Maygust 2013 writing group, week 12

Good advice from scientists:

http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030213

Allan Wilson (formerly known as kiwi2)
write and submit Cox 1
amstr
polish dissertation for September defense
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
emmawriting
finish MCA
Heu Mihi
research, plan, and outline the first chapter of Projected Book
Humming42
finish MS for Revised Book Project (RBP)
hypatia cade
complete Grant Article
jliedl
finish Article RT
John Spence
edit, introduce, translate short medieval text and submit it for review.
luolin88
submit Article H
K(ris)
combine two conference papers into one article
Matilda
revise article draft for publication
Metheist
contain the Many-headed Monster: about 20pp more of Head 4, ~15 pages introduction, groom the hair on Heads 1, 2, and 3.
nicoleandmaggie
clone Small Paper from Big Paper and submit both
nwgirl
write Conference Paper B
OdilonRodilon
finish/polish draft of Cutting Edge Research Book (CERB)
professorsusan
finish Book Spinoff article
Pym Fan
turn WGS Project into finished essay
RentedLife
4 chapters of Reincarnation Book (fiction)
Sisyphus
Revise and resubmit Floyd
SophyLou
revise paper for submission as article
tracynicholrose
complete draft of Methods Paper
What Now?
Finish one chapter of book project
Whoosh
Design Fancyproject; write up grant application for Fancyproject
Widgeon
finish article for Big Name Journal
Z
Paper on the darker side of mestizaje
Zabeeltwo
produce a detailed plan for Book Two

Maygust 2013 writing group, week 11

All the rest of the posts for this summer are pre-scheduled.  I’m not sure how often I’ll be around.  (Having said that, of course, I’ll probably think of many topics for posts, and will respond to your goal-setting obsessively in order to procrastinate on other things.  (Or does having said that  mean that I won’t?  (People are so perverse.)))

Allan Wilson (formerly known as kiwi2)
write and submit Cox 1
amstr
polish dissertation for September defense
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
emmawriting
finish MCA
Heu Mihi
research, plan, and outline the first chapter of Projected Book
Humming42
finish MS for Revised Book Project (RBP)
hypatia cade
complete Grant Article
jliedl
finish Article RT
John Spence
edit, introduce, translate short medieval text and submit it for review.
luolin88
submit Article H
K(ris)
combine two conference papers into one article
Matilda
revise article draft for publication
Metheist
contain the Many-headed Monster: about 20pp more of Head 4, ~15 pages introduction, groom the hair on Heads 1, 2, and 3.
nicoleandmaggie
clone Small Paper from Big Paper and submit both
nwgirl
write Conference Paper B
OdilonRodilon
finish/polish draft of Cutting Edge Research Book (CERB)
professorsusan
finish Book Spinoff article
Pym Fan
turn WGS Project into finished essay
RentedLife
4 chapters of Reincarnation Book (fiction)
Sisyphus
Revise and resubmit Floyd
SophyLou
revise paper for submission as article
tracynicholrose
complete draft of Methods Paper
What Now?
Finish one chapter of book project
Whoosh
Design Fancyproject; write up grant application for Fancyproject
Widgeon
finish article for Big Name Journal
Z
Paper on the darker side of mestizaje
Zabeeltwo
produce a detailed plan for Book Two

Something I’d like to say, but won’t

“You are the head of an administrative unit, not a psychologist, not everyone’s mother.  People in this unit do not need ‘to talk.’  We need assurances that necessary work will be done, whether that means you will go to bat to hire another person for the position or that you personally will pitch in to get it done.  Stop trying to turn a functioning group of professionals into a touchy-feely ‘family’ group.  You are encouraging people to associate women in leadership roles with motherly, nurturing behavior (rather than efficient, rational, fair practices), and thereby making my job harder.  It would be a lot more feminist to set an example of a woman behaving professionally.  If budget cuts mean that there’s no hope of a replacement, then say so.  Discussion of feelings is not going to help anyone.”

I don’t think it would help to say this.  So I won’t.  But this sort of thing makes me very grumpy.

When delay is not procrastination

Today I am finally working on revisions that I might have worked on months ago; already embarrassed at delaying them, I kept saying during the spring that I would do them, and did not.

I have noted before, as has Contingent Cassandra in some comments, that often when I “procrastinate,” it is because at some level of awareness I realize that what seems like a simple, easy task is neither simple nor easy but will take more time (and energy) than I consciously expect it to, or than other people think it should.  So it is proving with these revisions.

Yes, the essay was okay before.  But in light of work I have done on the MMP in the past year, some of its information should be changed.  It suffered greatly from wordiness, which I didn’t see while writing it but which shocked me when I re-read it later.  The required revisions were light, and I had no objections to them; but I did not receive any truly useful comments on style or argument.

Now I can see assorted ways to improve this essay.  Fixing problems with its formatting is the least of these, although this is complicated in itself, because I have to look up how to cite historical documents, which as a literary scholar I do not normally work with, and which the literary journal’s style sheet does not cover; but now I am a book historian and I need them.  Now I can see how to fix the wordiness, when before I was too close to the essay (not too attached to the wording, I’m happy to change it, I was just too used to seeing my points in those words).  Now I can see how to improve the argument by writing more detailed topic sentences than those I had before and by strengthening the connection between two pieces of the argument.

Now the essay will be not just done, but good, and that is much more satisfying than having it done sloppily.  I’m sure it will not be perfect, but I am not a perfectionist.  It does not need to be perfect.  It does need to be up to my standards for good writing, and I am glad I have taken the time to do the job properly.

Part of the reason for delay is that doing this job properly, for me, means submerging into it.  I could fix formatting problems by making a list of each one I come to and seeking out other examples from the list.  I could revise for wordiness paragraph by paragraph, one or two a day for some extended period.  But seeing the argument whole and remembering that I made this point here and so I should contrast it more strongly with that point there, that requires sinking into the essay.  And sinking in as editor is different from sinking in as writer.

It is true, as Z says, that doing things well is energizing, and doing them badly is enervating.  Today’s discovery is, once again, that I should trust my instincts about writing.  This is, after all, my work.  Owning it is also energizing.

Maygust 2013 writing group, week 10

You may have noticed that I’m not taking attendance, so there are probably people listed here who haven’t been checking in.  But if you’re out there and want to sneak back in but are embarassed because you haven’t been here all along, I’m never going to know the difference.  Come on down for our last six weeks!  I’m much too busy panicking over everything I have going on to notice whether we’re up or down a writer or three.

At this point, I’m just happy if I sneak in some work somewhere in a day.  Certainly the number of phone calls I have to make and take, and the number of appointments that are stacking up, are encouraging me in a belief that early mornings, late nights, and weekends (outside normal business hours) are the only time I can do any real work.  Usually it’s some way into the semester before I start believing that; summer is normally when I can reclaim my own time.

So talk among yourselves; my Monday is going to house-related stuff, I fear.

Allan Wilson (formerly known as kiwi2)
write and submit Cox 1
amstr
polish dissertation for September defense
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
emmawriting
finish MCA
Heu Mihi
research, plan, and outline the first chapter of Projected Book
Humming42
finish MS for Revised Book Project (RBP)

hypatia cade
complete Grant Article
jliedl
finish Article RT
John Spence
edit, introduce, translate short medieval text and submit it for review.
luolin88
submit Article H
K(ris)
combine two conference papers into one article
Matilda
revise article draft for publication
Metheist
contain the Many-headed Monster: about 20pp more of Head 4, ~15 pages introduction, groom the hair on Heads 1, 2, and 3.
nicoleandmaggie
clone Small Paper from Big Paper and submit both
nwgirl
write Conference Paper B
OdilonRodilon
finish/polish draft of Cutting Edge Research Book (CERB)
professorsusan
finish Book Spinoff article
Pym Fan
turn WGS Project into finished essay
RentedLife
4 chapters of Reincarnation Book (fiction)
Sisyphus
Revise and resubmit Floyd
SophyLou
revise paper for submission as article
tracynicholrose
complete draft of Methods Paper
What Now?
Finish one chapter of book project
Whoosh
Design Fancyproject; write up grant application for Fancyproject
Widgeon
finish article for Big Name Journal
Z
Paper on the darker side of mestizaje
Zabeeltwo
produce a detailed plan for Book Two

Power

Believing that you have it when you don’t is dangerous.

Having it and not believing in it is stealing from yourself, if not actually doing violence to yourself.

Having it and believing in it is liberating.

(im)permanence

One inhabits a hotel room briefly, for a night or a week.  And yet one can return to the same hotel year after year, requesting the same room or trying out different ones.

One can leave a rented apartment and, some time later, sign a new lease for that same apartment.  One might have to wait for someone else’s lease to run out, but return is possible.

Buying and selling a house is a lot more permanent, in both directions.  No landlord can kick you out (assuming you’re making your mortgage payments).  But once it’s sold, you’ll never pass that threshold again.

(I suppose this might be different in small towns, where everyone knows who bought the old Harrison place, and new owners might welcome Harrison grandchildren in for a look around.  Or where you get to know the people who bought your old house.  This is not my life.)

It just seems odd that the most short-term and casual stay can also, in some sense, have the best chance of enduring over time.

Maygust 2013 writing group, week 9

Still on the metaphor of bike racing, let’s think this week about recovery.  What do you do after a writing session, especially a long or hard one?  What’s your equivalent of showering, replenishing calories, having a massage to work out the kinks?  How do you help yourself get ready to settle back in tomorrow?

And, of course, what do you plan to do this week?

Allan Wilson (formerly known as kiwi2)
write and submit Cox 1
amstr
polish dissertation for September defense
ComradePhysioProffe
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
emmawriting
finish MCA
Heu Mihi
research, plan, and outline the first chapter of Projected Book
Humming42
finish MS for Revised Book Project (RBP)
hypatia cade
complete Grant Article
jliedl
finish Article RT
John Spence
edit, introduce, translate short medieval text and submit it for review.
luolin88
submit Article H
K(ris)
combine two conference papers into one article
Matilda
revise article draft for publication
Metheist
contain the Many-headed Monster: about 20pp more of Head 4, ~15 pages introduction, groom the hair on Heads 1, 2, and 3.
nicoleandmaggie
clone Small Paper from Big Paper and submit both
nwgirl
write Conference Paper B
OdilonRodilon
finish/polish draft of Cutting Edge Research Book (CERB)
professorsusan
finish Book Spinoff article
Pym Fan
turn WGS Project into finished essay
RentedLife
4 chapters of Reincarnation Book (fiction)
Sisyphus
Revise and resubmit Floyd
SophyLou
revise paper for submission as article
tracynicholrose
complete draft of Methods Paper
What Now?
Finish one chapter of book project
Whoosh
Design Fancyproject; write up grant application for Fancyproject
Widgeon
finish article for Big Name Journal
Z
Paper on the darker side of mestizaje
Zabeeltwo
produce a detailed plan for Book Two