We’re just about half-way through already.  Don’t panic.  You can still make at least as much progress as you’ve already made, probably more, because now you’re in training.  It might even be time for a rest day.  Remember that dusty road, from last week, and the little town with wine and beds with clean sheets?  Let’s hang out there for a bit.  If we climb the bell tower, we can look back at where we’ve come from, and see something of the road ahead.  Where did you start, what have you done, where will you go from here?

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

34 thoughts on “Maygust 2013 writing group, week 7

  1. Well, I definitely worked on the paper at least half an hour each day. And I did resubmit the tiny paper. I drafted an email to the editor of the journal I want to aim the main paper at, but haven’t pulled the trigger. I emailed my adviser and ze said if there’s no duplication between the two papers anymore, maybe I shouldn’t ask, but I still feel like I ought to. Plus the reviews were good (except the one who didn’t understand what I was doing, but I can explain better, and one of them said that the paper was more aimed towards the audience of main paper journal than the tiny paper journal…) and deep down I would like a desk accept, or maybe only one more outside reviewer. Still, there’s that uncertainty.

    Also there’s 4 other projects bearing down at me and I want to hide under the bed. Also truly bizarre department drama, which is unusual given generally everything shuts down in the summer. Not this summer.

    So it looks like I won’t be done by week 7 as I’d hoped. If it weren’t for the rest of life and research I probably could push it out this week– I see very clearly what needs to be done to polish up the main paper and I’ve drafted real responses to the reviewer concerns. But I have coauthor deadlines Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. Everyone wants a piece of me. Hopefully that will lead to productivity and not just 5am wake-ups and a mildly upset tummy.

    So this week: another 30 min per day, even though I’d rather work more. I will allow myself to do more Thurs and Fri after my other obligations have been met. Monday is gonna be crazy busy. Especially since this weekend I spent working on my Wed obligation completely ignoring the two for Tuesday.

    I do feel like the regular forward progress on these papers has been a nice quiet refuge in the land of coauthors and RAs and the uncertainty of my other projects. But it will also be nice to have both of them off my desk so some other paper can be my refuge.

  2. A bizarre week for me too. I achieved a few hours work on the hybrid, which was fun, and wrote to my co-author about the bit of analysis that is unsteady,and had a good discussion about that. Didn’t update the graphs though. Only one session instead of the two I had hoped, but I finished an absolutely whopping grant proposal this week as well. So, I am currently effervescent, will probably fall asleep in five minutes (preferably not from the top of Dame Eleanor’s clocktower, and have no memory about anything remotely important. Nonetheless, when I look around from this space I am thrilled to have finished the grant proposal and cleraed space ahead for writing; I am thrilled by the thought of my project here; even goddammit thrilled to be giving a presentation on it next week.

    So, my goal this week: spend one entire morning working on the hybrid graphs, finish off the awkward piece of stats, and spend an afternoon prepping the talk.

  3. Not nearly as far ahead on anything as I had hoped, but on this paper I now have 2200 words. 1400 are finished; 400 need revision but are in good shape; the other 400 are very very rough but constitute an outline of the second half of the piece, and I really want to have it finished by the end.

    Goal next *two* weeks (I may not get to check in next week): 30 minutes a day on average. Why so little: I am going to see my parents. I was going to have this time be utter vacation time but I am finding that taking vacation from this does not work for me.

    What did not work this week: trying to take a break from this to blitz through everything else I have to get done. Did not work at all; it was intimidating and I procrastinated by working on this piece. Definitive lesson: certain things have to happen every day and this piece is one; I get depressed without it and when I open the file my life makes sense again. Other definitive lesson: do not assign self the task of powering through *anything* at this time. Life just has to be balanced and everything has to go bit by bit, if a blitz *happens* that is one thing but planning them is prohibited.

    What cast a pall over this week: someone who wants more attention than I have time to give. Amazing how un-adult and un-focused these encounters make me, and how exhausting the negotiating is.

    Good ideas this week: long days outdoors. Last Saturday I went to white sand Gulf beach by Alabama; this Saturday a muddy one by Texas, not as good but outdoors. Today I spent out on the bayou by boat, drove home at sunset along the levee on a gravel road, next to cows. Each cow has a calf and also a friend who is a duck or an egret, depending on the cow. Wild outdoors is *very* good for my thought process and is often a necessity I classify as a luxury and so do not meet.

    1. I love your stories of the wild outdoors, and agree that it’s good for the brain. I’ve been walking to (and sometimes from) work, which both gets me outdoors — urban, not rural or wild — and gets me exercise.

    2. I third the value of wild (or even semi-wild) outdoors time. I’ve been spending some time walking around a nearby island and large cemetery (both oases in the middle of basically urban ground, with airplanes overhead and plenty of other reminders that I’m in the city, but still natural and somewhat secluded), and yes, it helps, with stress and focus and all kinds of other things. I think there’s even scientific backup for this idea.

  4. for some reason my to-do list from last week has still the same length – nothing was ticked of. But for my goals here from last week ( polishing the research and teaching summaries and sending them off for pre-assessment. Starting on the long research-project version – maybe 3 pages.) I at least manage the polishing and sending it to the pre-assessors bit.
    This week will be crazy as well as it is student review time, which forces me to read through tons of review reports.
    So the goal for this week will be to catch up with the goals from last week and write the first 3 pages of the long research-project version.

  5. I forgot to check in last week and was involved in a totally different research project last week that took up almost all of my time.

    Reset for this week: two hours a day on the project. I am feeling kind of refreshed so I hope this works!

  6. I just wrote a long comment that got swallowed… Let’s try again. I love the metaphor of climbing the tower, though as I’ve just started the journey, there is not yet much to look back on. (Except that all the pile of work that I had hanging over me is almost done, and I will have fewer nights when I’m doing admin work until 11 PM)

    But I’ve started, and last week dove into my spinoff article with great energy. I even — in the course of trying to learn enough about Scrivener to decide if I want to use it — wrote some stuff, so I’ve got more than 600 words, though they will probably be more like 400 when I’m all done. (It’s a lot of introductory waffle.)

    The article has 5 sections (which could well combine and become 2-3, but I’m thinking through sources right now.) Two of them are subjects I can write about with ease, both conceptually and in terms of content. The other three fall on a declining slope that ranges from “yes, I think I get this” to “How did I get myself into this place”. So I started with sources related to the last area, where I’m weakest, know least, and am least happy. That’s been helpful — this forces me to ask a key question, and I think there are ways I can say something interesting. So I’m moving between primary sources and secondary sources.

    My goal for the week is to get through the sources on this section, maybe write a bit, and then move on to the sources on my second weakest section. I should have full days every day but today, which means at least 6 hours.

    1. I find Scrivener useful for early writing. I move to Word once I start having friendly readers.

      I hope the work goes well this week.

  7. I’m impressed with myself that I managed to get work done, since my mother-in-law was in town for much of the week! I didn’t quite meet my goal, but I actually did the grunt work for it, so I’ll call that a win.

    This week I’m out of town in a conference that is clearly going to be fairly consuming, so I’ll keep the goals modest: three hours of work, fit in as I can, which may mean I do them all on Sunday at the end of the week.

  8. Well, I didn’t read much H, but I did start it. And read the 3 articles I’d planned to read. And finished (and submitted!!) G. Also wrote and sent out a book review. Plus I wrote *nearly* a page. So I consider myself to have done well enough last week.

    I now have both articles submitted and my book review done, so all I have to do is go on researching and brainstorming New Project. This writing group has been really helpful in keeping me going!

    I’m being more organized than usual in my research this time, too. I actually have a bibliography, which I’m annotating as I go, along with taking notes on books/articles in individual files. Plus I’m writing this big brainstormy document (my page-a-week file–single-spaced pages, let’s note), where I just let myself ramble about what I’m reading, what I’m thinking, and where it all might go. It’s giving me a place to synthesize my reading on a weekly basis.

    This week, though, I want to extend that organization into things I’ve read in the past. I have a massive folder full of articles and notes, but I can’t recall what most of them are about, or how they might be useful. So, here are my week’s goals:

    Create a bibliography of articles on computer. Read 2 items on reading list. Write a page. Keep reading H.

  9. I finished the VERY long Book B, and did some good writing in response to it, but didn’t get into Book C (did I mention that Book B was VERY long?). Goal for this week is to make significant inroads into Book C, fix the one sentence noted as problematic, and look at newly published Book D, which wasn’t part of the revisions, but looks directly relevant.

    I’d hoped to get the revisions done by the end of the month, but I have a conference this weekend, and I’ve been told that there’s no big hurry, so I’m going to set that as a soft goal (since the revisions really are minimal). If it gets met this week, great, and if not, it’ll get done the week after, since I’m taking Friday the 5th off and will have a four-day weekend to indulge in scholarly things.

  10. This week I was not able to work on my paper as much as I’d expected. I made a plan and a reading list, mainly primary sources, and I started to read the French thesis I mentioned last last week. The to do list is intimidating, and I wonder really I can do them, while I know I have to proceed my research. I need results for the grant of the project.

    Goals of this week: continue to read sources; read the French thesis. Re-write the chronological part of the paper.

  11. I am finally starting to get into the rhythm of writing every day. How many years has it taken? But good things come to those who wait 🙂 Well, kinda good things. The writing is still slow going and I’m writing in circles, but I think that I am doing better and that’s all that counts.

    Last week’s goal was to edit chapter one and start on chapter 2. I decided to rearrange chapter one. Rather than jumping into a discussion of complaint literature and running, I decided to flip it and address how people understood the head physical and politic and how it reflected anxiety about social order first, then go into the literature. I just didn’t think that the revisions would take so long. My writing is interdisciplinary, and ironically, I find that even though I am a historian, I am having a difficult time putting the history into the discussion. I’m doing better at the analysis of art and literature! How much detail to go into when describing events? What should I just footnote? I may be over cautious because one of my readers said that I do not know the difference between a general and a specific, and that I am not quoting consistently–sometimes quoting blocks, sometimes words, and sometimes paraphrasing.

    Next week’s goal: I should have the revisions of chapter one done no later than Tuesday night so that I can send it off to a friend. I am hoping it is Tuesday.

  12. I didn’t reach my goal last week, but we’ve solved our housing problem instead so other than needing to now pack and move, I’m at least no longer worried about where we’ll live next.
    Next goal: 2 sections.

    1. Congrats on settling the housing situation. That must be a big relief! (Packing and moving sounds daunting, though.) I hope writing goes well this week!

      1. Thank you! We’re excited for more space, fewer neighbors, and a quieter part of town. And of course to finally be done looking–we can live here for a couple years instead of 1 year at a time. Packing and moving is ok-it’ll only be just down the road so it’s not like last time where it was across the state! I plan to be sure I carve out some me-writing time though to stay sane. 🙂

  13. I really need to get better at estimating how little time I have during transition weeks. Last week was our first at-home summer week, and the combination of returning from a trip, working things out with our sitter, and other odds and ends didn’t leave me much time for writing. I did read through the comments from my advisor and summative comments from my editor.

    This week should be more settled.

    Goals for the week: revise first half of ER chapter; read some of Relevant Book. (Bonus: more of ER; some or all of Arc chapter revisions.)

    1. And from the tower: I’ve hit some major milestones–getting the final chapter drafted, and getting the whole diss into one document. Looking ahead is harder. I can see the end, and it’s so close! It’s easy to overlook all the little steps it will take to get to the final destination. I don’t doubt that I can make it, but I must be diligent to keep taking steps instead of only enjoying the view.

      1. Congrats on progressing to the end. I agree with your comments about being diligent. Almost done-woo!hoo!

    2. First weeks are hard. I try not to plan much then. Hope you have a more settled week now!

  14. Last week’s goal: Make notes for ten lines of text.

    Accomplished: met the goal – notes for 11 lines.

    Analysis: achieving 10 is better than struggling over 20! Other priorities mean this needs to be on the back burner and I may not meet my overall goal by August, but in this way I can keep making headway.

    Next week’s goal: Make notes for 10 lines of text.

    1. I did two-three things, one embedded in the other, about this that are helping.

      1. Made facebook page in my actual name and friended a bunch of successful professors: people I am citing, people from graduate school who are doing well and working a lot, my outside reviewers for tenure, etc. This caused a lot of their interesting friends to friend me. So now, on Facebook all day, all these interesting people who are working in my field and related ones keep posting references, their latest thoughts, etc. So it is like writing in company all the time.

      2. In facebook, joined this group “Daily writing updates” where people post progress daily.

      3. Post paragraphs I am not happy with, or am happy with, on blog and/or Facebook, get comments.

      This way I can get hourly help, or more. !!!

  15. From the tower, I can probably throw a pebble and have it land at the place on the road where I started. I have not traveled very far, but finally got my walking shoes and am starting on the path. It feels good: nice breeze, sunshine, and I’m stocking up on the supplies I need. I pretty well finished the first section of chapter 2 (there is a little thing for which I need to do some further research) and am gearing up for section 2. This is something I have been looking forward to writing about, and covers an important concept, so I will set a small goal of putting my notes in order and writing some conceptual bridges this week.

  16. I’m sorry for missing last week’s check in but what with traveling, I was out of the loop on Monday.

    The good news is that I got another 2100 words written this week so I’m well on track to complete this but, what you say about taking a break and contemplating where I am and how far I’ve gotten? That sounds smart.

    Next Monday I’m off on vacation with the family so I will likely miss the update as I’m packing away my work things and planning a week off. I want to enjoy the view, I think!

  17. I met last week’s small goal, and got a bit done on the other tasks, as well.

    Looking back at the view: 2 chunks rough-translated, one groomed, one’s grooming underway. (Also: one review written. Some progress on MMP-1.) A discovery about process: switching tasks feels smoother if I also switch languages. Following any English work with reading in (or translation from) French, Spanish, or Latin makes it easier to go back to English afterwards. (I haven’t tried German, but that’s heavier lifting, for me, and might not have the same effect.)

    Although I am happy to be working on the MMP-1 regularly again, I find I miss the steady progress on the translation. And now I feel that I am “in shape,” having made significant progress with slow but steady work on the translation, and got my brain back to thinking about MMP issues. So I’m going to try the juggling thing now, combined with Z’s notion of 2.5 hour chunks spaced around the day, and attempt to give the MMP that much time in the morning, and take another chunk in the afternoon, after lunch and/or the gym (or household/life admin type stuff), to work on translating and grooming. The week takes on a similar shape, as on Wednesdays I go to campus to meet with my RL writing group and pillage the library.

    Goal for this week, then: 250 lines of new translation, and 250 lines of grooming. I’m going to keep these goals low, and hope that I can exceed them—but at the very least, I want to keep making progress on this One Thing while I also get some time on other tasks.

  18. Met last week’s goal nearly halfway: got in one bout of writing. But even that small amount of activity kept me thinking about the WGS essay, so I think I’ve made a little undocumented progress as well.

    So this week’s goal is to keep plugging along. Given the current crunch of paying work, I’ll be lucky to get in two decent bouts of writing, but I’ll aim for that. I’d like to have a complete first draft soon, so I’d better get a handle on all these notes and noodles…

  19. Hey there. I didn’t get a chance to comment yesterday because I was on the road. But I wanted to check in, nevertheless, because I wrote a whopping 1300 words last week, and that was in just three days, because I was traveling (or getting ready to) on Thursday and Friday. Woot!

    I still have sections of Slow Perk to fill in, and the stuff I wrote last week needs serious refinement, so I’m going to keep plugging away at all that this week and in the following weeks.

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