mangeant, is what I am hoping.

      “It would have been helpful for someone to explain how to get research done on a teaching load higher than a 2-2.” Yes, and this is another reason I rail against academic advice: it assumes one needs advice on getting research done on a 2-2, but that is precisely what we already know.

  9. Last week’s goal: Two before-school writing sessions, 500 words; get through additional sources.

    Accomplished: one before-school writing session, 439 words, and one before-school research session, during which I got through a tiny little bit of the sources I’d blithely committed to getting through entirely. So not the most successful week.

    Commentary: I knew it was going to be a busy week for school, but I neglected to take into account the extra emotional drain and time of watching election results all Tuesday night and then of being completely wiped out on Wednesday as a result. So it was kind of a loss of a week, although at least I got a tiny bit done. And the week to come is going to be packed with grading and exam-writing; it’s the last week of classes in our trimester system. And then the week after that I’m going to be grading all of those exams and writing end-of-term comments and preparing for the new term and also visiting my family for Thanksgiving, a 10-hour car-trip away. So I’m feeling slightly panicked that I’ll lose all touch with the project between last week and the next two weeks. But there’s also only so much I can do about that when I’m struggling to keep my head above water in my day job. So, okay, take a breath: I’ll continue to scale my expectations way back for these two weeks so that I don’t just throw up my hands in despair and give up, and then when I can devote myself to the chapter again in two weeks, I will still have made a little progress and looked at it at least a few times in the meantime.

    Next week: Spend at least three hours going through the additional sources that I found. No word count goal for writing.

    1. Here’s some good thoughts that you can pull time to focus on the additional sources. Are they fun? I find when I’m at the point in a project where other duties pull at me that it’s best to make work seem like a treat by writing on/reading up on some research material that I find really interesting such as ballads or delicious criminal cases!

      1. Yes, actually these sources are totally fun! So I think what I may need to do is NOT do my usual before-school thing, a time that will probably need to be reserved for grading this week, and instead go through these sources when I’m sick and tired of grading and can’t face the thought of more work. I.e., treat them as rewards for all of my hard work!

    2. Speaking as someone who had a similarly trying week in a similar secondary school, I’m impressed you got that much done. Sorry to impose a normative method of comparison, but really…!

  10. Last Week: One day of reading
    Accomplished: Nothing.
    Commentary: Visiting an ill parent in another state was draining and difficult. So when I returned I took time to recuperate, rather than work on research. I don’t really regret it, and will spend some time this weekend working in an attempt to dive back in.
    Next Week: Three full days of research plus two additional short sessions (30-45 min).

  11. Last goals: revision of presentation, revision of my writing plan

    Accomplished: a little bit of revision of my writing plan

    Analysis: the next day of my presentation, I was energetic and full of motivation of turning it into a paper. Actually I am supposed to write an article by the end of this year, so it is necessary to revise my presentation into a paper anyway. I picked up my copy of Belcher’s book and make a rough plan, but somehow after that I failed to start actual writing, and still I have not worked on my paper yet. It may be because of ‘after-presentation-emptiness’…

    Next goal: making a revision plan of my presentation, writing 15 minutes a day

  12. So sorry to hear you still don’t feel well, DEH. Are you spiking your toddies with TheraFlu? I’ve heard that helps (but I can’t stand the TheraFlu part, so I haven’t tried it.)

    Last week’s goal: Write 1000 words for Chapter Five.

    Accomplished: I did write 1000 words related to chapter five, but I’m not sure they totally count. Some of them were in the form of chapter text, but some of them were in the form of annotated bibliography entries. But I did read two chapters in a highly relevant text, so that’s great! And I’ve decided that I really need to start keeping annotated entries. When one is using the tortoise approach, remembering past readings is a problem. I’m hoping annotated citations will be a solution.

    Analysis: The article in the Chron fora was timely and reassuring for me since I’ve been doing the tortoise approach. I was feeling less committed to the process since I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, but after reading the article, I’m encouraged to keep it up and also to push a couple of my sessions from 15 min to 30.

    Yesterday was fabulous. I finished teaching at noon and had no meeting. None. Unbelievable. And Hubby had the kids. Also, my grading load is not too heavy, so I blew it off and just worked on the dissertation for about 3.5 hours. It was heavenly. I think I’ll have more time later this weekend, too. It seems like that’s the way it has to be for me: regular short session with occasional long ones. I need both to get the work done.

    The best thing is that the intense work for the college crisis has come to a pause. We were leading up to deadlines and a big event that happened last week. Since that big event, my schedule has opened up tremendously. It’s only temporary–we’ll start another push soon–but it’s a welcome respite. And, as I said, I was released from grading jail at the end of last week, and it’s been great to be on parole. I have stacks of one page things–quizzes, annotated citations, etc.–and I’m going to try to get through them this weekend since I get about 80 papers next week. But since it’s a three-day weekend, I think I’ll have time to get through those, spend time with the kids, and have a chance to working on the dissertation some more.

    It all feels great! Oh, I wish every week could be this way.

  13. Dame E, I hope you feel better soon. And thanks for the link – I’ll see how much of that intensely driven advice I can incorporate into my own situation.

    Wow, how did I miss last week? I made those revisions to the accepted chapter, adding about 500 words to the word-count and immensely improving the overall flow along with the strength of the argument by cutting out 400. Once that was done? I lost focus. It’s the heavy-lifting part of the term plus there have been health scares and appointments to manage.

    This week’s goal? Polish the first third of the keynote for publication.

  14. Dame Eleanor, I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. I hope you can get some rest and feel better.

    Last week’s goal: (a) index 20 pages; (b) review another possible (but unlikely) source for the text.

    Accomplished: (a) indexed 12 pages; (b) looked at a source I’d reviewed already in more detail, to rule out variations in a particular manuscript being the source for my text (they weren’t).

    Next week’s goal: (a) index 20 pages; (b) proof-read two chapters of my book.

    Commentary: Indexing was slow this week: the last chapter of my book covers quite different specifics to the rest of the book – I now realise a problem with this! My source work went on a different track than I’d planned, but some work got done.

    I will be abandoning my edition work for a few weeks now though, because the proofs of my book are coming back and I will need to go through those – it is exciting to be almost there on the book.

  15. Sorry to hear you are feeling unwell, Dame Eleanor. I hope you feel better soon.

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

    2. No, and yes. I pruned and fixed, and futzed, adding perhaps 200-300 words at best.

    3. Somewhat OBE, but honestly, I wrestled more with mid-life crisis than anything else this week. It was one of those reverse Midas syndrome weeks, where everything I touched turned to cr*p. Despite recognizing that I was in the grip of the syndrome, I descended into quite the funk. I managed to pull out of the spin into a corollary, I write, nay, I am cr*p, syndrome, so that was a victory.

    I did a lot of near-mindless drudge work, organizing, filing, renaming files into better trees. I also did some reading, mostly of “old friends” in my research, just to keep the project in mind.

    4. Second verse, same as the first. Write 650 word on article O. Touch it for at least half an hour a day.

  16. If I get anything done tomorrow, I’ll call it a bonus for next week, so here we go.

    Last goal: schedule 2 hours of research a day: 4-6 Monday, 1-3 TWTh, 4-6 Friday. I want to plan writing tasks, as well, but the main thing is good topic sentences for the new(ish) draft of the MMP.

    Accomplished: M, T, W went fine. I got some topic sentences for the newish draft, sent the first part of the article to my RL writing group, worked on outlining the next part.

    Further commentary: Th-F I slept for large swaths of the day and didn’t even try to work. Today’s nap was down to one hour and I was more active than I’ve been for days, but I’m still not trying to work. What is it this semester about M-W? They keep going well, and then I’m always OBE after Wednesday.

    Next goal: same as the last, except I can make it 1-3 MTTh (thanks to a cancelled meeting), and possibly 1-3 W only maybe I have a meeting then in which case it would be 2-4. Friday I’m not sure . . . extra student conferences . . . let’s say I’ll fit in one hour on Friday. Keep working on organizing and writing topic sentences for the second part of the MMP.

    1. This semester, I teach on Tuesday for a total of 6 hours and have heavy meetings on Wednesday, and I am then useless. In my case emotional pain and fatigue feed into each other but today, after breakfast I went into the back yard and slept in the hammock until noon. While sleeping out there, I decided that I am simply going to have to find a way to remove fatigue from the equation. Also, I think I might be sick and be calling it fatigue – depression out of Puritanism.

      All of which is a roundabout way of saying: I hope you feel better soon and maybe you are actually overdoing it M-W?

    2. I had the same thought as Z (maybe because my M-W are also very heavy, and I’m regularly finding myself wiped out on/by Thurs., for which I’ve learned to plan, and sometimes on Fri. as well, which I can’t afford). It’s hard to fight, though. I did make it home much earlier on Mon. than usual this week (a political rally invaded the campus, and I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic, so I left as soon as I possibly could, which I haven’t generally been doing), and the week was generally more productive. Of course I’m now going to be conferencing on Mon. afternoons from now until the end of the semester, so I’m not sure how much good that discovery does me.

  17. Dame Eleanor, I hope you’re feeling better, or at least getting some time to yourself to get some decent rest!

    Last weeks goal:
    At least five hours writing on PhD proposal, tidy up article abstract

    Accomplished:
    8 hours writing/re-shaping on the proposal (once I got going, I just kept going) so it is now in pretty good shape.
    Didn’t touch the article abstract but I did get some very detailed and valuable comments back from a ‘big scholar’ in my field that will definitely help make it more publishable.

    Next goal:
    At least five hours writing on PhD proposal. This should be enough to get it into a final draft that’s good enough for supervisors to review.
    Five hours working through article revisions.
    Start thinking about/outlining conference paper

    Commentary:
    I ended up restructuring my proposal a bit to make it flow better so a lot of the work I still need to do on it involves taking chunks of existing text and making them link up better. I also have to keep reminding myself what the purpose of the proposal is (e.g. not to start answering the question but only to show it is a valid question to ask). When I reviewed what I’d written so far, I found some of it was definitely stuff more appropriate for the thesis itself, not the proposal. (I’m extending on the topic I did for my Master’s thesis, so a lot of the secondary lit is already familiar to me.)

  18. Goal: Re-boot. 30 mins Monday and Friday for the article; 30 mins Wednesday getting started on a conference abstract.

    Accomplished:
    Monday 45 minutes. I also re-checked on the requirements of the journal I plan to submit to, and noticed their deadline (12/15), which may help focus my mind in the next month.

    Nothing Wednesday and Friday.

    Analysis: I got sicker this week. I still don’t feel great, but do feel better. I was happy when I remembered that I had gotten work done on Monday-I was remembering the whole week as a loss.

    Between no public school for my kid this coming Monday and the need to catch up on urgent tasks at work, I don’t think it’s realistic commit to more than getting an abstract out.

    Next Goal:
    Submit conference abstract by Wednesday.

    1. I hope you continue to feel better. And please be kinder to yourself! Getting an abstract out is a big, important goal. I don’t think you need to even think of committing to more than that!

    2. Sounds like the perfect goal for the week. And contrats on your Monday “exceeding expectations” report-in and on the extra motivation.

  19. Feel better soon, Dame E!

    Last week’s goal: revision of the draft, including a conclusion and some winnowing of the excess (maybe down 300 words by next week).

    Accomplished: pretty much that (although not quite 300 words), but in rereading the draft, I found I kind of hate it and want to toss it and start all over again. I won’t, of course, but I may reframe it entirely differently.

    Next week: continued revisions and cutting.

    I haven’t gotten much done this week because I’ve assigned way too much grading and new reading for myself in the course I’m teaching. I had all sorts of ephiphanies about teaching this week, especially on ways of cutting down on the grading while still giving my students opportunities to learn, but not so much on the research side of things. However, if I do successfully lighten my grading burden in subsequent semesters, maybe those research epiphanies will come, too.

  20. Here’s to a speedy recovery, DEH.

    Last week’s goal: Continue with chapter 3 revisions, working 1 hour on teaching days (3) and 4 hours on non-teaching days (2)

    Accomplished: Almost. I did not spend as much time working on revisions on my non-teaching days. I am still trying to catch up from being sick the week before. (Perhaps by this afternoon!)

    Next week: Continue with revisions and a similar work schedule with the goal to complete 11 hours on the revision.

    I should be caught up with grading this afternoon. Cold, stormy weather is forecast for today so it’s a good day to hunker down and finish this last small pile of grading. Prep this week and next is already done. So I’ve hit a sweet spot where things are slowing down, if only for a brief period.

    DEH, thanks for the link to the Chronicle forum on productivity. Numbers one and two certainly resonated: 1). Piggyback current research and 2). Don’t put everything in the book.

    I received similar advice from a senior colleague in another department. I was exploring an idea for an article that would tie together, sort of, my professional and academic fields. (I should note that the subject area of the academic field in this project was late 19th century. All of my work to date is late 18th and early to mid-19th century. So even the academic side would have been a stretch and required a lot of reading in secondary sources to get up to speed.) His advice: save it for post-tenure or discard it altogether (given that I have a heavy service load). Instead he told me to keep mining the research that I have. With that in mind, I reworked my five-year plan and lined up three solid research projects (two articles and one article that could become a book) that I could develop once I finish the current project. I’ve even set up folders (virtual and paper) so I can file materials or information about other sources related to the new project but unrelated to the current book manuscript. (So I’m not tempted to follow those rabbit trails right now.) I’m also using the virtual folder to dump cuts from the current book ms. that might be related to one of these three projects. As my colleague said, “It’s all about FOCUS.”

    For someone like me, teaching and writing in two distinct fields, one academic and one professional, that was much needed advice. My tenure guidelines support publications and conference presentations in both fields. For the professional field, I’ve decided to focus on conference presentations, which are accomplished with minimal time and effort to prepare because they draw on my teaching areas and my years of professional experience. I save the research and writing for the academic field. So I’m still productive in both fields but in a way that makes the best use of my time. Guess this fits in with point number 3 in the Chronicle forum, “Make every piece of writing earn its keep.”

  21. Wishing continuing improved health to Dame Eleanor!

    Last goal: Write every day with plan for 500 words/day

    Accomplished: Wrote 6/7 days and some of it was good. Good to be excited about projects.

    Next goal: Submit abstract and go to conference.

    Commentary: I’m working on multiple projects without a real sense of direction. I will continue to dabble because I won’t have time to make a solid writing plan until I get out from under the grading crush I’m facing. I probably won’t check in next week, as I aspire to devote my attention as fully to conferencing as possible.

    1. Congrats on accomplishing much this week! I hoep the conference goes well and the grading is quick and painless.

  22. Here’s hoping our gracious hostess is on the mend!

    Last 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 (including asking for references).

    Accomplished: Lots and lots of other things, but nothing on my writing goals.

    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 (including asking for references).

    Analysis: What with grading and comment-writing and the usual prepping-teaching workload going forward, this would have been a good week to cut my goal way, way down. I might have been able to accomplish tiny bits–it would have been nice just to have asked for the references, for example. However, I’m declaring the week over, and anything I get done today will count for next week’s goal. I foresee a pretty decent week–SA is off tomorrow for Veterans’ Day, though my NLNRU class will meet in the evening as usual, and otherwise I expect a fairly normal level of busyness. The SA creative writing group plans to meet on Friday after school, so there’s one session, at least, planned for.

    Wishing us all good luck and good health!

  23. I hope you’re feeling better Dame Eleanor

    Last Goal: Complete the Bibliography and end notes. Smooth over any rough areas of the article.

    Accomplished: All of it. I am submitting the paper today! Yay!

    Next Goal: Redefine writing goals for the rest of the semester. Make plan to complete a bunch of little projects. Outline short article for online journal.

    Commentary: I am going to a conference next week and might not be able to check in. Thanks for posting the link to that article on the chronicle forum. I do wish I had better mentoring around publishing so that I could get a sense of how to plan career publications. I know there has been some discussion about whether that plan is plausible if one does not have a 2-2, but I like to take these sorts of ideas and make them work for me. Possibly, I cannot do 2 articles a year and a book every 4, but I can scale it down or up to suit me and the requirements for my job.

    1. Congratulations! The conference seems like a great follow-up to submitting an article. You’ll get to keep your head in research, but won’t have the demands of daily writing.

  24. Hope you’re feeling better by now, Dame. I, too, found the chronicle forum helpful, if a bit daunting (I think I could eventually get up to two articles a year, and I’m currently doing one form of the little stuff — encyclopedia-type entries — because it brings in money. I don’t think I could turn out a book manuscript every four years — though I hope it will take me a bit less than 4 years to produce one — and certainly not while turning out two articles a year as well, especially if they need to be on something entirely different, which I’m told they increasingly do need to be, since university presses are reportedly wanting to see no more than one chapter of a book manuscript published as an article. I’m not sure whether that’s true of the post author’s field , which sounds like it’s history. I do have some ideas for a series of related but not too closely related projects, including several that could be book 2, so I guess that’s to the good). I think the guidelines tally somewhat closely with what is expected of TT professors at my R2, but I think they’d probably be happy with 2 articles in a year *or* substantial progress on a book.

    Last week’s goal: Spend at least a short time doing something on the J article on 2-3 days.

    Accomplished: One fairly substantial session (1.25 hours) this morning. I’m calling that close enough.

    Analysis: I decided early in the week that I really needed to spend some time getting back in touch with the project as a whole. I was planning for several hours on Saturday morning. That got swallowed up by paper-grading (which was necessary, if only to reduce the stress I’m feeling over the amount of ungraded work I’ve got piled up), but I managed a bit over an hour before church this morning. The good news is that I have something that I think I could call a very shitty very rough draft of the article. The bad news is that that’s pretty much what I had at the beginning of the semester (basically, I’ve written a very short conclusion — which is a good thing, since the whole draft is already at least 1/3 too long, though that’s pretty much par for the course for me, and there are still definitely some sections that can easily be trimmed, and some notes about what should go into notes that are longer than the actual notes are likely to be, and such). I did identify a few places that could be worked on piecemeal, and that’s what I plan to do during the next few weeks, prior to taking another serious look at what I’ve got, what I still need to do (e.g. situate my own argument in the larger criticism; which I’ve done only in very preliminary ways), what I’ve got room for, and how the space should be allotted. Since I’ll be away at a weekend-long church retreat next weekend, I’m going to set a 2-week goal. So,

    Goal for the next two weeks (next check-in the weekend of 11/24): stay in touch with project, make progress on some of the small sections/projects I’ve identified to work on.

    1. Good enough sounds just great. Sometimes choosing what lowers stress as a whole is the best choice, and sometimes that just has to be grading. I’m glad you got in some good time on the article this morning.

  25. Sneaking in under the wire here.

    Last week’s goals: finish fix-it tasks for Ch. 3 and send to advisor, do some reading for Ch. 4, and tidy office.

    Accomplished: 2/3 of the way through Ch. 3, read a tiny bit for Ch. 4, tidied the online portion of my office (updated my bibliography program, etc.)

    Next week’s goals: get Ch. 3 out to advisor, read for and outline Ch. 4, (if Ch. 2 comes back from writing partner) work on getting Ch. 2 ready for advisor, and more work on office tidying.

    Commentary: OBE this week–more extra stuff than I anticipated. Having to check in definitely made me do as much as I did. This next week has a surprise kid-holiday, so I’ve planned a “fake sick day” where the kids get to lay in bed and watch movies all day so I can work. My mid-length goal is to have a working draft of Ch. 4 by Thanksgiving, so I’m looking forward to a couple weeks of a big push to get the two chapters to my advisor and another drafted. My big motivation is anticipating a Feb. defense. Onward!

    1. Sounds like you are continuing to press on in a productive fashion. You’ve got great motivation: the finish line! How long before the defense do you submit?

  26. Apologies for late check-in….

    Goals: technically I think I met the zero draft goal, though I’m not happy with last section. Started playing with introduction again. Did not finish book I am arguing against, but made significant progress. (I think I need to promise myself that I will let myself read something I *like* after this book, just so I don’t have to associate writing this article with drudging through book I hate).

    Goals for next week: cut down the introduction (both for length and to tighten argument). Finish book I am arguing against. Pet the article (love that phrase) every day if possible.

    Somewhat distracted by impending budget-cut announcements — lots of scary rumors floating around. Relatedly, I need to be continuing to put out applications Article and related database project feel like a kind of refuge. Important for me to remember that, and to remember how good submission feels. (Um, by that, I mean, “submission of an article,” not anything more Freudian or doormat-like).

  27. Dame Eleanor Hull: wishing you a speedy recovery and a restful week-to-come

    last week’s goal: read book B and organize notes for conference paper

    accomplished: yes, finally!! (because I had this goal for the past 3, 4 or even 5 weeks?)

    analysis: ok, so I *finally* met this goal. That’s the good part. The not-so-good part is that by now, there’s very little time left to get the actual presentation written. And I’d really vowed to not have this paper be another last-minute affair. Alas.
    In better news: I’m doing a lot better health-wise, and am almost caught up with my grading. Tomorrow, in fact, shall be devoted to getting the last grading out of the way and then I don’t have new stuff coming in until *next* Wednesday.

    this week’s goal: to write each day on the conf paper Tue-Sat, for a minimum of 1 hour. Plus one hour of reading notes.

  28. I’m late but at least I’m checking in. Forgot today was Sunday. It’s been that kind of week.

    Last week’s goals: I skipped check-in last week so I had no goals.

    Accomplished: I did present my LM paper at the conference and did a little more work on the TS paper.

    Analysis: The week at the conference put me completely behind and I spent most of this week playing catch-up. Unfortunately I’m still not caught up.

    Next week’s goals: Get TS paper to co-author; start making edits on LM paper; catch-up

  29. Sorry I’m late. only have a couple minutes here…
    goal: work on book 3 times–specifically making Tuesday, Thursday, part of those times. Continue reading book D. Record as needed.
    Accomplished: Wrote 4 times, twice on book. Tuesday was productive, Thursday was minimal, writer’s block. Friday and Saturday were a completely different project, but writing nonetheless. Didn’t so much reading.
    analysis; Writers block on book. put it down the play around with some other ideas while I let thing everything process.
    New goal: work on book 3 times–specifically making Tuesday, Thursday, part of those times. Continue reading book D. Record as needed.

    1. Sorry for not commenting on anyone’s post. This week was good, this weekend was not.

      DEH, I hope you’re feeling better!!

  30. Sorry I’m late, too. It’s been a crazy weekend.

    Goal: finish job applications for November. Try again on the proposal.

    Accomplished: finished job applications for November. Half-heartedly tried on the proposal.

    Analysis: how does anyone get any other writing done when seriously on the job market?

    Next week: December job deadlines, go back to trying to work on the review that is due at the end of December.

  31. Eeep! Again, late — so no need to reply. But I am checking in.

    Last week’s goal: 90 minutes a day, sometimes split up

    Did I get it: Most days, yes.

    Analysis: Working this way has gotten me thinking about shifting my goals — really, I’ve got a lot of reading I need to do, as I’m doing a major shift within my field. So while the overall article goal is still in mind, I’m thinking about really making this the Semester of Reading. And for the first time this week, I started to feel like I could see the ghost of a pattern.

    On the other hand.. I didn’t get much else done. I seem to be able to research/write, or do other stuff, but not both. I know that enough time exists; I just need to get better about using it correctly.

    Next week: Why not stick with what works? 90 minutes a day… but this time, while keeping on top of other things as well.

  32. Sorry, I’m really late, are comments still open?

    I haven’t done much last week, was stuck under a grading pile most of the week and then had a bad migraine over the weekend. I did however decide that I’m going to focus on one particular article that is half-done and not the grant application. So the task for this week will be: look at the article, see what needs to be done and make a plan for finishing.

    Am keeping this goal light, as I had a full day of labs today and am expecting the final grading pile of reports to arrive tomorrow…

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