Writers’ daily routines:


If you were going to be one of these writers—as kiwi2 has become Allan Wilson—who would you be?  What routine will be yours for the coming months?

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

25 thoughts on “Maygust 2013 writing group, week 15

  1. I would either be Alice Munro or Simone de Beauvoir. Munro’s honesty about writing being fit in around all those other demands of life rings true again this summer with a high-energy puppy. I was up at 5 or 5:30 a lot this summer and I didn’t get a lick of early writing done because it was all puppy-minding. (Thank goodness she can now sleep until 7 and I can count on a bit of quiet time from her after an hour’s brisk walk.)

    Without little kids and puppies to eat up my time, I generally can get and thrive working in a few three to four hour blocks as Simone de Beauvoir staked out, so that will be my model in the coming months. Well, except for Tuesdays and Thursdays which are my teaching-intensive days!

  2. Goal for this week is the same as last week’s: get through the microfilm. It has to go back Thursday morning, so all of my nonscheduled time has to go towards finishing it. If only it hadn’t arrived just before intersession/very limited library hours!

  3. This quote from Paul Auster rings a bell with me: ” I’ve found that writing novels is an all-absorbing experience—both physical and mental—and I have to do it every day in order to keep the rhythm, to keep myself focused on what I’m doing. Even Sunday, if possible. If there’s no family thing happening that day, I’ll at least work in the morning. Whenever I travel, I get thrown off completely. If I’m gone for two weeks, it takes me a good week to get back into the rhythm of what I was doing before.”
    I just had last Saturday morning “off” as my partner had other duties and for some reason it felt good to go to the office for two hours and write. After that I could very much enjoy the rest of the weekend.
    And this even though I did not quite reach my goal from last week as still too much administrative stuff was piled up on my desk. So I’ll give it a go this week again: take all the small sub-chapters and write them up as a smooth-to-read text that I can send to my collaborators!

  4. OK, I have finished the paper for the writing group. I have to do list of references and so on and this is not the finished article I wanted, it is a draft. Too short, 3400 words, I need about 5000 maybe, as there are ideas in the middle, and explanations and arguments, that need fleshing out. But it is nonetheless a full draft, all in prose, all in complete sentences, and it starts somewhere and ends somewhere.

    I have to write another conference paper now, only have a month or so to do it, that carves out material from here and expands, and will be good for it. Then I have to take this one and cut it down as a conference paper. Then I have to go to both conferences, and then it will be Hallowe’en. Then I need to finish this as full article. Yes, I am that slow.

    How did I manage to finish, even to this degree? I decided to drop pressure, decide that I do not want to be disciplined the way we are told to be as striving academics, decide that it was true what a friend said in graduate school when I insisted on going to beach twice + 1 restaurant + one movie the weekend I co-wrote her dissertation proposal: that I was decadent. I said what, decadent? I am not, we did nothing extreme and we got the proposal done! I now say, if this be decadence, bring it on.

    I wanted to be pressing send on this to Afro-Hispanic Review right now, today, and am not, but better than nothing. What I am going to do this semester to get work done: go out every night I can, work out every day, wear fancy clothes and do interesting things on weekends, as I did before Reeducation. Do as I see fit at work, not go around compromising.

    Seriously speaking: I think the thing to do is get up early and write, five mornings a week … not Tuesday or Thursday unless I find I can, because teaching days make me nervous and I would not concentrate. And Tuesday and Thursday have to be going out nights although I do not know what I can do here in Maringouin on Tuesday. Perhaps I can commit to yoga and movies, at least, that night.

    Goals this week: finish grading for summer, create fall syllabi. Classes here start Tuesday 27 August. I might need to start working on that other paper soon but I am going to try not to until 28 August so as not to allow it to distract me from the other.

    1. I found in college that the best thing I could do if I had been procrastinating and had a big paper due was to go see a movie. It got me out of my stressed little world and helped me relax, and I always managed to get the papers done.

      Congrats on getting a full draft done!

  5. de Beauvoir, stating that she dislikes starting the day, is so me. I don’t get all those early morning people. Of course, if I didn’t have other obligations, I’d prefer to write at night, starting just after dinner until I felt like quitting. James Thurber’s description of turning text over in his mind is also very much how I work.
    Didn’t reach the goal this week, as work had an unexpected set back and took longer than it should. Goal this week: 500 words.

  6. I’m hoping that tomorrow (Tuesday) many questions about this project will be resolved — to wit: Will I still be working on it? Will my co-author still be working on it? If the answer to both questions is “yes,” what support will we have? If “no,” what happens next? To what extent will staying on this project involve compromises, and will those requisite compromises be ones I can live with or not?

    I did almost no work last week, because it’s hard to keep working when I’m not sure I’m staying on this project.

    I’ll report on my blog about what happened at the Tuesday meeting, and then I’ll try to figure out what my writing discipline will be this fall (if in fact I need one).

  7. Thanks to my parents (again) I made really good progress this week. The big accomplishment: bibliography done! I actually really like this stage of the process–proofreading, putting together the bib, making sure the formatting is correct.

    I got my ER chapter back from my advisor, and I need to do one more quick run-through to get it ready to send to my secondary advisor. I’m hoping to have the packet ready to send him (intro, ER, Arc) tomorrow. As soon as he gives the okay, I can schedule my defense.

    Two big goals this week: 1) Intro, ER, Arc to secondary advisor; 2) full diss drafts to advisor and editor.

    I’ll be off in the wilderness next Monday, so I’ll miss checking in. Assuming I accomplish these two goals, I’ll be celebrating meeting my summer goal. I’ll have a couple weeks’ worth of finishing to do in September, but I’m satisfied that the diss. is enough done to send it for formatting checks and proofreading.

  8. Goal today: reapply to graduate faculty. Yes, we have to do this here, it is not automatic. And, I hate it because we have to dig up documentation of everything, old conference programs, etc., ugh … they just assume fraud. And you have to create a certain kind of abbreviated vita, very time consuming. It is not as though one could simply submit vita and cover letter, which is what I would consider normal. I am using this writing group page to help me do this like an objective person … especially since my vita looks like crap the way they want it done … I am saying it is just a “shitty first draft,” though. 😉

    1. About them not trusting uss, look at these instructions:

      “Publications should be referenced in formal bibliographic style. The Graduate Council has mandated precision and fidelity in the matter of authorship; that is, all authors of a publication shall be listed in the manner appearing on the title page or by-line.”

      Evidently people have been fiddling with authorship so as to make themselves look better.

    2. Ah, there’s something I’ve been meaning to add to my to do list. I appreciate the reminder. Thankfully, my Graduate Council is very laid back. 🙂

  9. I would be Charles Darwin, who does his best work about an hour after rising and found conversation exhausting. As a former smoker and audiobook junkie, my favorite part of Darwin’s day is this: “3 p.m. Rested in his bedroom on the sofa and smoked a cigarette, listened to a novel or other light literature read by ED [Emma Darwin, his wife].”

    This was a good week. I wrote easily in several small sessions, and did not feel self-loathing or envy when I read that two people I know sent their completed manuscripts to the publisher. I will have my day.

    I’m mostly ready for classes next week, and while I know that getting back to being “on” for class will be tiring, I hope to maintain these low-pressure daily visits with RPB.

  10. Well, I’ve been right off track for several weeks — in fact I don’t think I’ve even checked in for a while. And I’m wondering if it is even a bad thing… I got a rough outline of Book Two done about a month ago, and then boldly declared that August would be the month in which I would start writing it. Well, I’ve been writing and planning and plotting, certainly, but … for different projects. Does it matter? I’m starting to take the view that all progress is good progress. My situation has changed, too. I’ve been offered a TT job, so I need to wrap up this research life at the end of the year and knuckle down to other things. So yes, I would have liked to be able to park BookTwo down hill in a better state, but I’m also aware of the fact that getting these other things done might make me more productive in the long term as they are the kinds of things that I’ll be able to tap away at over the next year or so in snatched moments. In any case, my thoughts are so scattered and chaotic with the move that I’m not sure that thinking about a big project like BookTwo is even possible for the moment.

    1. Oh, I hear you on the chaos and scattering. On the whole, I agree that all progress is good progress, and that we have to take into account the state of our lives, jobs, and headspace when planning work and anything else. Laserlike focus on a single goal is certainly admirable if attainable, but when lots of things are happening at once, chipping away at this and that may be more fitted to the time and attention available.

      Congratulations on the job!

      1. Thanks. I’m starting to wonder if those people that I imagine to have that kind of laser-like focus really do. And I’m wondering about the extent to which such focus is a necessary reaction to specific external pressures. I’m also wondering about the value of “grazing” different projects. At times like this, where actually I can’t clear two months to sit and read and write, it does seem to be working for me. So long as that doesn’t become just an exercise in displacement to get out of doing those less attractive “finishing off” tasks…

  11. So I was less productive last week than I hoped (getting back into the swing of campus life is more distracting than I thought, and I’ve struggled with what should be a simple syllabus). But now I feel as if the big stuff is worked out. I won’t get any writing in tomorrow, but I’ve had this afternoon, and I’ll have three hours Thursday and 4-5 hours Friday. My goal is to have 2000 + words by next Monday, and a real feel for the essay. Then I can have one week to work on each section, and the essay will at least be drafted by the time it’s due. I got a very strict email from the editor today saying “8000 words max, including notes”, so I think I’ll be OK — at my rate it’s 6000 words text, and I’ll do about 2000 words in notes.

    As for writing, I really struggle. I like having a full day so I can have putzing time. Because I do a lot of putzing before I write. And then when I get going, I really go. So having to work a few hours a day is hard. My goal for the year is to figure out how really to do that. I don’t change tasks well.

  12. Ugh. Late check-in again this week, and again no real progress to report. I’m disappointed in myself, but income has been a priority lately, so I let the paying work take over the week. It’s going to do that again next week, but in between I think I can hammer out a day or two for other things, so maybe there’s still hope for (a complete first draft of) this essay…

  13. Wait, the writing group is still going? I just finished my first week of teaching, so, yeah, didn’t get any writing done. I’m pretty sure this is it for me for the semester, in fact, because Things Are Brewing that might put me in a quasi-administrative position. It’s not a done deal yet, but if it becomes reality, I’ll be doing this while also shouldering a regular 3 course load and an honors thesis, until course releases can be worked out for future semesters. Yikes.

  14. Still posting, Thursday night. 457 words this week on a new abstract, for a new conference, but it is really an extension of the paper I have to start writing now, for September, and I really, really like it. And I figured out how to write the paper for September, in terms of format. But I think I will allow the ideas from this abstract, and the abstract for that one, to flow together (the two papers come from the same body of research).

    This means that I am finally in that summer groove. Classes are starting but I have only felt decent this past week and the 2 weeks I was in California, because I do not do well above 90 degrees F if there is also humidity.

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