De maygustibus non disputandem est!

I realize some of you are not on the North American semester system, indeed not in the Northern Hemisphere; and some of you are on quarters and will be teaching for awhile yet; and others will be traveling.  Keep your own rhythms in mind as you set goals.  If you’re just “touching” your project until June, don’t worry about people who have finished their grading and are ratcheting up word counts.  If you feel like you need to get a lot done at the beginning of the summer to allow time for plans later (like, say, being glued to the TV for hours a day during the Tour de France [not looking in a mirror here or anything]), then ignore everyone in real or virtual life who says “Relax, have some vacation,” because you know that will come later.

This iteration will run 15 weeks, with the last Monday-morning planning session being 19 August.  That will be my last week before classes start, and I count my “real” summer as ending that week.

Here’s the list of participants and their projects:
Allan Wilson (formerly known as kiwi2)
write and submit Cox 1
polish dissertation for September defense
write review article
Contingent Cassandra
submit Article J
Dame Eleanor Hull
complete rough translation of all my assigned chunks of Translation Project
Dr. Virago
finish draft of Slow Perk article
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
finish Article B
finish MCA
Heu Mihi
research, plan, and outline the first chapter of Projected Book
finish MS for Revised Book Project (RBP)
hypatia cade
complete Grant Article
finish Article RT
John Spence
edit, introduce, translate short medieval text and submit it for review.
submit Article H
combine two conference papers into one article
revise article draft for publication
contain the Many-headed Monster: about 20pp more of Head 4, ~15 pages introduction, groom the hair on Heads 1, 2, and 3.
clone Small Paper from Big Paper and submit both
write Conference Paper B
finish/polish draft of Cutting Edge Research Book (CERB)
finish Book Spinoff article
Pym Fan
turn WGS Project into finished essay
4 chapters of Reincarnation Book (fiction)
Revise and resubmit Floyd
revise paper for submission as article
complete draft of Methods Paper
What Now?
Finish one chapter of book project
Design Fancyproject; write up grant application for Fancyproject
finish article for Big Name Journal
single project
Paper on the darker side of mestizaje
produce a detailed plan for Book Two

So: it’s Monday morning, the week stretches ahead, and we have interesting, absorbing work to do.  What part of your project are you going to address this week?  Are you setting goals in terms of time, product, or both?  Are you doing conceptual work, writing pages, gathering material, or what?  Allow me to suggest that you set a realistic goal that you can be sure to meet by next Monday, so that you can feel successful and then build on that success.

55 thoughts on “Maygust 2013 Writing Group

  1. Overall Goal: to write and submit Cox1
    My goals are framed in terms of product.
    This week’s goals: set a schedule, creating a doable plan for the paper Cox1 check and curate data. Data fall into five categories that I will call: cut, nut, iso, morph, hybrid. I expect data curation to take two weeks total. Cut data is sorted. This week I will curate the data for nut and iso, sorting it out appropriately so it is ready for analysis. As part of this process, I will consider sample sizes.
    3. I will also check out the journal I will potentially submit to.

  2. I will hit the ground running on Tuesday (our technical start of summer semester).

    My goals are mostly process, though the product has an order to it.

    1. I will finish reading the 5 papers that the editor said were woefully missing from my lit review
    2. I will write one hour each morning starting with the small paper outline.

  3. This week I still have some wrapping up of admin work to do (reading a pile of post-doc applications), and as I noted when I signed up, I have to finish preparing a journal issue. However, I like the idea that this group makes me accountable, so for this week I want to spend half an hour a day thinking about the spin-off project, and the book from which it spins. Doing even this for the next few weeks will put me in a position to really get to work when I finish the journal and head to London for the summer of research. And it has to be time, not product, because there won’t be product right now!

    1. Knowing that you only have to “make” time for a fairly short period, and that that will put you in a good position to make the most of more extended time when you have it, may make it easier to take the half hour a day that will set you up well for London!

  4. Thanks again for hosting, DEH. This is the last week of the semester. I’m wrapping up some other writing projects so my goals for this week and the next three or four weeks will be modest.

    Overall goal: write conference paper B.

    Week one goals: 1). Review the abstract I submitted for the conference paper; 2). Start preliminary bibliography — probably nothing more than just setting up a folder in EndNote.

    1. As with ProfessorSusan, I expect that a limited period with limited goals in which you know you’re gearing up for something will probably be very helpful in the long run!

  5. Overall Goal: 4 Chapters in Reincarnation book.
    My weekly goals are time based, to accommodate life.
    This week: Read (or re-read) 3-4 “pieces” I already have written. (I have 17 total.) Add content/corrections as necessary. Begin to sort order (in terms of chapters) and usability of said pieces.

  6. Actually, I am not going to be starting the review article for about one month. That’s because I’ve got two substantial grant applications to submit around the beginning of June.

  7. Overall goal: submit Article H

    For the next few weeks, my goal is to keep in touch with the project.

    This week’s goal: One hour revising. I’ll work from an existing to-do list I made for this paper so as to have a specific starting point.

    -Luo Lin

    1. What I said to Susan and nwgirl . . . it’s nice to have a group of you who are going to be working in similar ways. You can use each other for inspiration.

  8. Overall goal: contain the Many-headed Monster: about 20pp more of Head 4, ~15 pages introduction, groom the hair on Heads 1, 2, and 3.

    Week’s goal: I have a meeting on Monday and so will spend the morning organizing my data. The real goal of the week is to produce 2000 words for chapter 4. I usually do not do a word count, but I want to see if this keeps me motivated. I will start with the word count for chapter 4 and then keep a diary every day of the words that I have added to it.

    1. Keeping the “words accomplished” count has been key for me lately. Good luck on your goals!

  9. Overall goal: polish dissertation for September defense

    I just got back from an extremely productive writing retreat weekend, so I want to keep my momentum and get the two chapters I worked on out the door by the end of the week.

    Goals for the week: send ER chapter to writing partner; send Arc chapter to advisor; start drafting conclusion.

  10. I’ve decided to call my project Little Eef. Goals for this week:

    1) Write precis of the very important secondary source which is project’s namesake.

    2) Begin to identify key secondary sources to update the historiography (project is a rewrite of an older paper).

    3) Spend at least an hour updating the appendix. More if possible, and part of that hour maybe involve strategizing a metadata problem that’s arisen with that appendix. (The metadata problem will also need to be written up in the paper, but that’s for another week).

    1. I’m beginning to think I should collect a list of useful planning tasks and do a post about research methods, following up on some discussions Z and I have had about research and avoiding “just writing.” Writing a precis or abstract of a secondary source is a good way to be sure you’ve grasped its argument and think about how you want to interact with it. In these days of PDF highlighting and post-it notes, it’s a task I confess that I often skip, but the work goes much better when I do it (note to self!).

      1. I’ve also been sort of thinking of my blog as a space to do that kind of precis-thinking — my last post was me thinking out loud about, um, Big Eef, and how it was applicable to this project and other things I’ve been thinking about. … For me personally, I feel like I don’t quite fully “have” a secondary source until I’ve written out a summary etc. on a trusty 5×8 index card!

      2. I am supposed to be pitching Zotero to people, and I do, and I use it to hold stuff, but I learned the index card thing in grad school and I just need to write out a summary by hand.

        One of the faculty I work with was in my PhD program, and it was fun teaching her Zotero because we had learned the same note-taking technique, so I was able to really tailor the instruction to that technique…

  11. Overall project: combine two conference papers into one article.

    This week: little groundwork jobs
    * Read the two papers
    * Figure out where they do and don’t speak to each other and work out a restructure plan
    * Find a journal to submit the paper to.

    This is essentially conceptual work, and it is task based. I find that task based work feels less overwhelming.

  12. Overall project: come up with a great idea for Fancyproject and wirte it up as grant application

    Weekly goal: I have two possible directions in which Fancyproject could develop: let’s call them “Hottopic” and “Bioinspired”. This week I’ll read 3 Review articles about “Bioinspired” and look up who are the currently strong groups in this field.

  13. Overall Project: Complete draft of article and submit.
    Weekly Goal: Finish going through microfilm, print out all scanned documents, and organize the material into folders. Decide whether I need to order more microfilm from inter-library loan.

  14. Overall goal: complete rough translation of all my assigned chunks of Translation Project.

    Goal for this week: translate 100 lines a day.

    Basically, this will be my goal every week this summer, 500 lines a week. Polishing will be another task, as will editing my team members’ portions. My reasoning for picking the translation as my main summer goal is that (a) I have a lot of research projects, but they are all at stages where either I hope to finish more than one this summer, or where there is no hope of finishing during the summer; and (b) the translation is the thing that is most likely to get put off, because it seems as if it would be easy to catch up, and because I find the MMP-1,2,3 projects really exciting and absorbing. After this spring’s Challenge, I think I can actually average 100 lines a day of rough translation, and it would be very nice to have even a very rough draft of the whole mess by the time school starts again.

    So I may do “ordinary” posts about the MMP and its tentacles, but for me the writing group is going to be one long Translation Challenge. You’ll get bored with my goals and progress, I predict.

  15. Overall project: write Article RT

    Weekly Goal: pull together my bibliography (first stage, it will expand) and begin writing the lit review. As I was walking the dog this morning, I thought my way through three paragraphs of that, plotting out the key points and needed references.

      1. Walking (with or without dog) is certainly good for thinking, but I do get some thinking in while feeding our four cats, since I pretty much have to stand there and watch in case Greedy Boy tries to stick his head into any of the girls’ bowls.

  16. Overall project: revise article draft into publication

    This week’s goal:
    (1) read my old article draft and make notes on where to revise
    (2) conduct literature searches
    (3) read the most related literature

    I am going to follow Wendy Belcher’s book, skipping and taking longer time here and there.

  17. Overall goal: Write draft of Methods Paper

    I definitely do better with product goals than time or word count goals. I’m also very much in the conceptualize and data gathering phase of this paper. I’ve been reading bits and pieces and taking handwritten notes throughout the spring semester. My goal for this week will be to review and type up all of those notes and identify what still needs to be read/found.

  18. Thank you for hosting, Dame Eleanor.

    Overall goal: Finish draft of article B and submit.

    This week’s goal: Spend an hour a day transcribing the notes from my handwritten scribbles. If done before the end of the week, outline the article.

  19. I am still grading – finishing up semester so this week’s overall goal is to get in shape for next week’s research and writing rhythms, and I am doing it in terms of time.

    Time: Thursday morning 2.5 hours, Friday morning .5 hour.

    That’s it. I am doing other work around the mss., but it is things like going through files; I am putting that outside the pale of writing this week although I may consider it a part of next week’s much expanded hours.

  20. Overall goal: Turn WGS Project into a finished essay.

    I need to work my way back into this project after being away from it for several weeks, so my early goals should involve touching the project every day and organizing what I have so far (research, notes, thoughts).

    Also, since I’m a freelance editor and not an academic, I don’t have the summer off (tant pis), so I want these goals to help prevent me from letting this project get bumped off the day’s priority list by paying work, etc.

    This week’s goals:
    (1) Half an hour a day of organizing, researching, and/or note taking.
    (2) Write a precis (good term!) of the research I’ve done so far, flagging avenues I still need to follow.

  21. My overall goal is to have a complete draft of the Cutting Edge Research Book (CERB). As I mentioned in dialogue with DEH, I have quite a lot of this done, but it must GET DONE and submitted to publishers that I spoke with in January.

    Thanks to this group I spent a couple of hours yesterday plotting out what I hope is a realistic timeline for the completion of the project. But for now I am focusing on the week to week so as not to be completely overwhelmed with the enormity of the task.

    Goal for the week: Reach goal is to have Chapter 2 in solid draft form by Sunday. I plan to accomplish this by spending two hours a day in full lockdown mode (which means, “DH do not come into my office!” and “Turn on Freedom to bar all internet temptations!) working on a particular task each day. So, Monday (today) I am going to reread the draft of the intro chapter hoping its content can permeate chapter 2 and then work on transforming notes into sentences. Tuesday same thing. Wednesday and Thursday will be massaging material from second data source into the written draft. Then, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are rewrite, edit, polish, evaluate. But just in case I have too lofty a completion plan, my real real goal here is to spend that time each day in lockdown working on said tasks.

    I should say that I have been working on this draft in fits and starts since September, so I already have lots of stuff on the page. I am thinking that ultimately this chapter may need to be divided into two, and this is a good thing.

  22. [As previously agreed, I’ll start for real on June 3. Just checking in to stay on the radar/list]

    Overall goal: finish & submit J article

    Overall time/process goal (June-late August): work on article for at least one hour a day at least twice a week [I expect to exceed this during the non-teaching parts of the summer (otherwise known as the first three weeks of June and possibly a bit of mid-August), and reserve the right to take another week of vacation in early August, but that’s the overall plan].

    Goal for May: spring semester cleanup & vacation

    Next check-in: June 3

    As I’ve written before, time/process goals generally work best for me, since I tend to write a lot and then cut/condense. The overall time/process goal above is deliberately modest, to allow for variations in other commitments. However, I could probably finish the article (probably more than finish it) in 22 writing sessions (12 weeks in June/July/August minus one for vacation x 2), but probably not if they were only an hour long. But I’m not actually good at writing for only an hour; in fact, exploring the best length for a writing session is probably another underlying/ongoing goal. I also need to pay more attention to when in the writing process I need longer sessions, and when I may be able to make use of shorter (even one-hour) ones. I’m hoping that my schedule this summer — off in June, teaching in July — may actually work well, since I suspect that I need planning/big picture considering time first, and hope that, by July, I’ll be looking more at a bunch of loose ends to tie up (e.g. sources to find, footnotes to write). We’ll see how that hypothesis tests out against reality.

    1. I like the idea of exploring the ideal length of a writing session. I am *terrible* at the “do something daily” practice (I’ve tried) and I think it’s because it usually takes me several hours to get into a project.

  23. I still have three more weeks of classes, followed by exams, so my goals for the next month will mostly be working through some primary and secondary sources in hopes of not just touching the project but actually working myself up to a fever-pitch of excitement so that I can’t wait to dive in once summer officially starts.

    For this week, that means spending at least 3 hours reading and taking notes on sources.

  24. I just got back from Kzoo (and Dame E, it turns out we were in the same room at the same time — at a session — and somehow missed each other!) and still have to write comments on grad student seminar papers, as well as attend a local digital humanities conference, so what I can get done this week is limited.

    That said, I’m going to sit down and make a summer work schedule, for the sake of Slow Perk and other projects, and make a reasonable schedule for Slow Perk, too. That’s what I will have accomplished by next Monday.

  25. Overall goal: plan for BookTwo

    I’m still dealing with end of term stuff, so progress will be slow for a few weeks. I carve out 20 minutes each day to spend thinking and writing about the “big ideas” of this new book and other ideas that occur to me, so the aim this week is to spend that time “planning the plan” — i.e. thinking about how to best make use of this time, particularly when I have a number of other things on.

    This isn’t ideal for me — usually I like set, measurable goals. But it’s the best I can do for the moment.

  26. Summer Goal: Revise and Resubmit Floyd.

    Today I went to Starbucks and bought myself the sweetest, biggest, most whipped-cream-y coffee drink in the world as a reward for reading my revise and resubmit comments.

    So. The editor thought these problems were serious enough not to send Floyd out to a second reader until I fixed these major problems flagged by the first reader. In a nutshell, my “framing/setup” and definition of this period is passe and my main Theorist is outdated. Also, some of my historical work contains sloppiness and anachronisms. But the close readings I have in the middle are very interesting!

    Sigh. I worked so hard trying to clearly define “Blah Period”! I am mulling the comments over and I already ILLed a bunch of recent criticism.

    My goal this week is more think-y than wordcount focused. I will spend 30 minutes each day pondering (freewriting) on how I am going to update the frame of the essay.

    Also, I am interviewing this week and will be on a plane flying back on Monday, so I will not be able to check in until late.

    1. Good for you for reading the comments! That reframing is a hard problem. I have one dissertation chapter that’s in the same fix. The close readings are solid and interesting, but the way I frame the thing doesn’t fit with the rest of my dissertation. I’ll be wishing you large hits of inspiration this week.

  27. I’m also still wrapping up classes (and next week, blissfully, is vacation!). I also am only half time til August so keeping things realistic is critical.

    My goal for this week is to 1) reread the paper and the reviews 2) make a list of action items for working through when I get back and 3) read a new paper that came out last month that bears on my topic. I think 1 and 2 are realistic. 3 might turn in to work on the plane. All of this will help set the writing process into percolation while I’m gone so I should be ready when I come back.

  28. Overall goal: research, plan, and outline the first chapter of Projected Book

    Goal for the week: Put together a bibliography, ILL what needs ILL’ing, and do some brainstorm-writing about what exactly I thought this chapter was going to be about, for my notes are shockingly vague.

  29. Overall goal: finish MS for Revised Book Project (RBP). Thank you, Dame Eleanor, for the moniker for this project. I’ve been trying to give it a name and an identity for awhile.

    Goal for the week: Grades are due Wednesday, but then I will read and make notes from six articles I’ve had sitting in a digital folder for several months.

    Later, I will use the Tour de France for background while writing in the hot summer months.

  30. Overall goal: edition, translation and introduction to short medieval text, to submit for review.

    Goal for the week: writing up source comparison for 30 lines of the text.

    Commentary: For the first two-thirds of the group I will be writing up, expanding, and reworking material for the notes and introduction, as well as preparing the translation. The last third I expect to be refining this material. (I also need to decide where to send the text.)

    It will be small steps but hopefully participating here will encourage me to keep on with it through the summer. Thank you for hosting again!

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