Friday, June 24, 2011

Writing Group Check-In

Hello, WG!

Member Susan has just walked over to remind me to post so that she can update! The illustrious Notorious, PhD has kindly sent on the list of participants and their goals from last week (below), so that I can check things off as they come in. Please, everyone, don't forget to also post your goals for next week, as well as any changes to your longer-term goals.

WHAT? Changes? Well, yes. And, in fact, that's what I want to talk about this week. Well, that and how to juggle projects. The thing is, projects and priorities sometimes get shifted, either by necessity or from opportunity. So, for example, when I came back from Berks, I had been given A Job To Do, i.e., to submit my paper to a journal by today. That's something I really hadn't counted on, especially with the admin work I meant to finish when at home, that I still need to get to Superdean. So now I have three immediate projects: a paper submission; assessment reports; and my Leeds paper. Also, I'm in the UK, and need to make those things happen while juggling being a decent houseguest (rather than just someone who crashes at a friend's place), visiting family, dealing with a rather extensive commute (I'm staying somewhere between West Drayton and Uxbridge, i.e., about 75 minutes from the BL, and actually making the best use of my time in the BL.

I'm fairly sure you all have similar things happening. Some of those things are just life. I'm not going to talk about them. Instead, I am going to say a little something about juggling the writing projects in the time set aside for work. First? I'm not so good at it. I haven't got my paper ready to submit, because I really felt it was important to get a bit of a grasp on the Leeds paper first, and get myself into some sort of work routine this week. No work on Monday, because it was a flying day. But I've been trying to do reading that will benefit both projects. I think this is one of the things that many of us forget: sometimes, we can work on two things at once, if only because things are related. So on Wednesday, I opened up my Leeds paper project on Scrivener, and started a project file for the article. As I've read, I've found some things I needed to add to one, some that help for the other, some that apply to both. The general citations, notes, and tagging have gone into Zotero, and then I've added about four hundred words to the Berks paper and written about 1100 words for Leeds (although about 2/3 of that is rambly notes that won't make it into the final paper).

So yeah, trying to work on two things at once is one way of doing things. Another thing I've been doing is taking a few minutes at the end of the afternoon to take stock of what I've done, make notes for things I want to do in particular (books to order, etc.) and what I haven't got done. Then, I try to look at that list again in the morning. It's helping, I think, although not as much as I'd like. This coming week, I want to start adding to that notes on setting aside time to do certain things, so that I can make sure that projects aren't dropping off the radar.

What is both helpful and difficult here is that I have three deadlines. Today (missed, but I will be in the library tomorrow and hope to finish the draft then); next week (or my dean will kill me); and something like the 10th (because that's when I get on the train for Leeds). Keeping those in mind is also very important. So -- deadlines that can be re-scheduled sometimes; taking stock and making sure to make and log progress on each project; constant re-evaluation of each project. Let's see how it goes next week.

In the meantime, how are the rest of you doing? (I'll put a strike through last week where applicable and list what you did, and your goal for next week)

ABDMama [Draft of an article MS]: complete going through the primary and secondary sources identified this week

ADM General goal: [conference paper for Leeds; revision of paper after]; Last week's goal: work on Leeds paper added c. 400 words to Berks paper, wrote about 1100 words for Leeds, read several books on property and land transactions; Next week: [submit Berks paper w/ revisions; get a better handle on Leeds paper with detailed outline -- I'm traveling for 2-3 days, but part will be spent conferring with Magistra et Mater, who knows things about my topic, so hope to have about the same amount of writing, but much more polished and usable]

Bardiac: [Review-ready article MS*] [out of town, but wrote up a work plan] [this week: follow work plan?] NB from ADM -- a little more detail might be helpful!

Caleb Woodbridge [MA thesis]: No goal submitted for next week [NPhD: these are important to keep you accountable and moving forward]

Cly [revise article for publication & draft chapter for book]: Incorporate article changes and have skeleton of book chapter

Dame Eleanor [Revising a conference paper into article MS]: need to finish the conference paper this week, but put in 20-30 minutes a day taking notes or outlining the main project.

Digger: [drafts of two book chapters] [This week: edit chapter, incl. tables; 1 abstract written and submitted for a conference in Jan; an outline for 2nd conference paper]

Dr. Koshary [Review-ready article MS]: "slap together" narrow draft

Eileen [First draft of a dissertation chapter]: another 4k words integrating data theory, complete with clean citations

Erika: Review-ready draft of an article MS* [This week -- finish reading primary sources, add 1-2 pp of writing to draft]

Firstmute [draft of the final dissertation chapter]: (small shift in priorities) [This week -- have the article in shape to send to my advisor by Friday. I'll have a secondary goal of putting in 1 hr a day on the chapter]

Frog Princess [Review-ready draft of completed dissertation]: produce review-ready revision of current chapter, and to write a workable first draft of the introduction… thus resulting in the first complete draft of the whole dissertation [NPhD: Woot!! Go, Frogprincess!!!]

Gillian [an article that needs writing]: detour to finish Leeds paper

Godiva [First draft of diss. chap.]: Read one long narrative source

J. Otto Pohl [Complete draft of 2/3-finished book MS]:[make up for lost writing time] [NPhD suggestion: a more concrete weekly goal to help keep you on track; ADM thinks this is very necessary -- a word count meter is good, but you can have one of those without a writing group!]

Jason [First draft of a dissertation chapter]: Traveling, so will commit to squeezing in 3 writing sessions during the week, plus 90 minutes of reading each travel day; also create a daily work schedule for New Summer Place. [NPhD: hooray for having a summer writing retreat! Can we all come?]

Jeff [Review-ready draft of completed dissertation]: at workshop, but trying to revise Nth chapter

Jen [Revising conference paper into article MS]: Traveling for wedding, so goal is just to write a little every day.

Kit: [Need LT goal -- can't find it] [500 words a day]

Matilda [Draft of a publishable paper]: work through week 5 section of WYJA; working hard on the draft I was asked, which needs quite a bit of reading, and its deadline is coming. While doing these tasks, I am working continuously on my own article. I will. (Note from ADM: try to come up with concrete objectives, rather than "working hard" -- it's something that really does help when juggling projects]

NWGirl [Revising a conference paper into an article MS]: "Write first" [NPhD: sing it, sister!], with a goal of completing at least one section of the paper.

Ro [MS revision (NPhD: article?)]: Traveling, but continue readings in primary sources, writing up notes of insights gained and significant detail seen so far

Sapience [diss chapter]: work on article abstract for a book CFP and job market materials while waiting for feedback from advisor

Sara [Revision of research exam]: Read two articles & incorporate them into draft

Scatterwriter [Complete expansion/revision of an article MS]: identify more concepts to focus on and to write up at least one of them (if not more)

Scholastic Mama [Revising a conference paper into an article MS]: Read a couple of things by Abelard to fill in a gap in the evidence.

Susan [Revise & polish two chapters of a book MS]: [Last week: Complete draft of the current chapter and sketch out what needs doing on the next] [this week -- two amorphous but essential summaries of brosder bodies of information]

Tigs [Completed diss draft]: Rewrite legal section of ch. 2, and finish initial round of edits on pop culture section

Travelia [Write two conference papers]: finished most of one paper, finishing up and conferencing this week.

What Now [Polished book proposal]: idea stepped on; taking a week to regroup/rethink

Zabeel [Draft first two sections of new article]: Again, my focus is on working consistently. It's going to be a reading week -- Mon and Tues in the BL, then some close work on primary sources again working toward getting a more complete draft er... drafted.

Zcat abroad [write two articles]: Traveling [NPhd: Okay, but next week, give us a concrete goal, yes?]

Awaiting report:

Anastasia: a book chapter to write for an edited volume**

Audie: working on transitioning a dissertation chapter to an article**

Avery: Draft of an article MS***

Historydoll: Convert dissertation chapter into an article*


Ms McD: Revising a conference paper into an article MS*

My Museology: redraft three dissertation chapters*

theswain: editing & rewriting; produce new reviews/summaries for New Year's work**

UPDATE: Hi all -- still updating goals, but have some inputted now!


Digger said...

Posting now, as I'm not sure what Friday brings...

I missed reporting in last week due to two trips to hospital (one with a family member, one with a friend) and an out-of-town research trip (of course for something unrelated to my writing group project!). I'm also negotiating an impending out-of-state move.

I find I am having a hard time focusing on this project, though it *must* get finished (and in fact, I just wrote my editor and told him he'd have a draft by the end of the year). I'm finding lots of reasons to work on other things, or to read the news -again-, etc. And, I'm just *tired* I recognize both the tired and the distractions as symptoms of feeling completely overwhelmed (by how much there is yet to do, of the thought of not finishing, of the thought of finishing, of it not being perfect). And of course, not working on the thing only makes the anxiety worse. The only way past this is to work on the thing, but I find it so hard to just get going. The damn thing is, I actually enjoy researching and writing, even though it can be painful. Sigh. (Ok, it's weird to write that out loud; it usually only goes around in my head).

So, all that said, I finally sat myself down and made some progress (never as much as I'd hoped). The writing group deadline (and the angst of not posting last week) helped me finally focus. This week: finished entering the dating data I have into my typology chapter.

Next week's goal: Keeping it manageable, I'll edit the now typology-timeline chapter into something presentable, including making the tables into some sort of acceptable format. Essentially, take it from a zero plus draft to something I'd even let someone else read (get rid of my notes to myself, fill in dates that now look like XXXX, remove my too-many commas, etc.).

New things for next week: they're unrelated to the book, but I've taken heart from the discussion last week about shifting priorities and the nature of working on other things as a holistic writing practice. I have two smallish writing things that I must get done this week because of scheduling: 1 abstract written and submitted for a conference paper to be presented in Jan; an outline for a conference paper I'll be presenting in Oct.

J. Otto Pohl said...

This week I only got 2000 words done. I had other things to do. Things I still have to finish like entering grade, writing a syllabus on Early Modern Europe (not my field), and writing a proposal for a paper on German Togoland (also not my field). This weekend I hope to make up for some of the loss. At any rate I am up to 59,000 words out of a planned 80,000 for the ms.

Bardiac said...

I'm sorry, I missed last week because I was traveling and away. (It's hard to convince non-academics that we don't actually have three months to visit.)

I have a work plan for the coming week, which is a start.

Erika said...

I'm off to a weekend wedding, so checking in early this Friday. I got back from fancy-pants and AMAZING seminar on Tues morning, and I've been making small but serious progress this week on Article project. My goal has been to get the reading done that needs doing to flesh out my article, and progress has been ticking along. I can finally start to feel some momentum behind me, and I've added 2 pages of scribbly business that may or may not become serious analysis to the draft. For next week, my goals will be to wrap up reading in primary sources and get a modest amount added to the draft (read 1-2 pages).

Susan said...

Well, looking back at my goal for this week, I actually met it. The first chapter I'm revising is in decent shape, and today I figured out more or less what I need to do on the next chapter. I've also realized in the case of both those chapters that some things I need are on actual paper note cards at home, not with me in London. But that's OK: I can write some words as placeholders for the things I need to add.

In moving from the first chapter, which was in pretty decent shape, to the second, which was less so, my goas will be more amorphous. I have to summarize a couple of large bodies of work (500 words on homosexuality in early modern England, for instance). If I can get two of these done in hte coming week, I think I'll be on track. Next week will be interrupted by domestic tasks and then a weekend trip to Paris, but I should continue to make progress.

On a larger front, I have been able to see the shape of the argument in this chapter, and really begin to see the shape of the whole book. My big goal for the summer was to get a grip on the project, and I think I will have done that.

It's also been nice to be able to grab ADM and go for coffee.

nomethodmethod said...

I was able to meet my goal for this week. (Almost--I haven't met my writing goal for today but am on track to do so.) I've also managed to get the structure of the chapter down on paper with the material from my journal, so from here on out I will need to clean up the prose, flesh out some of my readings, bulk up the notes and sources, and refine the argument.

I also got a copy of WYJA this week and have been applying it to an almost-done article that I want to send off before July 8th. This is even more urgent than the chapter, since my advisor is pushing me on it.

My long term goals have changed: since the chapter is coming together more quickly than I thought, and I now have some external pressure about this article, I want to not only finish a draft of the chapter but get the article sent out. So, for next week, my major goal will be to have the article in shape to send to my advisor by Friday. I'll have a secondary goal of putting in 1 hr a day on the chapter.

(This is Firstmute; I can't post with my name/ url here and my wordpress handle is different.)

Kit said...

Right now I'm in the luxurious position of having nothing but the writing group project to do for the next four weeks, and it's actually pretty scary not to have any excuses not to be productive. However, I've realized my updates so far have been thinly veiled whining or at least very problem-focused, and I hereby vow not to whinge.

After pondering on how to divide what I'm doing and setting manageable goals, I decided to try a word count after all. I've never done this before and I don't know what's realistic for me, so I'm going with 500 words a day. It doesn't have to be 500 words of final, usable text, but at least it'll be something tangible. I'll give myself a week to test the amount as well as the general idea.

I like the idea of ending each day with taking stock of the day's work and making notes on things to be done next. A friend recommended writing a "shadow dissertation", a chatty semi-diary type of document for myself with half-formed arguments, ideas, rants or whatever - you never know what's useful and you also get things out of your system. I'm also going to look into Scrivener, which may or may not be a way to procrastinate.

Zabeel said...

Well, I did at least 3 hours every. single. day. And a useful goal that was, too.

A lot of my time this week was spent reading two sizeable works on my topic. I did a bit of writing and a bit of cleaning up of things already written. The piece now has a clear outline and some good detail in some sections. I wouldn't say I achieved my goal of a full draft of the first two sections, but I'm getting closer to it.

I thought Digger's comments on the psychological aspects of writing were interesting. For me there are two "blocks". The first is that I'm in a strange in between stage -- I finished my doctorate earlier this year and am starting a postdoc in September. This writing project is a kind of "filler". I thought it would be an enjoyable little trifle to play with while I have some down time, but it's not quite turning out like that, perhaps because of ...

... "block" two: anxiety about quality (and here I'm really echoing Digger). The article I'm writing was commissioned for an edited collection. It's on a topic I'm certainly familiar with, and to which I think I can contribute, but which is not my main specialism. I find the periods of low motivation tend to be tied up with that little voice in my head that wonders why I even thought doing this would be a good idea. I wonder if this is a typical problem experienced by others as they move from dissertation writing to writing for publication.

Goals for next week: Again, my focus is on working consistently. It's going to be a reading week -- Mon and Tues in the BL, then some close work on primary sources again working toward getting a more complete draft er... drafted.

Jeff said...

Almost no writing this week. Still at workshop, still having a good time and learning good things, but completely exhausted—so last week's writing hour is this week's nap hour. I'm going to try to write a bit more next week, but I'm not expecting to get much work done until the workshop is over, next Friday. This week's goal: get enough sleep. Okay, and maybe take another run at revising the Nth chapter.

Travelia said...

The discussion of juggling priorities registers with me, because that's exactly what I am struggling with this week.

I did meet my goal for this week, which was to write at least 60 minutes each day "generatively" (by which I mean argument and synthesis, and looking at the big picture). I did that and now have a complete (though very messy) draft of conference paper number 1, which is currently "parked" while I frantically write conference paper #2 by the June 30th deadline. I have made good progress on #2 as well, making a dent in the necessary reading and doing quite a bit of "planning" writing that may eventually be translated into the draft.

On the juggling of priorities more broadly, I still have some decisions to make, but next week, I know I will make no headway on that. I leave for conference #1 next Sunday, so it's not so much goals for this week as what has to get done.

Matilda said...

Dear all,
Again, I have done too little this week. I have written only a few sentences, which are not very constructive. My son is ill, though not very serious, but needs his mom for 24 hours. This can be an excuse, or not. There are so many people who have children (and children get ill easily especially when their moms are busy) and work well.

I still have been struggling to hammer out my argument, reading and re-reading this and that, which have not lead me somewhere new yet. What I have done through is week 4 section of WYJA. It was really surprising to find so various steps to send an article to a journal. What I had thought was when my article is completed, just send it away. Of course, you have to follow guidelines and so on, but, other than that, there are so many things for you to concern before submitting one!

Thank you Notorious PhD for your post on writing tools! Scrivener and Zotero seem really intriguing.

For next week: work through week 5 section of WYJA - what I like of this book is that you find some really practical help on every page- ; working hard on the draft I was asked, which needs quite a bit of reading, and its deadline is coming. While doing these tasks, I am working continuously on my own article. I will.

gillpolack said...

I have good news and bad news about my project. The good news is that I've not only done a first draft, but I've done my Leeds paper and the essential 2 sections of my dissertation. This is all because of the looming deadline of a month of research with no writing time. The bad news: I am very unhappy with my draft article and have taken to calling it The Chapter of Doom or the Article from Hell. The research is fine - I just can't get it together in a way that looks anything other than sloppy. What this means is that my aim for this week is to refine and polish and polish and refine (since the research is good and patches of the writing are quite rational). By 'this week,' I mean by Tuesday night, since the week and a half after that are going to be devoted to travel, to meetings and to learning about SF criticism.

I won't be able to report in next week, since it's my turn to travel, but by then I shall have an almost-tolerable draft of the article in question (I'm not allowing myself any other option) and then it will sit until early August. In early August I discover what else is wrong with it, sort it and send it off.

I'll report in when I can between now and August, but reports may be a bit sporadic. Mostly I'll be reporting research goals rather than writing goals until August.

I'm rather relieved that I've met most of my pre-travel goals. I just wish i could have done the Chapter of Doom better initially. Rewrite one is this afternoon, which will help my mood considerably. This is the downside of being someone who does well with deadlines - not meeting them, or meeting them less than perfectly is a bad thing and requires coffee and angst.

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Oh, the embarassment. Can I manage to put in 20-30 minutes a day on this article while working on the conference paper? Should be a piece of cake, right? Well, how about three days in five, is that good enough? And mostly reading and keeping the fact that I have this project in mind, not so much with the writing. Trip planning, Life Stuff, and vast angst about the more imminent deadline have taken over my life.

I will be joining the ranks of the BL-ers, at least briefly. Whether I make it in Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning depends on my other commitments, but I will certainly be there all day Wednesday. Anybody want to go for lunch?

ABDMama said...

This week was not a great one for me. I ended up with a lot of unexpected doctor's appointments and put my health first.

I did get through the remaining primary sources that were in the library and not on my computer, but did not write any summaries or ideas for arguments.

I got a copy of WYJA and am beginning to work through that.

My goal is to catch up with my goal of last week by finishing up all the new primary sources and secondary sources I located. I also plan to continue working through WYJA to see if I can "catch" up and get to week 5 in the book too.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

zabeel -- I entirely understand. This is the greatest challenge I;m finding with my Leeds pape, and why, conversely, the Leeds paper is taking time from the article.

Gillian -- that is really impressive! Good work!

Kit - the shadow dissertation is something that can help, I think. I have lots of pages in scrivener and in my black moleskine where I have just written alongside my actual writing -- it's sort of a running commentary that occasionally has sections that get cut and pasted, or re-written, into the actual paper.

Digger -- this is not at all uncommon, I think. Look at the rest of us :-) part of this does seem to be learning to set the realistic and manageable goals that keep us feeling like we are accomplishing something, rather than beating us up.

Matilda -- sorry about the week of sick child. Obviously this may not apply in your situation, but when I was a mom, and working on my thesis, I learnt to distinguish between 'needs my physical presence and attention' and 'feels lousy and wants to be entertained.' In a 24-hour period, it was more often the latter -- and my absence, except for checking in once an hour or so, seemed to result in sick child sleeping a lot more. YMMV, of course, but I also know that caring for other people and feeling pressured to be wife and mom meant that I just got in the habit of pushing my work aside. It wasn't till I started thinking of it as 'If I had a regular job, would I be taking time off work for this?' that I got a handle on it.

Dame Eleanor -- will be in the BL Monday and probably Tuesday. Am off to Cambridge either Tuesday or Wednesday. BL will be experiencing Industrial Action on Thursday.

Dr. Koshary said...

Sigh...this was one of those weeks, wasn't it? My appointed article for this writing group ended up neglected this week, because I felt the need to finally complete and submit the Article That Will Not Die, a prior project that seems to (ma)linger over my head endlessly. Between getting that finished and dealing with exigencies of trying to work when one is a houseguest in a decidedly non-academic house, I didn't have the energy to complete that draft I ordered myself to write.

I want to put the Narrow Draft at the top of my list for this coming week, but I know from experience that leftover tasks have a way of turning into millstones around the neck. Perhaps I should re-tool the way I'm trying to do this. I'm actually at a point very similar to the situation that Scrivener was designed for: I have lots of little bits and pieces, some text and some not, that have thus far refused to organize themselves neatly into a paper. I don't own Scrivener, and I'm leery of paying $45 for yet another productivity tool, so I'm half-tempted to just print out what I've got, and go to work with a pair of scissors to see how I can arrange the bits.

I also long for my own writing space that isn't in someone else's dining room, and where I have direct access to a printer, and where that printer is a laser jet that can handle spitting out text in high volume, and where no one comments how absurd it is that I'm drinking coffee and working after 5PM. But that will come only at the tail end of this writing group, so all I can do is quietly grumble about it and make do.

Sara said...

Sorry for the late check in.

My week started out really good -- I took Notorious's advice and got up extra early to write, doing it longhand so that I wouldn't be tempted to turn on the wifi. I forgot that writing with pen and paper feels different than typing, and I might stick with that for drafting to see how it goes.

Unfortunately, I didn't keep up the momentum. I was traveling and sick for most of the week, so I didn't meet my goal of incorporating the two articles into the draft.

I leave for Italy a week from today, and I'll be there for five weeks. My plan for this week is sort of vague. I just want to push through and get as much writing done as I can because I don't know how much (if any) writing I'll be doing abroad. I'm taking a language immersion class, and it might be counterproductive to spend time reading and writing in English.

Sapience said...

Sorry for the late check-in as well--I'm a bridesmaid in a wedding this afternoon, and yesterday I didn't get internet access until after midnight.

Advisor has not gotten back to me on the chapter, but promises to get it back by next Tuesday. We'll see if that's any more true next week than it was of this week.

However, I did get first drafts of all my job market materials completed--teaching philosophy, teaching portfolio, dissertation abstract, and the job letter (along with a few paragraph variation ideas depending on the type of school). The writing sample is going to be one of my articles, so fortunately I don't have to do anything to spruce it up.

Next week, the plan will be to start working on my advisor's suggestions, or if he is late again, to write the abstract for the CFP that I didn't get around to last week and/or start revising the job market materials.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I am also with shaky internet for a couple of days, folks -- staying with family and want to not abuse the time by being online too much.

What Now? said...

Another late check-in; I'm still on vacation and have spotty internet access here in our lakeside cabin (so I'm not actually complaining, because vacation has been lovely!).

The goal I set last week was to not panic about being scooped and to take this vacation week off and simply reflect on where I might go from here. So not all that hard to accomplish, and in fact I've been doing a pretty good job of it. I wrote to the woman who is scooping me (not mentioning the scooping) and haven't heard back from her, and I've decided that, in the meantime, I'll keep going with my original plan for the summer; I can always drop the entire project later this summer if that seems like the thing to do, but I'd hate to waste the entire summer and then decide that I'm continuing with the project after all.

I won't get back from vacation until Monday night, and then an old friend is visiting at the end of the week, so I'm setting for myself the goal of writing 2000 words by next Friday -- very doable, but enough of a push that I'm back in action.

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Mon-Wed is all I have in London.

tigs said...

Well, I didn't meet my goal at all. I got diverted onto a different task and I also didn't work enough this week. I booked too much playing.

What I did do is get feedback on my introductory chapter-- which was so great!

My advisor, who is not known for blowing smoke, said it was "excellent" and "beautifully written."
He also suggested (rightfully) that I re-adjust a major theoretical frame (as per a conversation we had when I gave him the draft) and that I do so before I move forward.

I am officially sort of freaking out about the possibility of finishing a draft. So my goals for this week are:

1.) Re-work intro (which requires finishing reading related text and re-writing about 7 pages of the intro).
2.) Re-work frame in Ch. 2.
3.) Work hard, every day.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Dr. Koshary -- if it helps, I totally get the 'staying in a non-academic household' thing. It's really hard. I really am fond of my friends I'm staying with, and also, when I stay with them, my family. And if I had money, I would totally come to London just for a visit. But I don't, and I really want to make sure that, when I take expenses off my taxes, I can honestly say that I worked on every work day. Well, that, and I have lots of stuff to get done, and I have to make sure that I get the most of my trip. But trying to explain? it's hard.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Also, Dr Koshary, Scrivener has a generous trial period.

Digger said...

ADM: I try to schedule visiting around research, and research around visiting as well. The upshot is, I rarely go anywhere *just* to visit, and I've sort of felt bad about it. It's a time/money thing. And, like the WG, it's nice to know I'm not the only one.

My friends and family like and love me, but very few of them have a clue about what I do and how it works.

NWGirl said...

Checking in late. I have been out sick with a stomach bug. Eew. 'nough said.

I did manage to write a minimum of an hour each day this past week, except for the last three. I reworked the outline of one section of the paper and I am happy with the direction the shape it's taking on.

I have to go to campus later this week and have a couple of other family responsibilities so I may have some distractions. Still, I'm hoping to finish the current section and start work on the second section.

After all of the discussion of Scrivener, I've decided to download the trial version.

Ro said...

Apologies for the belated update. I've just made it through a week with multiple non-academic diversions (some unexpected) but do have some progress to report.

I've continued my readings and translation work with primary sources. I'm trying to spend the first three hours of the day working on these texts. These readings have generally stretched productively for longer hours (not an outcome I mind at all) and pushed other work out (this, on the other hand, an issue to think about for the next two weeks re: juggling a slew of diverse commitments that are coming.)

The other tweak in method has been to be more consistent about keeping a diary as I write (along the lines of the "shadow" text--a great way to describe it--that Kit mentioned). So my more scattered or infrequent notes to self are now being replaced by a commitment to a daily work diary for observations and rough analysis.

Next week's plans: I'm on the road starting mid-week for a family visit. So my plan is to balance research readings with must-do administrative work early in the week before my departure, and to sketch out a plan for work that I can pick up upon my return the following week.

I also need to decide upon a reward-to-self for being on the road, in a car, across multiple states for nearly a week. Suggestions welcome...

thefrogprincess said...

My apologies for checking in late. I'd been hoping to report a finished chapter and/or intro and worked in through today. But alas, neither happened. There are a few more holes in the chapter than I anticipated. But the bulk of it has been rewritten and should be finished within the week. My rewriting process is also tedious because I usually retype the whole thing every time I do a draft. I'm suspicious of cut-and-paste: missed opportunities to work on word choice and flow; transcription errors get transferred from draft to draft; etc. So although I have a great word count for the week, it's misleading since I've been reshaping material that's mostly already been written.

As for the intro, I'm dealing with some uncharacteristic paralysis. There's something about confronting the project as a whole, making do with flawed project design, feeling as though I have to hit a million points--all of that has combined to intimidate me a little. But I'm pulling it together and hoping to finish both pieces (polished chapter, workable intro) in the next ten days.

So goal for next week: finish chapter, have the back broken on the introduction.

And about Scrivener: I really can't recommend it highly enough. I've written whole chapters in it (the footnotes don't bother me), but it's also just been great for creativity.

Scholasticamama said...

Sorry for the late reply - this past week we were on holiday and we turn all electronics off. I did read the two works I wanted to get read. i also chose one journal to submit the finished piece to.

This week, I plan on revising my argument and choosing one more secondary journal, in case the first journal does not pan out.

Dr. Koshary said...

Thanks for the empathy, ADM! *fist bump*

And what the heck — I'll download the trial of Scrivener and see if it helps me wrestle this mass of nonsense into something coherent.

Matilda said...

Dear ADM,

Thank you very much for your comment. Reading it, I have decided that I do not make my children an excuse for my inability to work. You are right. When I complain that my research is not proceeding because of my children, the truth is the reverse: it is because my research is not going well that I make my children an excuse and justify myself.

I will try to find a good way to do both taking care of children and research, rather than only murmuring my situation.


historydoll said...

I am going to withdraw from this project, but I wanted to thank those of you who organized it, and the various participants: it got me started, it introduced me to the Belcher book, which I am finding particularly helpful, and I have made some progress on the article. I have chosen a journal, done a bit of the research, and gotten really helpful comments from various people. I've also reread the chapter, done some serious thinking about how to rework it, and written a little bit of a new introduction.

That having been said, I feel that I am not in a position to keep up with this project on any kind of schedule right now. I am continuing to work on it, but my real priority at the moment is to try to put my life back in order after a very difficult several years, and giving myself deadlines on top of that is turning out to be too much for me.

I will keep reading about it, though: reading everyone's contributions is fascinating, heartening, and educational. Good luck to all of you!

Mel said...

I finished chapter 3 as planned and then left for a conference (no internet at the hotel so I missed my update). I addressed my advisor's comments and sent the first 3 chapters of the dissertation to my committee! Woo hoo!

My goal now is to finish Chapter 4 by Monday. Then I plan on starting chapter 5. I want to have the intro and mat. & methods by Friday.

Jennifer said...

I've just returned from a lovely vacation. I didn't get any writing done, but I am feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work. I'm going to try to catch up before Friday and will hopefully have some progress to report then.

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