And lucky thirteen sees us at the US-ian Thanksgiving, so let me thank the writing group for participating, sharing ideas, and supporting each other in the comments.  I’m learning a lot from you!

This week’s topic is courtesy of Bavardess, who recently published two posts reporting on methodologies for interdisciplinary research in medieval/early modern studies.  I know that sounds very specific, not only because it’s for the humanities when I know we have some scientists aboard, but also because it focuses on specific time periods.  Nonetheless, I think these posts could be useful for a lot of us—at the very least, we do have a number of medievalists and early modernists participating; they also make points that could be generalized to other areas.  So, check them out and see if they give you ideas, or if you want to comment on them after the rest of your check-in.

Also (and speaking of scientists), in our preview of Coming Attractions, I believe JaneB and Trapped in Canadia will be hosting a winter writing group.

And here’s the list:

Amstr: start Ch. 4 draft, read for Ch. 4. Productive procrastination goals: send Ch. 2 to advisor, work on office cleaning.
Another Postdoc: excused absence.
Bavardess: 5 hours minimum on the article. Now that the proposal is basically off my plate for a couple of weeks, I really want to get this done!  Outline conference paper. I have some ideas about what I want to do, but need to decide on some primary sources to include.
cly: Write every day; work on re-organising manuscript. I’ll be distracted from this by another round of job applications.
Contingent Cassandra: excused absence.
Dame Eleanor Hull: One hour Monday (writing date, yay); two hours each day for the rest of the week.
Dr. Virago: continued revisions and cutting!
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Weave together the holes of article O; spend 4 hours this next week in whatever configuration I can manage with the holiday.
emmawriting:  30 minutes on actual writing, two days in the week. Smaller tasks for smaller RAs thought up and sent. Also: MUL data rearranged, grant finally submitted (Monday), maybe even try to submit paper #1.
GEW: 60 minutes of work–taking it where I can get it.
historisusan: get back to reading for the project.
humming42: excused absence.
JaneB: spend two hours (in fifteen minute chunks if necessary) stitching all the comments into the latest version of the multi-authored paper.
JLiedl: Get past the halfway point on the keynote.
John Spence: (a) index 20 pages; (b) proof-read two chapters of my book.
kiwi2: Two and a half days work on the analysis for paper Y. And prepare a talk on Paper Y for a conference the following week.
kiwimedievalist: strengthen conclusion.
luolin88: 30 minutes Monday. Steal some time on Wednesday and Friday.
Matilda: re-revise my presentation to make it into a publishable paper/ write 15 minutes a day
meansomething: 1) 4 12-minute sessions on poems; 2) 1 12-minute session on the residency app. Also hope, over Thanksgiving, to get some ms. submissions done, but not top priority.
Notorious Ph.D.: no check-in.
nwgirl: checked in.
Pika: no check-in.
Pilgrim/Heretic:  Zero Words, though I will be very pleased with myself if I get a little bit of a head start toward the following week’s 2,000.
Premodern: Sketch out/begin three more grant applications. Catch up on this wave of grading. Main goal: slot in four thirty-minute writing sessions.
rented life: work on book 2 times Continue reading book D. Record as needed.
Salimata: again, 1 hour of writing each day, but now from Mon thru Sat; content-wise: need to figure out how to connect the 3 main ideas that are currently floating randomly thru the paper.
Sapience: More request for more information essays; December applications; sleep.
sophylou: print out full draft and start cutting. Determine what else needs to be read/reread. Pet the article (so that it doesn’t start chewing on the furniture…).
tracynicholrose: Make edits on LM paper; finalize P&P or TS paper (depending on which comes back first).
Trapped in Canadia: write all of my remaining lectures, two study guides, and my final exams this week; in the last week of class, go through my ILL books before they are overdue, so that December is my Month of Writing. I’ve given it a title to make it come true.
Undine (Not of General Interest): 2 hours a day of working on the manuscript. Let’s see if the change helps.
What Now?: Two hours of work. Setting a low bar!
Widgeon:  Two days of research before heading off for Thanksgiving. Some early writing and outline drafting.
Z (Mictlantecuhtli/Profacero): part 1: get more time. I have a full weekend with other things so I am starting the week Monday. Saying 25 minutes helps me get started but I hope to get ahead of that. So this week, let us say 25 minutes M and T, 50 W and Th, and 100 F and Sa, and 150 minutes Su. That should be a good exercise for getting to the new goal of 120 minutes 6 days.  Goal for next week, part 2: I have to start putting my argument together. This means spreading things out on the table.


75 thoughts on “Sept-Dec 2012 Writing Group, week 13 check-in

  1. Last week’s goal: 2 hours a day. Achieved? Yes, pretty much, except for yesterday. I had to step back from writing phase to research phase, which doesn’t result in good writing numbers but is necessary.
    This week’s goal: 1000 words.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Sorry that I have not checked in for the last couple of weeks. All hell broke loose with the TA that I had reassigned, and I became very ill the day after that shoe dropped, culminating in a much delayed trip to Urgent Care, etc. All I can say is–what 40ish yr old has mucus coming out of their eyeballs? I haven’t been this sick since I was a kid!!

    Anyway–I love the posts from Bavardess since I know Peter Marshall, have had several interactions with Birkbeck, and my project is interdisciplinary. It made me homesick for London!! I found the organizational structure particularly helpful since I intuitively do it, but having it written out, helps put things into perspective.

    Goals over last two week: write something every day.

    Not really accomplished, BUT, because we have a week off at Thanksgiving, I was able to donate MTW to actually finishing small projects, and donating a large portion of those days to getting back into my project. I finally got all my sources tagged, organized and placed in hanging files in my file cabinet. I sorted through multiple drafts of all of my chapters and presentations on my project, and put them in appropriate stacks on my office shelves. Everything is easily accessible now. I also ordered and checked out library books that I need. I finally started reworking chapter 4. I went through and marked some points that a colleague made on that chapter, and I wrote about 100 words. Not much original writing, but I was able to get a very rough draft of a point down. I am happy and I am optimistic because I am finding solace in my project 🙂

    This week’s goal: Spend one hour each day on my project. On Tuesday and Thursday, I can spend a minimum of 4hrs because I have gotten caught up on writing my lectures and grading.

    1. Glad you found the posts useful. Peter Marshall gave a great paper on being an ‘accidental interdisiplinist’. Funny, self-deprecating and very insightful. I find his work on heresy intriguing, too.

    2. That sounds like very useful organizational work. I need to do something similar, except that unfortunately my list starts with “assemble/paint bookcase & file cabinets,” which is holding things up a bit.

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

    Accomplished: (a) indexed 5 pages; (b) proof-read one chapter.

    Next week’s goal: (a) index 15 pages; (b) proof-read two chapters of my book.

    Commentary: Life got in the way – but I managed to make some progress, and I am feeling more confident about the proof reading now that I’m into the first chapter proper; hopefully I can build up momentum from here. Indexing the remaining 15 pages next week will take me through to the end of the sweep; I then have to attach page numbers and tidy the index up after.

      1. Thanks, Dame Eleanor. I’m actually feeling really pleased with how the last 13 weeks have gone with the writing – reporting in is a helpful spur to keep the momentum, which then means you can build on it the next week. I know others have also said this, I just didn’t realise it would be this true for me!

  4. How can it be that an entire week’s gone by again. I might have to throw in the towel for the next week in advance. This week was crazy enough that I only added another 75 words to my keynote chapter. Next week is booked up twice as deeply. The only saving grace might be a flying trip to the big city on Thursday: surely a couple of hours in the airports and on planes will help me get ahead or even back on track? I’m going to try humility and modesty in the coming week’s goal-setting.

    Last Week: Get past the halfway point on the polished keynote.

    Achieved: 75 more words

    This week’s goal? Write another 500 words.

    1. Even 75 words can be a step towards your goal. Five hundred can be a very satisfying step! And, sometimes, when we are forced to write more slowly, there is more time for ideas to percolate, so there can be unexpected bonuses.

  5. Thanks, Dame E. I hope some others here find the material helpful.

    Last week’s goals –
    5 hours minimum on the article
    Outline conference paper

    Achieved –
    Spent a bit more than 5 hours on the article but realised I need to rewrite the introduction and conclusion and strengthen/more clearly articulate the argument in a number of places, so I still have a fair amount of work to do on it. I’m using Wendy Belcher’s book ‘Writing your Journal Article in 12 Weeks’ to help me work through the revision process. The sections/ exercises on defining and strengthening your argument/ ‘single significant idea’ are proving quite helpful.
    Did nothing on the conference paper.

    This week’s goals –
    Another 5 hours on the article – re-write/edit/delete section two and rewrite the conclusion
    Outline conference paper – I really need to pull my finger out with this as the conference is in Feb.

    I feel like I was really productive this week but I don’t really have a lot to show for it. Now I’m trying to figure out what I spent all my time on! I did have a couple of ILL books turn up, so I spent some time reading those since the loan period is pretty short.

    1. Bavardess, thank you for the posts on interdisciplinary research. Laid out as you have done interdisciplinary work can look very challenging – which is true! You have to work your way through several complex systems simultaneously …

      Focusing in on something very specific and slowly working your way out a little is one way of navigating this path. Generally that’s the route I’ve taken.

      What I’ve also found hugely helpful in the past has been conversations with those coming from the other relevant disciplines – something I don’t often have now that I am outside academia, and which is a real gap in helping me to develop my thinking.

      On the writing, if you think you’ve made real progress, trust your instincts!

  6. Last week’s goal: Two and a half days work on the analysis for paper Y. And prepare a talk on Paper Y for a conference the following week

    Accomplished: I worked on my paper, and prepared what has turned out to be three!! talks for next week.

    Next goal: Deliver the three talks. Be nice to everyone! And when I get back next week, another two and a half days on Paper Y, specifically reading relevant papers and rewriting the introduction.

    Commentary: I put in the time, which was great, but felt pretty jaded for quite a bit of the week. It was hard to get motivated. Nonetheless, I am making progress, and I can see how to map out the next steps. I’ll be MIA next checkin though.

    I develop quite a lot of research ideas with colleagues in both the humanities and social sciences, so thanks to Bavardess for a thought provoking read about interdisciplinary collaborations. I am fascinated by the analysis of skills required – I hadn’t thought so specifically about this, but I think it is very useful indeed. My interdisciplinary collaborations are some of my most fruitful areas of research; everyone brings different skills and perspectives in relation to the same dataset, which creates a lot of research energy and deep thinking. It can be frustrating, though, as there is a poor understanding of the skills required to do this in my workplace. Ie, sometimes colleagues think “oh, anyone can do that”. Hmmm. No.

      1. And, I get tired of explaining to people at my LRU rather than listen to those lots of scholars. This is a proportion of time spent I would like to invert, actually.

  7. Bavardess has it going on. Brava!

    Achieved: touch work every day. Not very good but could be worse.

    Goal now: catch up on grading and final exam design, and touch work every day.

    Commentary: at least this semester I have touched work every day, which has meant I did not get entirely stymied and tired, so the writing group rules! But, I need to get more time. Am in battle with chair over this and it is icky. (Where does my time and energy go? To dealing with emotions of Masters. I work on a Plantation. It must be my Karma.)

  8. Sorry for not showing up last week, but everything sort of fell apart: first we got unexpected news on a grant proporal not being funded (not mine, something much larger on departmental scale) and then everyone in the department was asked to help turn around said proposal for another call which had a deadline yesterday. In the end we did it with long days and late nights, but just barely, within 10 min of the cut-off (it was computer submission, so on the dot and no extensions possible) and then I went home, collapsed and slept for 15 hours…

    In light of this all my own writing was shelved for the moment. Also, next week I’m off to a conference (and still need to even start preparing my presentation, so that’s the task for this weekend) and as this is a big one and a social one (looking forward to meeting many friends), I likely won’t have time for anything else. Plus my student is also presenting, so I have to help them with their presentation, giving feedback on slides, listen to the first version, etc. I’d normally do this well before leaving and make the student give a presentation to department as the final step of presentation training, but this week everything got postponed due to that proposal.

    I’ll reconsider my writing goals the first week of December, when I am back from conferencing.

      1. Thanks! I am still amazed that we actually pulled it off (and hope we get the funding and never have to do it again on such short notice – it was madness!)

      2. And you still have the energy to look forward to the conference? Impressive! Hope it goes great! (and that your colleagues are all still talking to each other…)

  9. Last goals: re-revise my presentation to make it into a publishable paper/ write 15 minutes a day

    Achieved: I made a re-revision of the revision plan of my presentation. I wrote only two days.

    Analysis: my re-revision plan is a rough one, but it helps me to think at least I am doing something during this busiest of the busy term. Anyway, I am going to – I have to – finish the first draft of the paper by the end of this year. As for writing, I am not doing well. I open my PC, but usually I just sit and think with my hands on the keyboard, then the time is up- I have to go to class or meeting, or go to pick up my kids and so on.

    Next goal: write the introductory part of the paper/ write 15 minutes a day – I keep trying to follow this rule.

    Interesting posts, Bavardess! Interdisciprinaly studies have been always interesting to me but also very difficult.

    1. Maybe it would be useful just to free write on those short writing times, or spend the first one of the week brainstorming possible topics to write about in small chunks, and then pick one for each day to write quickly about. It may just be good to get words on paper and leave the editing and careful correcting for later.

      1. Thanks, amstr! Yes, it is absolutely necessary to make good use of these short writing times. Anyway, ‘write first and revise later’, I’ll try!

  10. Last goal: One hour Monday (writing date, yay); two hours each day for the rest of the week.

    Achieved: nothing Thursday (cooking took more time than I expected, even though I was cooking to take to someone else’s house, so I didn’t have the rest of the hoo-ha of Thanksgiving), but I spent at least the time planned every other day!

    Next goal: 1 hour Monday; day in major research library Tuesday; 1-1.5 hours Wednesday; 2 hours each on Thursday and Friday (can make up on Saturday if Friday gets away from me).

    Commentary: Getting nearly all the grading done before the break was a wonderful thing, because I have been able to concentrate. Some of this week’s research was “raw,” forcing various online databases to cough up information (finally got a key date!); this is a good thing to do with big chunks of time, because the failed search strings are hard to keep track of in little bits. I enjoy that work. I’d like it even more if I could come up with a will for someone, but not *all* calendars of documents are yet digitized, hence my plans for Tuesday. I’ve also done more “cooked” work, and now have an outline for the new and improved MMP that I like, with new and improved first paragraph. I’m going to work on developing/filling in that outline, first by turning topics into topic sentences, then by moving in chunks from the recent work that my writing group commented on, and then moving/re-writing bits from older drafts.

    I refuse to think about how many drafts this has gone through already; the nature of the project has changed considerably since I first began it. I like where it is now and I have a lot of material to work with, so it IS all good!

    And I still need to do some final edits on the piece that was accepted back in September and send it back; and I have more than ever to do on the translation work, with which I am far far behind; and in the next few weeks there will be some more significant chunks of grading. But I really want to put everything else aside and finish the MMP before the new year. It’s been years. I love this project but it’s time to wrap it up. I’ll catch up with the other research after the MMP goes out.

    One of the things I liked about Bavardess’s posts and the ideas therein was the clear outline of things you need to think about. I don’t think I got any formal instruction about research projects after high school; obviously I’m at least reasonably successful at working out how they should be done (I finished a dissertation and have written about a dozen articles), but I tend to just wade in to something interesting and then, at some point, realize that I’m up to my neck and drifting away with the current. Both by nature and by training, I’m drawn to interdisciplinary fields, but this is one reason I’m slow to publish, as I wind up self-educating in yet another area. Even if I keep right on doing the kind of work I’ve been doing, it would be useful to do it more consciously, thinking about frameworks, philosophies, and problems at some early stage in a project, rather than later when I’m finding the material recalcitrant.

    1. I hear you, Dame E., especially on the wading and drifting with the current and the self-educating! But sometimes I think it’s good to let the material tell you what frameworks and philosophies it needs rather than starting out with them and making the material fit.

      1. Oh, I don’t mean the latter—just to keep the idea of the framework consciously in mind. Maybe the metaphor is to listen actively to the material, rather than making it clamor for attention.

      2. Yes, listen actively to the material! (In my first comment, btw, I knew that wasn’t what *you* meant. I was offering a way for not yet having frameworks, etc. to be a positive thing.)

  11. Last week’s goal: continued editing and cutting (of my 2500 commissioned article).

    Accomplished: ??? Well, I edited, I guess, because I threw out the original introduction and rewrote it. But I think I just replaced words. At any rate, I’m at 2829 words with some footnotes to fill in (so ultimately probably 2850 words), which means I still have to cut about 350 words. I have *no* idea where they’re going to come from. Sigh. And, also, I think the article is kinda dumb. It’s supposed to be a “food for thought” article — it’s going to be in a journal with about 10-15 other such pieces — but I think it’s kind of obvious in the end. Sigh again.

    For next week: Cut some more!

    Other comments: Bavardess, those were *great* posts. Of course, they just overwhelmed me and made me feel inadequate. ;-P But at this point in the semester, *everything* does that. God, I’ll be glad when this semester is over and I’ve got this dumb article (and that review article, which I’ve been procrastinating on) *done* and I can turn back to my more original research.

    1. Of course, replacing words is good work if the new words are better! But obviously they don’t help toward the goal of cutting words; good luck!

    2. Of course, they just overwhelmed me and made me feel inadequate. ;-P But at this point in the semester, *everything* does that.

      I hear you on that. I keep telling myself not to make any major decisions about what I can and can’t do right now, when I’m feeling absolutely exhausted. Of course, I also have to watch out for the “I’ll do it over Christmas break” syndrome, which leads to more exhaustion. Somewhere there’s a happy medium.

  12. Last week’s goal: write all of my remaining lectures, two study guides, and my final exams this week

    Accomplished: Done! It’s a miracle – a Thanksgiving miracle!

    This week’s goal: Finish marking and go through 3 ILL books.

    I’ve already started the marking and tomorrow will be devoted to it, too. If I get the marking done before Wednesday, that leaves me Wednesday through the weekend to review those books and maybe even get some writing done. That would be fabulous! I’m desperately trying to wrap up all my loose ends to keep December for dissertation writing.

    Those posts were great and I need to remember to come back to them post-defense. Some sort of more structured project planning would have been really helpful with my dissertation. I was mostly left to my own devices, which is great if you have a clear idea of what you want to do. I didn’t, but now I know the mistakes I need/want to avoid in planning my next project and that’s crucial. These posts will give even more structure to the planning process, so thanks, Bavardess and Dame Eleanor!

    1. Big update: I wrote 400 words last night! I had a breakthrough of sorts and decided to write some things down. That breakthrough turned into two whole pages. Yay. I’m hoping the momentum continues!

      1. Yay, indeed. I’m amazed at how quickly you’ve managed to turn back to your work after what sounds like a grueling semester. Optimally planned or not, it sounds like you know what you’re doing at this point (which is more than I could say for most of my diss-writing process, which is one reason it took so long).

  13. So excited to be checking in on a Saturday. The benefit of the long weekend!

    Goals: eh, not exactly. I do have a solid first draft written now, but it needs 2000+ words cut to reach the submission limit.

    Goals for next week: print out full draft and edit by hand (just works better that way); take notes on last two items to be read.

    I should know by now that trying to write every day–or even saying that I will–just doesn’t work for me. I need longer chunks of time, so, weekends work better.

    I am getting to the point where I just need to get the article out–it has been through multiple rejections and I am tired of rewriting it, would really like to move on to something fresher. Any advice for working through it when the article starts to feel too worked over?

    1. Some suggestions! The key thing, I believe, is to get some distance from it so you can see it afresh.

      Hide it, put it aside, work on something else for a few days.

      Change the font. Print it out if you work on screen or work on screen if you usually work on print-outs – do whatever you can to make it look different and trick your brain a little.

      Pretend it belongs to a student or colleague and you are just offering advice.

      Ask a grad student or colleague to read it and give you pointers.

      Reverse outlining.

      Starting over (this feels painful but can be very freeing)

      Writing a letter about the project to your imagined ideal reader, explaining why what you’ve got is fun and interesting, using deliberately informal language…

      [mind you sometimes I just hate a paper too much for even that to workk]

  14. Last week’s goals: start Ch. 4 draft, read for Ch. 4. Productive procrastination goals: send Ch. 2 to advisor, work on office cleaning.

    Accomplished: a poor showing for starting Ch. 4, but it’s officially started. Did much more regular procrastination than the productive kind.

    Next week’s goals: research + 1000 words on Ch. 4; send Ch. 3 to 2nd advisor; send Ch. 2 to primary advisor.

    Commentary: I got Ch. 3 back from advisor with a big thumbs up and some minor editing changes. Now I need to fill in a couple footnotes and send it off again. I’m still waiting on my writing partner to read my Ch. 2, and should be able to slam through it this week. I think I’ve freaked myself it about Ch. 4 enough that I’m officially avoiding it. (Though I’ve had enough extra events to be overwhelmed by them alone.) I know research is the first thing that will help me. And I know I need to power through a full rough draft so I have something to work with. December is a terrible month to have to power through something. But as my husband keeps telling me, it’s only one month, and it’s the last crazy (because of diss.) December. I think I’m going to have to do a lot of things in my non-writing life that are barely enough in order to make the chapter good enough.

    Thanksgiving this year turned into our holiday times with both families one right after the other, with an impromptu trip to Disneyland tacked on the weekend before. My ‘writing retreat’ when my kids were at the grandparents was much less productive than I’d have liked. I’m counting on GEW for a great in-person pep talk tomorrow! She’s known me and my writing patterns for many years now, and she consistently gives me the right advice to move me along to the next step. Here’s to good writing friends!

    1. Congrats on the thumbs up for Ch. 3! Maybe having minor work to do on Chs. 2 & 3 and having to plow into Ch. 4 will be a good set-up for productive procrastination? Good luck this week — the end is in sight!

    2. Sounds like you’re getting very, very close. It also sounds like your husband’s on board, and can help you shape December in a way that will make a few fond (rather than deprived) family members of “that crazy December when mom was finishing her diss.” There’s almost nothing that really *must* be done in December (except, perhaps, buying a few presents since you have kids).

  15. Last week: Two hours of work. Setting a low bar!

    Accomplished: Done, but only as of this morning (Sunday) — talk about meeting the goal only at the last minute!

    Next week: Pull together a complete draft of the chapter. It doesn’t have to be pretty, and it will have holes, but I need to get the whole thing put together so that I can spend a couple of weeks doing real revision.

    Commentary: My busy season is almost over (trimester almost wrapped up, family Thanksgiving come and gone), and now I need to roll up my shirt sleeves and get to work with this chapter. The self-imposed deadline is that I’m handing it over in whatever state it is to a colleague on Dec. 19 — still 3 weeks away, and all kinds of things can get done in that time (although of course the new term is getting up and going at the same time). So it’s a perfectly reasonable goal, but one that I’ll only reach with some discipline. And it was *hard* this morning to get back to work after neglecting the project for three weeks! But back to work I am, and I know that success begets success.

  16. Last Week: Two days of research before heading off for Thanksgiving. Some early writing and outline drafting.

    Accomplished: Two half days of research. But no early writing or outlining.

    Next Week: Two half days of research and two additional work sessions of 45 minutes.

    Commentary: I need to figure out the parameters of this article before end-of-semester grading completely swamps me. I am wallowing in the research and need long-distance perspective on the big picture to climb out. That will be my major goal this week.

  17. Last week: Forgot to set a goal! That’s convenient.

    Accomplished: Finished revisions on a short freelance piece and submitted to the editor.

    Commentary: I set aside work on book revisions to finish up a short freelance article. The article was already drafted, but I had set it aside when I hit a wall. Taking a few weeks off helped. I finished the revisions in just a few hours. I hope the break from book revisions will produce similar results when I start up again today. I took the end of the week off to enjoy Thanksgiving. I feel much more rested and ready for the final week of classes.

    Next week: Setting the bar low. It’s the last week of classes. I have student defending his thesis. And we are minus one car, while we wait for a quote on repairs. So I’ll be happy with an hour of work each day (6 hours).

    Bavardess, thanks for the great posts. I’ve bookmarked them to come back to later when I can focus more. I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment. But I’m intrigued by the idea of a framework for interdisciplinary research. So much of my work is interdisciplinary because of the nature of my professional and academic fields.

  18. Last week’s goal: 1) 4 12-minute sessions on poems; 2) 1 12-minute session on the residency app. Also hope, over Thanksgiving, to get some ms. submissions done, but not top priority.

    Accomplished: Both goals, and did a little research related to ms. submissions.

    Next week’s goal: Pretty much the same: 1) 4 12-minute sessions on poems; 2) 1 12-minute session on the residency app.; 3) 1 12-minute session on lyric essay (probably just reading); 4) get out one submission. It’s going to be a demanding week, but I know I’ll feel better throughout it if I’m continuing to check in with my writing projects.

    Sorry to be so brief checking in, but still deeply grateful for this group.

  19. last goal: Submit abstract and go to conference.

    accomplished: Good conference, no abstract.

    next goal: Finish revise & resubmit. Then tiny goals of 30 minutes a day with manuscript project

    commentary: There was no writing during conference time, which means the abstract was not submitted because I did not manage to complete it before embarking. And that’s OK, because there will be other projects that come up. As I am now overwhelmed by grading and service projects for the next few weeks, I will stop berating myself for not getting things done and instead focus on doing. I’m doing a little hyperscheduling (assigning half hour blocks to projects for the next two days) in the hope of reestablishing a sense of control. Happy to see good productive weeks for so many in the group!

    Also thanks to Bavardess for the posts on interdisciplinary research. I tend to do a lot of boundary crossing and will spend some time thinking about this. Bookmarked for later reference.

  20. Last week’s goals: Make edits on LM paper; finalize P&P or TS paper (depending on which comes back first).

    Accomplished: Made edits on LM paper; reworked TS paper (again!)

    Analysis: I believe all that is left of the LM paper is to clean up the citations, abstract, and general formatting. I’ve already started on the citations. I thought the same was true of the TS paper but once I looked at it, i started making more edits. I am still not happy with the introduction so will be working on that some more. P&P paper is not yet back from co-authors.

    Next week’s goals: Send LM paper out??? Rework TS intro

  21. Last week’s goals: Weave holes, spending at least 4 hours during the week.

    Accomplished: I got 2 hours done on Friday, since I had to work. My department was empty, the phone didn’t ring–bliss. This evening, my sons and husband will do the male-bonding, TV-viewing, ritual while I work on the article at the other end of the house for another 2 hours.

    Analysis: I spent some time nesting, both at the office and at home, which paid dividends in feeling more in control of my time and my surroundings. Also, following Dame Eleanor’s excellent advice about contacting my director, I spend a fair amount of Friday figuring out where I was and where I was headed on the dissertation, in preparation for sending off the email.

    Next week’s goals: Touch article O five out of seven days for at least half an hour each time.

    I found Bavardess’ articles full of good advice. I have had to weather more than a decade of my husband’s withering criticism of scholars (usually literary scholars) who dabble in everything from philosophy to science, ending up doing all the disciplines badly.

    I am a medievalist, so interdisciplinary studies seems a norm to me. However, I have always encountered a sole-author bias in the humanities. I think it would be exciting to work with someone whose complementary skills would allow me to delve more deeply (and without drawing fire for being a dilettante) into a subject in which I have only “educated layman” facility, but a real interest and passion.

    1. I am working now on a collaborative project which is both scary (means branching out into digital humanities, which is important but not exactly my comfort zone) and fun, since our research complements each other’s. It is tricky, though, because the primary sources are from her research, though they’re very useful for mine– I feel a little guilty “poaching” on research she’s done. And I can see that I’m going to be struggling with vague feelings of guilt for much of the process, because I am not going to be doing every single thing myself– learning to truly collaborate is going to be an interesting process. But I think it’s going to be a fun experience overall.

  22. Gulp! I am so lucky that time-travel exists in cyber-space. Once again, I am checking in on a Monday morning here…

    However, for once, I am here to report success! Goal: Strengthen conclusion.

    Achieved: Yes! (Well, kind of…) I have finished fiddling with the article, have added a footnote which is not snarky, explaining the different uses of “English” and “British” (though my response to the editor on the reviewer’s reading of this may have been a touch snarky), strengthened the conclusion (largely by pointing out that it was a conclusion – I added a header). And I have sent it off. I am not going to worry about that for a while!

    Next goal: Map out the article for a conference paper which I just found out I was still signed up for. I have plenty of ideas for this, I just need to map it out and do the writing!

    Analysis: Look! Due dates make me work! This is not news to me, but I’m still working on ways to make dates I set myself count.

    Discovering that I’m still down to present a paper at a conference mid-next year (which will then be published) has put me in a bit of a spin – I know the paper I want to present, and I think it will fit in with the conference very nicely, but, as I am not affiliated with any uni anymore, I don’t know if I’ll make it to the conference itself due to funding shortfalls, which is rather a shame. I’m also not really sure how I feel about continuing to ‘do academic work’, when I thought I was trying to get out of it. On the other hand, I was planning on writing this paper sometime, anyway, so, again, having a due date will help!

    And as for getting out of academia, I’ve just signed up for two papers next year through a (highly reputable) distance learning course, on Museum Studies. Turns out I haven’t finished with universities…

  23. goal for last two weeks: stay in touch with project, make progress on some of the small sections/projects I’ve identified to work on.

    accomplished: no, but I did write another freelance piece (I should have included that as a goal).

    I also got a letter saying that, as of next school year, I’ll be a non-tenure track Associate Professor (which I realize is sort of an oxymoron, but they/we exist, as of a few years ago, at my institution). That’s an “achievement” about which I’m deeply ambivalent, especially since it comes without a guaranteed raise (a small one might, apparently, still show up; that happened last year), greater responsibilities, or anything else tangible, but it beats having spent a week last summer when I could have been writing pulling together materials and then *not* getting promoted (which actually happened last time I applied, because a Dean decided to change the rules on a whole cohort of potential promotees at the last minute). And I’m glad to have some recognition that, wherever I fit in the hierarchy, I am an experienced teacher. However, if I ever want to be a real (i.e. tenured) associate professor, I’m going to have to publish and search for another job, in that order, which, of course (aside from simply wanting to research and write because I enjoy doing so) is why I’m here.

    analysis: this has been a really hard semester, mostly for reasons I can at least identify, if not change immediately. I need to take on less church work (and can, as a 3-year stint on the governing board draws to a close; the problem with the third year is that it’s especially hard to say no to short-term projects that really are crucial, or at least important, and I said “yes” to a couple, of others’ or my own making). I also need to find better balance between the freelance (paid, but not particularly career-building) and the scholarly (unpaid) writing (and I need to deal with some other financial issues which might ease the pressure a little, but probably only a little). And I need to think about whether there’s a way to approach my present job that recognizes that, promotion or not, I probably need to be thinking about trying to leave it sooner rather than later. It’s hard to make a 4/4 writing-intensive load anything approaching “manageable,” but i can probably stop trying new things quite as often (and we’re sort of reaching the end of a cycle of new initiatives that encouraged such activity). Unfortunately, there are also some less-voluntary initiatives, especially ones having to do with online teaching, coming down the pike which look to involve pretty labor-intensive compliance requirements. I also need to see if any of the limited internal funding available to people in my position might be relevant (unfortunately, a lot of it seems to encourage the creation of new courses, and my job is mostly to teach a limited number of versions of the same class over and over, with room for informal but not much formal innovation). There are some thing I can do that point in those directions now, but mostly I just need to get through the end of the semester, especially the grading. However, I can take a week’s hiatus from the freelance work (there’s more to come in Dec.) So,

    Goal for next week: Touch base in some way with the J article on 2-3 days. Depending on what I find about the internal funding sources (I need to do some research tomorrow), I might substitute writing a proposal for funding, probably for some portion of the P project.

  24. What Now?, I see your bar, and lower it. 🙂 Between a bunch of long-distance driving and family festivities and such, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get much done this week, so I set myself a goal of Zero Words. And that has given me the great pleasure of reporting that I did, in fact, succeed in writing Zero Words! *throws confetti*

    Now, back to the coal mines – I mean, back to the rewards of cherishing and petting my beloved book project. Hoping that the week off will give me fresh perspective and renewed energy.

    Bavardess, haven’t had a chance to follow the links yet, but am grateful for them. I’m teaching historiography to grad students this semester, and one of the developments they’ve been most interested in is the rise of interdisciplinary possibilities, and especially collaborative work. They recognize that it’s not the norm, but it’s what they find most promising, and I’ve done all I can to encourage that. I’m looking forward to continuing these discussions with them.

  25. Would it be useful to list some collaborative teams in the humanities, so people can see what kinds of work scholars do collaborate on in normally non-collaborative fields?

    Mooney and Horobin, Horobin and Wiggins, Edwards and Boffey, Jardine and Grafton.

    Who else?

    1. Love these suggestions – thanks! My students really liked Adams and Pleck, Love of Freedom – both historians, but one focusing on legal sources and the other on literary, in a nicely balanced work.

  26. Finally back from seeing far to many people for the holiday.
    Goal: work on book 2 times Continue reading book D. Record as needed.
    Accomplished/Commentary: worked one and a half times? The one time I wrote about 50 words, realized how tired I was and went to bed instead. Reading didn’t happen.

    New goal: Grading done by Wed. Work on book 3 times. Read.

  27. Last minute check in.

    Last week’s goal: 60 minutes of work–taking it where I can get it.

    Accomplished: Nada.

    Analysis: Too much of a rush for analysis.

    Next week’s goal: Get up early Tuesday and Thursday to work for an hour each of those mornings. This is a new strategy for me and will be painful.

  28. Also a quick, late check-in.
    Goal was 30 mins Monday and steal some time over Thanksgiving. The whole week was OBE, Monday with grading and, starting Tuesday, a third bout of fever /illness for my kid.

    Goal for the coming week. 1 survive it 2. 30 mins MWF

  29. This week was lost to my first flu of the year. I can sit up now, but it will be a day or two before I can be productive. My goal is to be writing again by mid week.

  30. I’m also sorry for a late and brief check-in!

    Goal: Begin 3 grant applications; catch up on grading; 4 30-minute writing sessions.

    Accomplished: Caught up on grading, more or less! Began 2 out of 3 grant applications, and managed 2 writing sessions.

    For next week: Finish 3 grant applications. 4 30-minute writing sessions on book chapter.

  31. Last goal: 30 minutes on actual writing, two days in the week. Smaller tasks for smaller RAs thought up and sent. Also: MUL data rearranged, grant finally submitted (Monday), maybe even try to submit paper #1.

    Progress: submitted grant, but in a bout of binge work that probably took too much time, and then devoted the rest of the week to family.

    Next goal: cultivating discipline! Small bouts of work every day. (more than can be done with one hand and an iPhone, which is how I’m posting!)

    The interdisciplinary advice was interesting. It’s a tricky thing to do successfully in my area since different fields have such different truth-searching methods. It’s worth it to think of ways that the other discipline would be integral to understanding my data, rather than just applying my methods or theories to a different field, which is what I had done brfore.

  32. Another late check in. Visitjng parents, workmen (new bathroom proceeding v ery slowly. It better be pretty!), plus heavy teaching weeks. Gah!

    last week’s goal: spend two hours (in fifteen minute chunks if necessary) stitching all the comments into the latest version of the multi-authored paper.

    achieved: one chunk of about 5 minutes. But I don’t feel that bad about it, because I’m a little further ahead in my teaching prep than anticipated which will free time up later in the semester, and because sometimes it’s worth spending those 15 minute gaps talking to a colleague or a student, or just standing outside in the daylight breathing! On the other hand, my NaNo writing is proceeding steadily, and teaching me a lot of things. I probably won’t ‘win’ this year – I am just shy of 40k words, five days to go, no weekend days left, and the building job over-running (plus my characters being difficult and my plot in tatters) – but it is both great fun and educational, so I accept that that may steal my writing time this week.

    analysis: I’m fed up with this semester, and distracted on the domestic front. My writing is suffering in consequence. It’s always the important stuff that suffers in these circs. I have to keep telling myself that it doesn’t make me a failure or a bad person, and that next semester Will Be Better (noticeably less teaching, I have a pretty unbalanced load again this year).

    goal for next week: spend two hours (in fifteen minute chunks if necessary) stitching all the comments into the latest version of the multi-authored paper. Probably on Saturday or Sunday, but as long as it gets TOUCHED I’ll be oK with that.

    forthcoming attractions: Trapped in Canadia, I can’t seem to find an email address for you to check in on our plans for the next iteration of the group. I’m at mollimog at gmail dot com. Looking forward to it!

  33. Sorry to be so late–many in our household again succumbed to some virus, self included.

    Last week’s goal: 1 hr/day of writing, and clarify the structure of the argument, for conference paper

    Achieved: yes on time spent. On content: well, it’s still rambling a bit, but it’s got to be good enough b/c I had to send it to the discussant. And I did!

    Analysis: I re-learned that when you work on a piece every day, it does stay fresh in the mind, so that the writing becomes much easier. But I only seem to be able to follow this advice when I absolutely *have* to get a piece done. If not, there’s always teaching, and grading, and students. . . .

    *Note to self: Have to get better at this job so I can do some writing every week and not be swamped by teaching stuff all the time*

    Next week’s goal: well, considering that I did none of my grading last week, this week will have to be devoted to grading. I’m going to let the paper rest for a week, and come back to it the week after.

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