Writing plans from Henry Miller:


Allan Wilson (formerly known as kiwi2)
write and submit Cox 1
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
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

50 thoughts on “Maygust 2013 writing group, week 13 (12A if you’re superstitious)

  1. Well, I did nothing [research/writing-related–I did plenty of *other* things] these last three weeks. And we’re on contract in 1.5 weeks…. So this week’s plan, although it’s premature, is to *plan.* And read/write as appropriate. But I’d like to have a map for the semester, and part of the chapter, before we’re back at it.

  2. Surprisingly excellent advice from such a f’d-up source!

    Last week I tooled around the edges of Slow Perk and this week promises more such polishing. We’re on contract next week, so this is my last utterly free week. Mainly now, I’m getting Slow Perk in good enough shape to put in my promotion dossier (yeah, I know, I haven’t mentioned that before…I’m a little superstitious about it) as a work in progress and to send around to friends. Plus I have to work on that damn dossier, so I don’t think much more substantial work is going to happen on Slow Perk because of that. But that’s fine. I’ve more or less made my summer goal of a *draft*. Hooray!

    1. Great news on Slow Perk!

      I have been quietly toiling away on my tenure packet, due at the end of the month. Oddly, we’re not supposed to call it a “dossier” anymore. I prefer dossier and its rich spy-world connotations. Sounds way more fun than “packet.”

      1. Ooh, good look on your bid for tenure and putting together your dossier (agree on the term)! Mine’s for full prof, so if I don’t get, eh, try, try again. Much less anxiety-inducing!

  3. I jinxed everything by saying that my plan for the week was to have another kick-ass week; maybe the pressure was too much, and I crumbled, or maybe I had over-worked the week before and just wilted a little.

    Anyway, I did get some archival research done on a couple of afternoons, but I didn’t get any real writing done. I tried more than once to work on a particular section, and it just went nowhere. Clearly I need to put that troublesome section away and turn to another section that is less puzzling to me.

    This is the last week of summer school, so I’ll be caught up with grading and comment-writing, but my plan is to spend at least four hours doing archival research and to write at least 500 words — should be entirely manageable.

    1. Sorry to hear about your less than kick-ass week. Good luck with finishing up summer school and making more progress!

  4. I was right, I needed the last two weeks for life stuff. I’ve started the new job, and we moved. And I made more challenging by missing about 4 stairs and tearing ligaments in my ankle. That said, now that I’m pretty much stuck sitting still, I should be able to get some writing done, even if we’re not unpacked.

    Goal: review where I’m at since I’ve spent two weeks away from it, and get small section done (3 pages min).

    1. Sitting still can be inspiration, but pain can be a distraction. Take care of yourself and heal well!

    2. SO sorry to hear about the fall. Like you said though, you will have some writing time now. For a little corniness, think of this: while your body knits together, you will be knitting on your project. LOL 😉

  5. This week was a total loss, and I don’t know why. I was committed to persevering, but everything else (unpacking, buying furniture, a thesis defense, advising meeting) got in the way. Revised Book Project is a place of joy when I can get deep into it, and that’s a place I really want to be. Especially with so little progress made and Fall classes right around the corner. This is a week in which I should be able to commit to showing up every day, 30 minutes. Tiny goal.

  6. I got sort of a minimum done this week. I did manage to do a bit of fixing things in my ER chapter draft, and I just finished typing up changes. I’m printing out a fresh copy right now. I’ve arranged my week to be heavy on the childcare to create more work time. I’ve been finding I get momentum by Wednesday each week, and then I have no babysitting on Thurs and Fri. So to fix that, I’m heading to my parents’ house for free full-time childcare and no household distractions. (Bonus: they live about 15 minutes from beautiful beaches, so I can make a beautiful place my office.)

    Goal this week: finish ER chapter revisions enough to send to advisor.

  7. I managed to forget to report last week. All bets are pretty much off for me — I had some extremely important microfilm come in on ILL with a very tight deadline (boo!) and of course my library is now on intersession hours, so I’m having to frantically squeeze microfilm reading in whenever I can. And I have two full in-service days this week.The good news is, I’m finding tons of great stuff. The bad news is, I’m finding tons of great stuff, so can’t just whip through these.

    Goal for the week, therefore, is a) get through 1964-1965 this week, hopefully further. That’s it.

    I would like to add, however, that while I VERY VERY VERY much appreciate the ability to scan from microfilm (VERY VERY VERY VERY much), I secretly miss old-school readers. Dates me, I know.

  8. Last week: opened document, looked at it. That is all.

    Analysis: I sank into depression that is half parent related and half related to culture shock being back here. Since 27 June I had written and then rewritten one of my journalistic pieces, resubmitted it and then not heard, and this past week I should have been vegetating on a beach, really.

    This week: touch work daily, do pleasant things, think of self in positive way, particularly by visualize autonomy, moving ahead. This is the real key; I cannot get things done when I have been poisoned and I have to get poison out.

    Key: I tend to think I can’t work until I am detoxified but if my work is mine, not owned by evil parents of various sorts, then it might serve as a detoxification agent.

    Strategy: also post in daily writing updates on Facebook.

    1. Z, I understand so well what you mean about framing your work as a detoxifying agent. I struggle with the same kind of thing: if I bring the thing that is mine, MINE into the toxic environment, will it create a safe space in the environment for me, or will it be tainted? For me, physical space can be very important: if I’m visiting family, I HAVE to have some alone time in a coffee shop with books, pen, notebooks, and good ideas I can sink my teeth into and chew on and love.

      I have a sibling-related Airborne Toxic Event in the wind, so this is something I’ve had to think about a lot lately. As in, I need to start setting up boundaries and spaces and investing my work and all with lots of power NOW so that Christmas won’t be too derailing of a mess. So I’m sending you lots of strength and detoxifying thoughts. I know we’re both in this for the love of the research/writing: let’s let our work take care of us, too.

      1. And: I have started on the paper for this writing group again, 123 new words so far. And it is easy. The other 2 or 3 things I have written this summer were much harder, shorter and not so much riding on them but they were new research … I thought somehow that getting back to this would be harder, but it is easier, I should have known. 🙂

  9. Most of last week I was on real vacation, not checking email, in a lovely place. But I got back, and reality hit hard. I got one day in at the archives, and I’m going in tomorrow morning for my last gasp before I return home. I will have finished not only archives for the spinoff paper, but also for the chapter of which it’s a part. I’ve been reading lots of court cases around a real sleaze bag… If I were virtuous, tomorrow afternoon I’d read notes and do some scribbling, but I think I’ll go to one of my favorite museums in London, just because I have to do SOME things for fun here!

    I’ll be home Friday, and by next Monday on to the next phase, where I’ll be writing this essay. And I think it will work, and I have something to say.

    1. London! Totally jealous. Please have a nice cappuccino for me at Cafe Nero or Costa. . . and take a long walk in the park for me, and . . .

      Good luck finishing in the archive though.

      1. My real regret is that I’ve been working so hard (carrying admin work with me) that I’ve done less “London” stuff than I wish. But the archives done, at least for the year, and I think that in addition to the essay that’s due in September, I can get a chapter drafted over the year.

        But maybe tomorrow I’ll get in a walk to the park, along with laundry and packing.

  10. Like some kind of weird karmic weather system, last week seems to have sucked several of us into the doldrums. I too got nothing done on my project. Congrats to those who made progress of any kind at all!

    This week I know several things are going to get in the way, but I *will* at least touch my essay. Maybe my goal should be especially modest this time: just read through the (incomplete) rough draft (so that my unconscious can keep gumming on it while I’m doing other things).

  11. The article? She is FINISHED and submitted to the volume editor and done, done, done. Despite a messed-up trapezius muscle that prevented me typing for ten days followed by a migraine that pushed me to tears, the article is done.

    Now I have to work on the next article which is due for November. . . .

      1. Thanks! And, honestly, this group was helpful, especially when I wandered in the middle of it all. Summers are long and formless. That makes it a challenge to remain focused but knowing there was a weekly check-in helped so very much with pushing my project forward.

  12. True confessions time: though I still want/need to make some more progress with the translation project, I am feeling totally overwhelmed by the need to write syllabi, finish off the MMP-1, and do stuff related to the upcoming move (not to mention re-entry tasks after vacation, which was awesome, but, you know, I wasn’t here to do stuff, and there’s always even more stuff after you’ve been away). It helps to look around the academic blogosphere and see that many other people are in similar boats, so we’re all sailing off in a fleet toward the Shoals of the Semester. Mayday!

    Thus, my goal for this week (and the next two) is simply to put in three hours’ work every morning (except when I have to go to campus), on any combination of research and teaching tasks, before tackling any of the mass of Life Stuff tasks/projects. It might be good to break down the work more, but I think really I’m just going to start whatever is causing the most anxiety and go till I’m sick of it and need to change gears.

    I also want to keep in mind that research for me is a “place of joy” as humming42 called her writing—when I own it and make it central. Why is it that even at what seems to be a remarkably good job (decent course load, colleagues, location, etc) I seem to need to enforce similar vigilance about replenishing and detoxifying as Z does? Why does it so quickly seem, during the semester, that teaching and service are much more important than research (which for evaluative purposes ranks equal with teaching), so that I feel guilty about “taking time” for reading, writing, transcribing, editing, and so on? These are not rhetorical questions, and I do have some answers. One, money and mouth don’t match up at LRU; people don’t talk about research the way they do about teaching and service (why my RL writing group is so important to me and the other members). Two, despite my visible cantankerousness, I still got a lot of good-girl socialization and want to please other people—I do stuff even as I grumble about it, or use up energy feeling guilty about saying no. Three is that a significant chunk of my time goes to commuting and to exercise, so that leaves me less time to work on either research or teaching or other replenishment activities.

    1. Good luck managing the balance. If you can manage three hours a day, that is terrific. (I must confront syllabus issues, but I’m waiting till I get home. And it took me a full morning to catch up with emails from my vacation week.

    2. I love the concept of a “place of joy” and need to keep that in mind. Sometimes parts of research are pure drudgery (checking citations, ugh!) but so much of it is energizing and galvanizing. Let’s keep the joy alive along with our teaching time and the whole rest of our lives.

      Thanks again and I’m impressed that you’ve been both a generous host and such a busy person this summer!

  13. Last week I finished up revisions on chapters 1-3. I was able to work through episodes of complete panic–I lost 1.5 days to it–as I tried to reinvent the wheel rather than just fix what I needed. Sat-Sun was a near psychotic break because of brain freeze. The post from Henry Miller helped–I printed it and taped it on my desk in front of my keyboard!!
    I just need to keep in mind that this is a complete draft that I am aiming for, and that no matter how perfect it is, there will always be something wrong with it. Or in the words of Anne Lamott–it’s OK to do a shitty first draft. Not all of my committee members like that, but it’s what I have. And I can only go up.

    Goal this week: finish introduction by tomorrow (hopefully today) and then chapter 4 by Friday. I’ve missed my deadline to have it all done yesterday, but it is what it is.

    1. Sorry to hear about the brain freeze. I’ve definitely been there. (I feel like I’ve been the consistency of soft serve on this chapter I’m trying to revise.)

      But huge congrats on getting 1-3 done! Keep on keepin’ on! You’re right, I think, to aim for a done diss rather than a perfect diss. I’ve been keeping a little list of “for the book” revisions. Even if I don’t plan to turn the diss into a book, the notes will give me constructive things to talk about during the defense.

      Good luck this week!

    2. so sorry about the psychotic brain freeze-
      from another person who can also do this to herself! I had to switch topics this morning to overcome it- I just could NOT do the piece of work I was supposed to be doing. Still, at least I got something done and had a very productive day (on something else!)

  14. Well, I didn’t manage to check in last week and I am checking in late this week. I managed about the 200 words I aimed for last time.

    I am going to drop out of this writing group at this point. I haven’t been able to give the writing project I was working on for the group the attention I’d originally planned to because of other priorities coming up. These include some good opportunities which I want to take, so it’s good; there’s just not enough time to work on this project too right now.

    Good luck to you all for the rest of the group and hopefully I’ll be able to participate in a future group!

  15. Late check in again- but hey, if I didn’t have the check in looming, I wouldn’t have done anything. . .Instead I have completed a simple, but very helpful last gasp effort.
    I report- no contact again with my collaborator, but I have now spent the morning working on my paper. It is in much better shape, and I feel optimistic I will be able to get a decent completed draft done by the end of next week. However- I still need to revise the results section with the help of my collaborator. I ask myself why I find it so hard contacting people- I seem to develop a mega paralysis which is extremely unhelpful – and especially over statistical questions. I need to think about this a bit more and think of how I can overcome the paralysis- is it best to dive in without over-thinking? Keep in more regular touch with every collaborator so it doesn’t loom large in my head? Positive self talk so I don’t feel so lacking in confidence? Ideas most welcome.

    1. I’ve found it helpful to have set check-in times (in my case with my writing partner and advisor) so that I have a forum for asking questions or clarifying issues. Sometimes the check in says “nothing to report,” but it’s at least a point of contact that helps make the next one not so scary.

      Another thing that might help is trying to answer your own question in the email–that way you’re asking for other eyes or a point in the right direction or agreement/disagreement rather than a blank “help me.” I find that I don’t want to be a bother, so doing as much of the work as I can first seems to ease my anxiety.

      Good luck this week!

      1. Thanks- I’ll try both those things, they are great ideas. And yes, I think part of it for me also stems from the feeling that I am a “bother”.
        AND I have just managed to email him finally (after 4 hours of giving the stats a go!) so I am giving myself a pat on the back. Off for a walk!

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