Sorry this is a little late.  It’s a holiday weekend in the U.S., so I’ve been out and about.

Whether you start on Monday or honor the U.S. Memorial Day by starting your work week on Tuesday, how are you going to advance your goals this week?

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
Paper on the darker side of mestizaje
produce a detailed plan for Book Two

46 thoughts on “Maygust 2013 writing group, week 3

  1. I’ve finished a rough version of 1000 lines, and edited 200 of an earlier batch, so I am right on schedule.

    I’m going to stick to 500 lines of rough translation this week, and raise the editing to 300 lines.

  2. I think I will honor Memorial day. 🙂

    Last week was good– I ended up doing more than 30 min of writing most days and really just need to do the results, then I’ll have a full draft of the tiny paper. Even though my days have gone to heck and now there’s a 5th project that I have to pay attention to because it got accepted to a summer conference… I’m chugging along on this little R&R.

    This week, not a process goal, but a project goal– I’m going to figure out which results to show and play with data to get some of those additional results. Then write up the results section. After that I’ll be back to process next week to clean up the draft and get it to the appropriate length (and do the works cited, etc.) Then later, onto the big paper… but that’s a few weeks down the road.

  3. This last week was tricky, with a lot of urgent demands. So, although I gave my project a bit of thought, and read a commentary on one aspect of it, I didn’t achieve my goal.

    This week shapes up to be equally busy, so I am going to try a time goal instead this week, and set aside 2 hours specifically to work on the project. I think I will spend this time reading some related literature that is important.

    And a holiday for us next Monday! Enjoy your Memorial Day.

  4. My finely honed marking timetable fell apart when a marker needed surgery, leaving me with 150 papers to deal with. Thus, no progress on my paper. In truth, I totally forgot about the paper in the intense FAAAARRRRK of the week, only remembering when this post notification popped up.

    But now its all sorted-ish and so it’s the same modest goal this week: keeping it small again this week, my aim is to cut and paste the two papers together into one very rough draft. This is no more than a first pass at creating a physical document of what’s in and what’s out.

  5. I mostly reached my goals from last week, but not fully. I read 2 interesting papers on one of the potential topics for my FancyProject – one was pretty lengthy, so I was not overly motivated to read another one (I didn’t start reading until the weekend). But I identified three possible collaborators and the plan for this week is to a) contact them and see if they are interested in collaboration and b) write a first draft of possible future work, which should be about a page long,

  6. I took notes on a stack of primary and secondary sources this past week, but I am most definitely not done. This week I need to rework my original outline as well as finishing organizing the microfilm sources. Then I can start writing in earnest.

  7. My goal for the past week was to do four hours of work, and I certainly spent more than that amount of time on the project, but much of it was dealing with a very difficult co-author situation — had to be done, but didn’t feel like it was advancing the work. (I’ve gone on and on about this over at my blog, if you’re interested.) I did get some reading done and drafted one paragraph, and I managed to have an epiphany on Saturday about working relations with the co-author, which led me to recommit to the summer project at hand, so that’s actually a big deal.

    We’re heading into the last week of classes, and my goals are: (1) to keep good daily records of work done, which I’ve been sloppy about; (2) to not get distracted by the co-author situation; (3) to spend at least one hour in the archives on Wednesday; (4) to take notes on two library books that are due back on Friday; and (5) to spend at least one hour in writing up notes from another book I’m working my way through.

    1. I’m glad you were able to settle your mind about the co-author situation. That is good progress!

  8. I met my goal last week of starting the reading and note-taking on the stack of articles I’ve accrued for the Methods paper. I wasn’t sure how many I’d get through, so I left it open. I was able to read through 4 articles (all helpful) with copious note-taking. I also found a recent and really helpful chapter that I got from ILL in record time. It too has been read and notated. The chapter sent me on another lit search and I ended up with an additional 10 articles to read. However I feel I have now identified the major works for this particular method.

    My goal for this week is to just keep reading. I believe it will take me several weeks to get through all of the literature. I don’t want to wait that long to start writing but feel I need another week of just reading and note-taking before I can start.

  9. I’m honoring Memorial Day by doing gardening upkeep. 🙂 (In case you want to know, I’m pruning the crabapple out front.)

    Anyway, I finished the rough outline of Slow Perk last week (and also planned my entire Old English class for the fall — really! in-class stuff and all! even though I was reinventing everything!), so this week I’m going to start the rewriting/writing process for real. I’ve got a body section that’s already drafted, but the argument has changed, so I have to go through that and account for those changes. I also need to cut some parts of it. That much should be managable this week, even with a 4-day work week.

    1. Dang — good work on the class reinvention! That will remove one major thing from your summer “to do” list.

      Have fun with the crabapples.

      1. It’s an ornamental crab, so the “apples” are berry-size when they appear (they’re forming now), thank goodness. And the birds love them. But the weather has postponed my plans, darnit, and I really wanted to get that task done. Oh well! So I think I may spend this rainy Memorial Day catching up with the NYT Crossword puzzles (I’m a month behind!). Gardening and crosswords — when did I get to be so middle-aged? 🙂

  10. I reread my old paper and thought up a provisional revision plan. Also I read one important article related to the topic.

    This week, I am going to start to read related materials, and to rewrite the introductory part.

  11. I read through the existing articles, made notes, and moved them into appropriate sections of the mammoth outline. I grappled with confusion over how to put the whole thing together: writing a book is indeed a different project from writing a dissertation.

    This week, I will put outline notes in order for chapter 2 and start writing chapter 2 (chapter 1, which in some ways is an intro chapter, is at the end of summer).

    1. I’m interested to hear more about the differences you’re finding between writing a book and writing a diss. Care to comment more?

      1. I think the realization came in saying so, and it is something I’d like to be mindful about going forward. At the moment, I feel like I have more freedom to organize chapters in ways that I think will be interesting and engaging to the reader rather than focusing primarily on the functional aspects of order. There’s also a sense I can write more/cite less, not needing to structure my arguments in consort with existing arguments in the discipline. I might feel differently about these things next week though, after I’ve spent more time integrating old material and new ideas.

      2. Dr. Virago, thanks for the link to your post. I am looking forward to reading about your experience as this is a surprisingly strange process for me.

      3. Thanks for the link Dr. Virago, and for the thoughts, humming42. I’m interested in ideas of form, and I feel like I’m just now understanding how a dissertation should go now that I’m at the end of it.

  12. I did not meet my goals last week, I was buried under job applications instead. Despite that, I was constantly thinking about my project and how to move a few parts forward, so I’m ready for this week. Same goal: review, edit and expand 3 sections.

  13. Still working toward last week’s goals, so this week’s are the same: continue compiling the list of Subject’s published writings, tracking down the elusive ones, and drafting/outlining toward an essay structure…

  14. Last week’s goal — rough outline for the paper

    I didn’t make any progress toward that goal. (Spousal-related OBE.) So my goal for this week is the same — roughly outline the conference paper. I did make decent progress on my more impending writing deadline, so I’m happy with my momentum despite the lack of progress on this project.

    I’ve been working my way through Becoming an Academic Writer: 50 Exercises for Paced, Productive, and Powerful Writing by Patricia Goodson. The chapter on editing and proofreading has been a tremendous help with my book project. The book also covers the writing habit, getting feedback, and writing specific sections of articles, etc. I haven’t read all of it, or used all of the exercises, but what I have covered has been helpful.

    1. Sorry to hear about OBE, but I’m glad you’re making progress in the midst. The book sounds like a good one! Thanks for the reference.

  15. Goal was 30 minutes a day on this project, despite the fact of being involved in another one.

    Really spent all the time I had and I do mean hours per day, finishing the other, sent off to journal last night.

    Now I *still* have some desk-clearing activities to do so *this* week I will commit to those 30 minutes a day on this. I think I will do that for maybe even 2 weeks and then crank *way* up. When out of town is when I will work on fall classes. I was going to have a more rational schedule, a little of this and a little of that each day all summer, but I seem to be doing better with block scheduling. Writing group so far has really worked to keep me really working, so there is that at least.

    So. 30 minutes a day on the main project, starting tomorrow! I promise this time for real!

    1. They have taken my piece. It was a revise and resubmit, thence the rapidity, and they want more editing, but they have taken it.

  16. As I’m in my incubation period, I have sorted through existing notes (though I can’t find everything I think i have yet) and getting ready to travel.

  17. Last week’s goal: go through 2 ILL books that are due soon; outline chapter 4; write 1500 good words.

    Accomplished: I got through the 2 ILL books. I think that I have a good basic outline for the chapter. I have struggled to tie all the information together into something cohesive. I have accepted that I need to work with the ambiguities and embrace the messiness of competing identities. I have about 1000 really bad words written.

    Next week’s goal: I have some important things to get done, so I am aiming for 1000 good words.

  18. I was feeling completely bummed when I sat down to write my update, but I feel so much better, or at least in good company (NOT a schadenfreude feeling) after reading everyone’s updates. I have struggled this week. I have mostly put in my two hours (five out of seven days), but some of those two hour blocks have had other distractions eating into them. Consequently, I have not reached my goal of finishing Chapter 2. That is a real disappointment. My writing is just slower than it should be (a loaded phrase!!!!). I am going to continue with my two hour a day plan, but I am going to put a word goal in there too. I am going to stretch to a goal of 750 words a day. I should be able to do this.

    As I write this, I must also say that all of the other crap I have been doing (preparing for fieldwork, talking to students who are working for me daily, shedding unwanted items on ebay) are getting accomplished too, so that is good.

  19. I ended up taking last week as a surprise vacation – new puppy in the household and housebreaking is a full-time job those first few days. So I’m trying to get back on track: last week’s plan to finish the lit review will be done this week.

  20. All of my Week 2 goals met.

    Due to a bunch of service stuff, this coming week is going to be difficult (glad it’s a short week!) so my goals are going to have to be more time-focused. 1 hour on data entry/collection, 2 hours on secondary reading.

    The original paper is going to have to be much more significantly rewritten than I’d thought, though. It’s funny how you can see the signs of certain kinds of struggle right there in the writing. Because of the nature of the class I was writing it for, I really didn’t know what the purpose of the paper was when I was writing it. I can see a little more clearly now how it should be written, but it’s going to be a challenge to shake off that remembered confusion. As a result I don’t feel as connected to this article as I do to other things I’d like to write, so we’ll see if I can just hunker down, find a way into it, and get it written.

    1. I hear you about “signs of struggle.” The chapter I was hoping to spend the most time on this week shows many, many signs of struggle. I’m hoping another pass can smooth some of them out. Good luck on yours!

  21. Last week I meant to draft my conclusion, revise FQ chapter, and send out Arc chapter to my advisor. I made progress on all fronts. The FQ chapter is done, except for a list of five small fixes. The conclusion is only 1000 words shy of a full draft. And I made another attempt at Arc, but it’s going to need more before it’s ready for advisor. I’m a little disappointed with my progress because it means I’ll need to push harder for the next two weeks (the last two weeks my kids are in school). I’m hoping for focusing to be my super-power this week.

    Goals: send Arc to advisor, finish conclusion draft, assess revision needed for Titus, and do a first pass revision on ER (when it comes back from my writing partner). Optional: finish last FQ bits.

  22. Well, last week’s goal was a bit poorly-considered in retrospect: once I sat down and looked at how many notes I already had, and realised that my ideas have shifted so radically in the last year or so that it’s not merely a matter of slotting old ideas into where they fit in the new plan, I realised that this is the work for several weeks, not just one.

    I got some of this work done, which is good progress. The entire sifting, sorting and rethinking process is an important part of producing a detailed plan and I want to take my time with it. So “sift, sort and rethink old notes” will be my goal for the next *3* weeks. This week, I’ll do the folders “PN”, “PC1” and “PC2”.

  23. Much to my surprise, I met my very modest goals last week. This week, I want to 1) start reading M (2-3 hours?); 2) start reading BR (2-3 hours?); 3) freewrite 1 page; 4) spend a couple of hours revising G. That might be more than I can actually do, but I’ll give it a shot.

  24. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to comment on individual posts this week. I thought I wouldn’t take Monday off, and then opportunities cropped up and I was out all day, after all.

    I’m seeing a theme here, at least for a lot of people. Many of us are in a reading/planning stage, and finding that it takes longer than we had expected or planned or hoped. And I’m also seeing that you are accepting that and saying something like “OK, this is what it needs, I’m going to put the time in.” This is really good! You’re not rushing; you’re taking the time you need to do a good job.

    If you can, keep track of the hours you spend on reading, taking notes, outlining, whatever it is you’re doing, so that when you start your next project, you’ll remember the time you need and be able to plan roughly how many hours to allot to the early stages.

    I’ve found it enormously helpful to know how much time I need, both in terms of planning weeks (maybe I have 3 hours for reading) and not getting bogged down in projects that seem huge (even if you need to read for 60 hours, and all you have is 3 hours a week, in 20 weeks you can finish—it’s a substantial chunk of time, but not an infinity). This can also help you “find” time and cultivate good work habits. If 20 weeks is too long, an extra 2 hours a week means you’ll be done in 12, and so on; and then it’s also clear that you need to take good notes, because though you might remember things you read at the beginning of an intense 60-hour reading week, you sure won’t remember things you read at the beginning of a 12-week campaign.

    1. Dame Eleanor, it strikes me that the other thing is that many of us need breaks, and it’s good to take them. I find that we (I?) are often extraordinarily stringent taskmasters with ourselves. So I’m glad you took the opportunities to be out all day!

  25. Last week’s goal: Transcribe for an hour for five days.

    Accomplished: Four out of five days. Huzzah.

    Next week’s goal: Figure out how many more hours of transcribing I have, based on last week, and plan to get it done four hours a week (which seems to be my sweet spot).

    Dame Eleanor, your hint on tracking the time of reading, taking notes, outlining, and such is a very helpful one. I can almost see the light bulb that turned on above my head!

  26. Well this is not really a check-in for last week at all … but I was rather immersed by events …

    I’d aimed to make notes on 20 lines of text and draft a paragraph about the palaeography of the manuscript I’m editing from. I made notes on 10 lines and drafted notes to turn into a paragraph.

    This current week has been a week off from the project. Next week I should be able to achieve something, though not a huge amount. I’ll aim for notes on 20 lines and turning those notes on handwriting into a written-up paragraph.

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