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
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

37 thoughts on “Maygust 2013 writing group, week 9

  1. I don’t do long-hard writing sessions unless I’m up against a deadline and I HATE being up against deadlines so I try to avoid that as best I can. I also hate hard exercise with a violent passion. Milquetoast is where I’m at.

    Re: writing. This week sucked. We all got the stomach flu. DH gave me a little time today now that we’ve mostly recovered so I got some stuff done. Hoping to finish a draft tomorrow. We’ll see. Then maybe I can submit the paper before the editors and all the potential reviewers go off to their big conference. *sigh* (And then it will be time for me to go to my big conference. I feel like this comic: .)

  2. After a good work session (such as I had on Saturday), I go to bed early without feeling bad about it … whereas the rest of the time I often go to bed early but am vaguely embarrassed by it. That’s my equivalent of restoring calories, water, etc., but I’m realizing that it’s not as much of a reward as I should give myself!

    Thanks to the long weekend, I did meet my goal this past week and actually really enjoyed the work, which was a reward in and of itself. Things will be trickier this week, because we’re on full-time aunt duty for a week starting Wednesday afternoon. So I’m making the most of Monday and Tuesday. working in the archives for a few hours both days. My writing goal is another 500 words, so I’m coming up with a list of a few minor points that need to be handled in a paragraph each; that way, I can get some writing done in an hour here and there even while our nieces are here.

  3. What I did: worked on the graphs, and prepped the talk. And, gave the talk last week. It was ok, not brilliant, but I think ok. Helped me refine a bit more thinking. I couldn’t decide if I was pushing up a really high curve, or cranking along on the flat. Total confusion in metaphors. However at the end of last week I suddenly felt, with great clarity, that I need to find more energy and really crank this piece. I am going to focus on that, this week.

    This week: I am still not happy with the graphs, so this week I want to present the data from two graphs in a different way. Also, rewrite the results section and the introduction and get things cranking.

    Rewards: family time on the weekend. I love working in intense sessions, but if I go too hard (e.g. over a number of days) I turn into a vegetable after, which isn’t helpful as then I take a couple of days to recover.

  4. Being on vacation last week means I already had my “reward.” The thing I most enjoy during such periods is reading non-work related books. This week it’s back to the article draft. I plan to read the entire thing over today and confront what exactly I need to do next, which will not include more research.

    1. I use non-work related books as a reward for work-related reading. An article, a novel chapter, an article, a novel chapter. Cuddled up in a cozy chair, that is time well-spent.

    2. ‘I already had my “reward.”’ We call that a “bribe.”

      Actually, I seem to work better with bribes than with rewards. I am an honest procrastinator, at least: I stay bought.

  5. I haven’t deserved a reward, or done enough to merit a cool-down. Sniff.

    Okay, I’m being a trifle melodramatic. But, with two weeks of family-visiting coming up (HOW is this such a family-centric summer??), I’ve realized that I only have 3 summer weeks left to get things done, and my to-do list is daunting and unreasonable. Plus, I didn’t actually do much last week–read a little of H, finished the bibliography, and got through a couple of articles.

    This week, however, I need to be focused, and we do have at least 4 whole hours of childcare coming our way. So, the goal is to finish the Visions section of H (= like 10 more pages. Seriously. DO IT); write *two* pages (to make up for last week’s 0); and get through at least 2 items on the reading list.

  6. I find the good writing session to be the reward and never get “sweaty” enough for a cool down. I have found a neat app for my computer that freezes the screen every hour for 2 minutes. This forces me to get up and do a sun salutation so my back isn’t killing me by the end of the day.

    As for writing I got back on the horse/bike this week. I managed to get through three articles and write 4 pages of notes. I also reread my first memo and started sketching out memo #2. Next week I’ll continue with some reading (although I feel I’m nearing the end) and write memo #2.

  7. Ooh, you picked the perfect topic for me this week, because I really am in a rest-and-recharge stage. Thanks!

    As for actual rest, this weekend I did some gardening and finished reading the last of the Michael Connelly novels I had in a backlog (I was three behind!). And the spouse and I finished planning our lazy vacation for later this month (we’re driving “Up North” via a few stopping places and ending up at his sister’s cabin on an island in a river in the woods), in which I’ll finally get to say I’ve stood on the shores of all five Great Lakes.

    But this coming week is actually a recharging week, research-wise, as well.
    After getting the draft up to 9,111 words and adding most of the theoretical stuff (minus a few wordy footnotes) last week, I think I have now rather perversely decided to take it all out and write a simpler article, one for one of the pertinent genre’s journals, rather than the broader medieval-early modern journals. I think the “sexy” theory I’ve used is a little thin and weak, and the real strength of the paper — the stuff I do well — is the historically-oriented close reading, and that’s better suited to the more focused journals. *But* before I make any final decisions, I’m going to re-read and re-outline what I’ve got. So that’s my “rest” stage this week. I’m also going to work on some other stuff that really needs to get done.

    1. I always think my work is going to be sexier than it is, and my strength is a particular kind of reading of social dynamics. So I have to figure out how to blend in hte stuff I do less well (and which, frankly, bores me.)

  8. I am still stuck in the Pyrenees mountain stage. However, once I crest and hit that descent, I plan to enjoy the wind in my hair by watching TV without guilt. My problem is that once I enjoy the reward, I have a hard time getting back in the saddle for the next stage.

    Accomplished: very little this week. I was writing daily, but had a few days where I didn’t and now I’m having major anxiety.

    Goal for next week: write every morning for two hours (8-10) and then in the afternoons and evenings. The rearranging of this chapter is harder than I thought, but I think if I just sit down and sweat through it, I can get it done.

  9. I did quite a lot of internet search and found there would need lots of unedited manuscripts search than I had expected if I really do what I have been thinking of. This is difficult, considering my ability and limited time for research trips. So, I need to change my direction of research. But to which direction?

    What would I do after the difficult session? There are other two projects waiting for me, but first I will take a few days off ( I mean, off from my research, not from teaching, unfortunately), and read books, not specially related to my topic, but seem interesting. Hopefully, I will have a good time with some of the books and good coffee, at some quiet place.

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever done a reward. I try to have things that motivate me–books that I like to write in, pens that I like, etc. Last night the reward was going to bed—I wrote until I was ready to sleep.
    Two sections for me this week. Still packing boxes and seeing about a job lead.

  11. I like to exercise after writing, for a complete change of pace. Another thing that helps to recharge for more work is reading: something related to the project, but maybe not too closely related. At present, I am reading in Spanish about Spanish manuscripts, and thinking about how they compare to English manuscripts is instructive and often inspiring.

    This week (because of House! Stuff! invading my brain and my time) I wrote myself assignments for every day. I am trying to work in three daily sessions of 2 to 2.5 hours each, morning, afternoon, and evening, a la Z; given everything else happening, I’ll be delighted if I can actually get in 5-6 hours work in a day. On the translation work, my assignments work out to 250-450 lines of translation (minimum 50 lines a day, up to 100) and 400 lines of grooming work. I’ve also given myself assignments for MMP-1 work and teaching prep.

    It helps to have clearly defined things to do. On big projects, this is sometimes hard to do, because “completely revise the organization of section 3” can be a big messy task that takes days. It also helps to be realistic about what can be done in various circumstances. If your brain is invaded by houses, illness, or visitors, then it’s time to adjust the goals.

    Reading through comments so far, I am struck by how many of you are thinking in terms of big rewards for big things accomplished, or, like n&m and Tracy, denying long hard sessions. Keep in mind (a) that the cycling is a metaphor, (b) that a century ride is all in a day’s work for a professional cyclist, (c) that they go out and do that day after day, so the evening re-charge is essential. What do you do when you’re done for the day? If you avoid working too long/hard at a stretch, that’s good—no point in wearing yourself out (look what happened to Richie Porte yesterday!); but presumably you still do something that refreshes you, even if it, too, is something that must be done, like having dinner with the family. Tracy’s hourly sun salutations sound like exactly the kind of thing I had in mind when I wrote the post.

    1. That’s a very different question, what do you do when you’re done for the day.

      The first is that good work is its own reward. Crossing off lists provides another reward for the OCD. Spending time with family guilt-free another reward, but only the guilt-free part counts as a reward, the spending time with family happens whether as a reward or not because it, too, is important… and spending time with my kids is really more exhausting than refreshing (they are well behaved and I love them dearly, but oh so energetic). And, of course, guilt-free internet goofing off (something I do during regularly scheduled breaks in the day). And on especially quiet days, there’s novels to read and shows to be watched. Again, milquetoast.

      1. That is the question I asked: “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?”

      2. Perhaps it was the focus on the hard ride. Also having a massage is a pretty big deal in my life, not just an every-day thing. And again, I hate exercise with a violent passion, so the metaphor sounds unpleasant and not like my work at all. Obviously it has different significance for you.

        Perhaps it’s best if I skip responding to the metaphor questions as it sounds like my not understanding causes irritation that could easily be avoided.

    1. See, when you use the word “recovery” to a runner like me, I think “recovery *run*.” That is, an easy run that follows a day after a hard run (long distance, hard pace, whatever). So I took “recovery” to mean more writing, just not at an intense pace!

    2. Yes, I used rewards but I see what you mean- now that I go back and read more carefully in a less stressed way. Exercise. But, for me, that is both reward and recovery. It helps my mental replenishment. Especially with loud music.

  12. Goal for last week: spent the long weekend reading for revisions. Didn’t QUITE finished the very long book 3 but knew enough to know what I needed from it for the revisions. Article revisions completed and submitted, woo hoo! It’s now in someone else’s hands.

    Goal for this week: this needs to be a quieter week as I have a quasi-job-interview (long story) and the bombshells are asserting themselves as physical stress. I would like to get some reading done — reading is just where I am right now– but would rather set a time goal. Let’s try for 30 minutes a day.

    Reward/recovery: honestly, this may because this kind of writing is Not Part Of My Job, but this kind of work feels like a reward by itself (though I felt the same way when I was teaching — I’ve just always liked research and writing). One of the nice things about getting this article accepted was suddenly being flooded with memories from my dissertation writing (which I remember as a terrible slog) where I was completely engaged in the writing and felt like “this is what I was made to do!” My bigger, more holistic goal, is to find ways to get back into *that* space.

  13. Checking in here is a good reminder of all I DID do this week; I tend to dwell on all I didn’t do. I did make some solid progress on revising my ER chapter and making my list of things to fix. I did read the intro to a key new book for the diss. And I did get to hang out and work/chat with GEW.

    I’m hoping/planning to make more progress this week. Last week I tried a schedule with # of hours. I gave that up early in the week, and went with # of pages to get through each day. For this week, I’m going to aim for 5 pages a day, typing in all changes, and then 5 fixes. I’ll also try for 5 pages a day of Key Book.

    What’s restorative for me? taking a walk, reading lighter fare (fiction, New Yorker, etc.), watching TV. Most of my life tends to be non-writing, so I have lots of restorative/non-writing things happening. More of a challenge for me is keeping up momentum and motivation between writing times.

  14. Made a little progress last week! Dipped back into the research to follow a small side avenue (always fun). Drafted a new paragraph that may help with the structure of this essay.

    This week, I want to take advantage of a lull in my regular work to lay out all the bits and noodles I have so far and scribble my way through a whole honest-to-god first draft.

  15. Hmmm. I don’t think of myself as needing recharge, though of course I do. I try to make my evening meals somewhat ceremonial, so I don’t just work work work. But it’s very easy when you live alone to do that. (And being in London means that I can work during hte day, and then at 5 PM everyone is at work and getting in touch with me… Last night I attended a meeting by phone that lasted till 11 PM my time.) But tonight I’m going to the theater to see a play deeply relevant to Big Project, but not to spinoff, so that should be fun!

    I began to work the archives last week, and that was fun. I think I’ve got things I can use — the big thing for me was to make this alive, not just rehashing old ideas. I’ll get one archive day in this week, but other admin and travel stuff is interrupting. I’m vising an old family friend this weekend, and that gives me several long-ish train trips, so I’m bringing the texts of a couple of plays that I want to talk about to do a close reading and mark-up. So while I won’t be doing much work, I’ll do some relevant work.

    1. Ceremonial meals are good. And working with things that make projects “alive”—I’ve been reading about old buildings just so I can imagine where my people lived, even though most of that knowledge won’t make it into the final product. It matters to me, though, and I think even if I don’t write about the buildings, my knowledge of them will make the essay deeper.

      I hope.

  16. I’m late to the party again this week. I met with the person who was my critical reader today so I was waiting to set goals depending on her thoughts. She had lots of pretty doable suggestions – 2 of which require making contact with the data again. So my goal is to work for 1.5 hrs/day everyday this week on her suggestions. I think that, with that pace, by this time next week the paper will be in good shape…

    Recovery vs. Reward. When I’m in a good flow on a writing project and have been writing a ton, my recovery is usually something with my body — exercise, cooking, that sort of thing. Something that uses a different set of skills. My head gets jangly and then I know it’s time to quit. I actively dislike “noise” at those times — the radio, tv, too much talking. I think my brain has been full of words all day and wants a break. Reward — Those are hard for to express right now. Used to be time with my husband, a good book, etc. Now caregiving (for infant) is both a reward and a chore. Depending on whether I can relax into it and enjoy or just want to get through it so I can get back to whatever needs doing. The same with getting organized to move house (mostly chore now, but still physical and diff than writing), grocery shopping and cooking, etc. I need to reflect more on how my attitude shapes the reward aspect of hanging out with my baby.

  17. Late and no progress. I did get a good 1000 word draft of something else this past week, but nothing on the paper of this group although I just started looking at things for it again this evening.

    What happened: Asiana disaster at SFO put me in flight limbo for 3 days. Which I ended up using to deal with the ongoing geriatric disaster I have going on in a stunningly beautiful house in Marin County. Just now finally got home.

    Goals this week: wrap up, regroup; lots of errands to do and get to go to New Orleans for the weekend so the whole thing is going to be disjointed. Be efficient and positive is the goal, set everything up to restart by touching work but the only goal is to touch work daily.

    Quelle mess. But, onward. Looking forward to getting back into this and steaming ahead. Oddly, I look fantastic, which should help.

  18. P.S. ideal recovery: go to the pool, lie around, swim. This works best in California, not Louisiana weather but I find it very, very regenerating.

    1. Yes, one of the things I find trying where I am is that often in the summer being outside is not pleasant because it is too hot and humid. I love the indoor pool I go to because it has huge windows, and it is restorative, but even better is swimming outside with eucalyptus shading and scenting the air!

      A few years ago I had an extra 3 days on the west coast, post geriatric-care visit, thanks to terrific thunderstorms everywhere east of the Rockies. I hope your extra time there was useful.

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