Sunday, September 4, 2011

Writing Group, Fall Term: Call for Projects

[IMPORTANT UPDATES in participation guidelines, due to overwhelming interest and our desire to take everyone with a clear project -- see below, guideline #2]


Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!

After some delay, now is the time: Another Damned Medievalist and I are convening the fall session of the online writing group.
A digression: Week 12 of summer term, we invited participants to send in their suggestions for names for the as-yet-unnamed writing group. We got some good suggestions, but were unable to come to a consensus. Here were some of the front-runners:
  1. Authorial Intent: This one was popular and clever (okay, it took me a minute to get the joke), but I noted that it didn't really describe a group.
  2. Writers Anonymous: I liked this for its reference to both bloggy anonymity, plus the 12-step nature of our terms. ADM, however, pointed out that it sounded like a name for a group of people trying to QUIT writing.
  3. Scriverers' Guild: Another popular suggestion, likely spurred on by the heavy concentration of medievalists among our membership plus our many discussions of a Certain Writing Software. But it sounded a little too... ornate? Especially if you're not a medievalist (We are a bit strange). Still, we both liked it: A group for writers who Would Prefer Not To.
In any case, we liked all of these, but couldn't agree on any one, and finally we decided that putting off starting the group because we couldn't agree on what we should call ourselves was ridiculous. So, for now, we invite you to call this group whatever you like, until we think of something better.

Anyway, back to the main point...
For those of you who are just tuning in, this writing group was founded as a virtual alternative to those dissertation writing groups that many of us benefited from when we were grad students, but that seem to disappear as we move into jobs. Or maybe you're a grad student still, but with no writing group of your own (or maybe your writing group is too flaky). Or perhaps you're not an academic at all -- last term, we had at least one participant who was a novelist. In short, our participants are writers looking for some external motivation and someone to be accountable to.

We also dispense encouragement, advice, and weekly discussion topics. And if you're being wishy-washy about your goals ("Next week, I'm going to try to write something on sutopic X") or have a new excuse every week for not writing (bearing in mind, of course, that "reasons" are different from "excuses"), we'll hold your feet to the fire. The main commandment here is Thou Shalt Commit.

So, here's the deal:
  1. Propose and commit to a single project that you can reasonably complete in twelve weeks. You likely have more than one thing on your plate, but pick one to that will be your major focus for this twelve-week project. Keep in mind that you may be in the midst of a semester, so don't plan as ambitiously as you might have in the summer. Will you write a chapter of your dissertation? Revise a completed draft of a book manuscript? Turn a conference paper into an article and get it submitted? Write a conference paper from the ground up?
  2. Make a commitment to check in once a week, all twelve weeks, on Fridays (ADM and I will alternate weeks) with your progress for the past week, and a concrete goal for the next week. Your weekly goals need not be elaborate, but they should be specific. Participants who are AWOL for more than two weeks in a row will be dropped on the third second absence. New!: Comment/check-in threads will be opened Friday mornings, and closed Sunday night, in order to encourage timeliness, and to keep your humble moderators' work manageable.
  3. Commit as well to offering feedback to your fellow participants, now and then. This is a group project, after all.
  4. Optional: Some people last session found this book helpful in structuring a 12-week project.
So, that's the way this works. Week One will be hosted over at ADM's place this upcoming Friday (September 9th). But before that happens, we need a class roster. So this is the place you register your intent, and name your project. Make it a single project, and make it something you believe you can reasonably complete, given the other demands on your time during the semester. This CFP post will close at 4 p.m., PST, this Thursday (9/8), so get your proposals in right away. For the record, here's mine: I commit to writing a conference paper from scratch. I'm due to present it over winter break, so it's gotta get done.

That's it!

So... Whatcha got for us?

83 comments:

Adelaide said...

I commit to writing my conference paper (that quite conveniently is due approximately at the end of this session).

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Welcome, Adelaide! (And congratulations for being the first to sign up!)

bitterandjaded said...

I've been following your blog for a while and the writing group all summer. This is just the sort of thing I need to get myself going on the chapter I'm working on.

To that end...I commit to finishing a chapter of my dissertation. Thanks for organizing!

foodrant said...

Can I join late? I plan to revise my MA dissertation for a student paper competition during the autumn term, but I don't hand in until 15th September and then I'm taking a week or two off before I start my PhD. I won't be able to start another project before October, but I would love the motivation of a writing group then. Will that be really disruptive for everyone else?

sophylou said...

I commit to finishing the revisions on an article and preparing it for submission. My goals for September are going to have to be baby steps, though, because the next month is going to be hell -- it will help, though, to have some pressure/support for working on the article, which is fun to work on (and not at all related to the hell).

Evan said...

Hello notorious and crew, long-time lurker, first time commentor. I'd be interested in participating, but am not in the US. For the numerically challenged humanities academic, what would the end date be twelve weeks from now?

Janice said...

I commit to writing a first draft of my second pop culture chapter. Lord love a duck, this'll be a crazy term so I need all the focus that I can summon!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Hi all, and wow! Five submissions in 15 minutes! A couple of quick responses:

@ Foodrant: 3-4 weeks into a twelve-week project is a bit late to join. But hold that thought, because we'll likely be starting up another 12-week term after the winter holidays. Why don't you join in then, when schedules coincide a bit better.

@ Sophylou: So long as you can commit to making some specific forward motion (writing) each week for all twelve weeks, that's fine. You'll just need to make sure to keep checking in with your progress and your weekly goals.

@ Evan: According to our calendars, week 12 is Friday, November 25th. But ADM & I have discussed it and decided that, for that final week, our final report will be on Wednesday, November 23rd, to accommodate the Thanksgiving holiday here in the states... and to give everyone a little something to be thankful for!

Evan said...

Thanks Notorious, then I would like to join. I have to give a conference paper (via the interwebs) on November 17 on the new right/new left in Britain, so this will be helpful in getting to me write the paper from scratch.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Sounds great, Evan. If you finish early (as it sounds like you must), you can cheer us on from the sidelines.

Digger said...

I'm excited to join this time, as I can reasonably commit to writing every day (or at least 5/7) and looking forward to finding what that groove looks like for me.

Goal: Two chapters of The Book: Why Wheels, and State Supported Wheels.

ABDMama said...

I'd love to join up again. I'd like to complete an article draft in this period.

synecdoche said...

I will accomplish the following:
1. Finish overdue book review
2. Finish two conference proposals
3. Finish conference paper

Stemi said...

Can non-humanities types participate?

If so, then, I have a soft deadline of Nov 1 on an invited review article from a mediocre journal (but, let's restate, an invited review!). I commit to completing the article in the 12 week period.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

@ Stemi -- But of course!

@ Synecdoche -- Can you pick one of those three to focus on for the group? We like to follow a single project through to completion (even while acknowledging that we all have side projects that are not a part of our group work). #3 seems the most like a 12-week project.

synecdoche said...

Sure, suits me.

highlyeccentric said...

I'm in. I need all the help I can get :)

Hmm. Twelve weeks. I need to... Finish the current thesis chapter (this week) and draft two more. At least. Bit unreasonable, but I've kind of screwed myself over for timekeeping and need to actually *write* fast if I want to finish at all.

ugh, openID is not working on the uni computer today.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Synechdoche: Great!

Highlyeccentric: Sounds good. You'll have the current one done by the time we begin, so I'll put you down for "Draft two thesis chapters." You're right: that's a tall order. So your best bet is to start laying in a strategy now for how you'll get there, week by week. And get that almost-finished one off your plate before we begin, so you don't have to worry about it.

firstmute said...

I am definitely in. In the next 12 (or so) weeks, I need to a) revise the chapter I finished last session; b) revise a rejected journal article; and c) start revising the previous three dissertation chapters. And teach.

I guess I should focus on the rejected journal article. In an ideal world I'd like to finish it sooner than twelve weeks, but it does need some serious work and I've got plenty on my plate this semester.

OK: I commit to revising the rejected journal article and submitting to a new journal, with the help of WYJA, by the end of the session (11/23).

thefrogprincess said...

My goal this time: pretty much same as last time, but without the leeway: I've got a diss to finish, which will be defended in either late November or early December.

This is overambitious in that I'm also teaching my own courses for the first time, but there's no other option.

Looking forward to the group!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Excellent! Welcome back, you two -- and to Janice, Digger, ABD Mama... and any other Writing Group alums!

Sisyphus said...

Hello, I'm here for Bartleby club, though I would prefer not to. Can I just stare at this wall instead?

I need to:

1) polish the rough draft of my article and send it out and
2) revise my job materials/do the fall market again,

and 1) needs to be done the sooner the better.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Sisyphus, I think most of us would Prefer Not To. That's why we need a group. Since we're focusing on single goals, I'm going to put down your goal #1 as your writing group project -- sound good?

Trapped in Canadia said...

I'd love to join! My current writing group has devolved into a lunchtime gab fest. It's much needed, though, for unloading steam, but not really why I started the group. Like Highlyeccentric, I also need to draft two chapters of my dissertation in the next 12 weeks. It's a lot, but I'm trying to graduate this summer and HAVE TO BE DONE!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I've been out of town for a WHOLE DAY! But I commit to having a close-to-final draft of an article that is due in final form by Dec 1, I think.

Dr. Crazy said...

I commit to finishing the chapter that I started this summer and then got waylaid on finishing this summer for my current book project. These are draft pages, mind you, not polished pages. But I need to be able to say that I've written this chapter by 2012, in spite of whatever I might get in the way (like the horrifying things of everything happening with curriculum in my university, and my responsibility for curriculum as college curriculum chair). In other words, I am SO IN.

Susan said...

I look forward once again to the OWG (Online Writing Group). My big project for the fall (when I'm not serving on a Bazillion committees) is to write a 7000 word commissioned essay for a major online journal that frames my current project both in terms of it's history as a project, and the wider theoretical framework. Final essay is due on New Years Eve, which means I need a solid draft by Dec 1.

highlyeccentric said...

Notorious - will do! *types furiously*

Cly said...

I'd like to commit to a book chapter (actually, the book chapter that hived off of one of my many summer projects). I also love the idea of focussing - though it isn't exactly my strong point ;/

NWGirl said...

I'm in. I commit to revising one dissertation chapter into a book chapter. In the interest of having a finished dissertation, I dropped some material and combined other material. For the book, I plan to split this chapter into two chapters. So for the writing group, I commit to revising and drafting (as needed) one of those two chapters.

I am looking forward to the next few weeks. I can already see this is going to be an ugly semester so the accountability is going to be very important.

Lucie said...

Hello, thanks for organising this. I kept an eye on the last group and would like to join in this time. I commit to completing a full draft of my PhD thesis. This involves some fresh writing and some revising so that I have an almost final draft by the end of the group, leaving me a month for final revisions and formatting before I have to submit. (I've no teaching this term.) It is daunting but it must be done.

Dr. Virago said...

I missed the last group because I was really behind on blog reading back then, but I could really use this, so I'm joining.

I commit to drafting 7500 words on the sub-field of my expertise for a large companion to medieval English lit (a project which I'm contracted to do).

And FWIW, I *love* the name Scriveners' Guild, for both its medievalism *and* its Bartleby reference!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Actually, I like "Thou Shalt Commit (to writing)" for a group name

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Yeah, um. I would like to nix any Bartleby (the name, at least) references. It's triggery for me.

Good Enough Woman said...

If you have room for another group member, I would like to join. I need to write a solid draft of a dissertation chapter. Between teaching a full load and taking care of the kids, it's a daunting task. I could use some structure and compulsion!

belledamesansmerci said...

Hello, all.
I have a conference paper that needs to be transformed into a journal article, so that will be my twelve-week project.

Elizabeth

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Wow, I wander away from the computer for a little bit and look what happens! I'd like to re-up. The trick is what one main thing to work on, as (like some others) I have lots of smaller things with closer deadlines, like conference abstracts and fellowship proposal. So, given all that, I think what I'm signing up for is completing the Funerals chapter of the article-turned-book from the summer. This chapter may also be cut down into a conference paper for next spring. So this is sort of a twofer project (and I promise to cut it properly for the conference, not just to readreallyfast).

opsimathphd said...

I'm committing to turning a dissertation chapter into an article. And thanks to both of you for doing this!

Jennifer said...

Yes, please! I need to get back on the accountability horse after a summer of letting life get in my way. I am changing continents at the end of the month and am very happy to have this group to keep me on track! I intend to finish the article I let fall by the wayside this summer. I'm going to dive back in this week and tame the pile of literature that has been staring at me from the corner of my office all summer.

Thank you to Notorious Ph.D. and ADM for hosting!

Matilda said...

Hello, all,

I would like to join again! I do commit what I was not able to finish last term, that is, revise a paper into a journal article. A new project would be better for a new start, but I very much like to finish what I had chosen to do and not finished yet. Thank you for hosting again, Notorious and ADM, and nice to see you again, the summer term members!

Scholasticamama said...

Can I get in? I'd like to continue working on the article from a conference paper.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Wow, I go to bed, and look what happens! Fortunately, all the commitments here look good (though ScholasticMama, can you commit to finishing that article? Or if that's too much, then to complete a full draft? "Continue working on" allows you to fudge your goals, and we don't want that.

@ ADM: I think there's a story here that you need to tell me some day.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Also to ADM: How about "We'd Rather Not: A Group for Reluctant Scriveners"? Or is that still too close?

Notorious Ph.D. said...

(oops. I suppose that should be "We'd Prefer Not To", not "We'd Rather Not." Or am I still getting that wrong? English-lit types... help me out here?)

inafuturelife said...

long time lurker, first time poster... i wanted to join the summer group, but decided i was better off taking the summer off before my ph.d. because who knows how long it'll be before i have the luxury of doing nothing again (if ever, haha).

so, i have a seminar paper from my MA that i'd really like to do something with. since i'll be busy with new papers and stuff this semester, i'd like to work on turning this into a conference paper (and i need to reread/locate some criticism that has come out since to make sure no one's addressed my idea since then). i'd like to have a pretty solid draft at the end of the 12 weeks.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Sounds like a plan! My very first publication came from something I wrote as an M.A. student. Just make sure that you get lots of guidance from your current mentor as you work on making this a more mature piece (as it sounds like that's your goal).

Welcome aboard!

Contingent Cassandra said...

Hope things aren't getting too crowded, but, assuming not, I commit to completing a full draft of my first journal article (well, first in decades) that isn't related in any way to my dissertation. It is, however, related to a course I'll be teaching next semester. It would be good to have it submitted before then, but I think a draft by Thanksgiving, with revisions over the winter holiday, is realistic.

nvrwhere42 said...

I'm in! I commit to finishing the second chapter of my dissertation.

Notorious Ph.D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Notorious Ph.D. said...

Regarding all the "Is there still room?" questions...

ADM and I are gratified and overwhelmed by the enormous response, and are committed to making room for anyone with a clearly-defined single project who submits by deadline (see post). But the rapidly increasing numbers have necessitated a few IMPORTANT UPDATES in participation guidelines (see esp. guideline #2) in order to keep our (entirely unpaid) workload manageable. So make sure you take a look.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Hmmm -- I have a question here: is it that we'd prefer not to? or that we are all bad at finding the time? I know that, given my druthers, I'd have two solid days (or four solid 4-6 hour time blocks) per week for writing. It's not that I prefer not to write -- I've actually learnt to like it -- it's that writing seems always to fall to the wayside behind immediate commitments to other people who are in front of me. It's sort of putting my own interests last in an incredibly stupid sort of self-sacrificial (or at least career-sacrificial) behavior.

So for me, this is more about having a constant reminder to be a scholar, as well as a teacher and Queen of Service.

belledamesansmerci said...

In response to "Do we prefer not to," I would prefer to write every day, but have difficulty juggling all the chainsaws; I need someone beyond my tenure committee to force, um, encourage me.
Elizabeth

zcat_abroad said...

Oops! Just as well there was a note in ADM's journal as I've been trying to cut down internet time, so haven't checked blogger in a week.

Pleeeeeease sign me up. I didn't think I was doing much during the last group - but compared to what I've done in the weeks since, I was writing novels!

Goal this time - write an article which I have planned, but not got much written. About 8,000 words?

Dr. Virago said...

I'm definitely committed -- I've got a deadline to meet! And I *need* this group because, yes, I'd really prefer not to. I'm becoming more and more an "I'd rather teach than write" person and I don't know why, so I need the group energy to get back in gear.

antikate said...

Hi everyone! Another long-time lurker here. I'm trying to keep producing academic work while working at a non-academic job, so this is just what I need to make sure I get stuff done. To that end, I have a conference paper that I will commit to revising and getting into submittable shape.

Alexis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amcalm25 said...

Hi, I followed the progress of your last group and would like to join in. I do pre-Medieval things and would like to commit to finishing an article based on a couple of conference papers I have given. I had started in on it last spring, but got waylaid by a new overseas project this summer. I'm back on the job market this year, so it would be great to go into interview season being able to say that I just submitted an article (it would have been nicer to say that it had been accepted by a journal, but...). So, if I can still join in, I commit to finishing 1 article in the next 12 weeks.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I had mentioned doing this over the summer (because I do have a project I'd really like to work on), but don't yet have any idea what my days are going to look like at my new job. But if you guys can keep it up through winter, sign me up for that one! Good luck, everyone!

Scholasticamama said...

Sorry about the vagueness! I _will complete_ a journal article in twelve weeks, using WJA as a guide. I have already completed through week five, so I _know_ I can complete the article.

The K'zoo CFP is due Sept 15 and my 3rd year dossier is due Sept 13, so I am free from other PD activities for the rest of the semester. I am teaching my normal 4 classes and three preps this semester, and my service activities are slower in the fall than the spring.

Family events seem to be settling down and I should be co-parenting by Sept 20 (wahoo!) and that will also free up time.

I'm ready to go! Please let me on the boat! I promise to check in every Friday and to pull my weight!

jamilajamison said...

Hi, all. I would like to commit to completing the first draft of my MA thesis, which is perhaps 75% finished, and polishing it up as much as possible before the end of the session.

Excited to get started!

Forthright said...

OK, I'm in! I'd like to commit to writing two interrelated articles / book chapters based on my recent ethnography. I'm on sabbatical this fall and really need some structure to keep me from wasting my time playing video games!

Amstr said...

I'm committing to revising a book article and creating a plan to expand it into a dissertation chapter. (The article already has editorial comments, but needs some significant lit review.)

For the name, how about Another Damned Notorious Writing Group?

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Furiously scribbling names and projects on the roster. And Amstr, I can't speak for ADM, but your suggestion made me laugh out loud. Thanks.

Erika said...

Hurrah for Round Two! I'm committing to writing a full draft of my new article, and thus fulfilling my secret goal from this beginning stage of the summer writing group.

Salimata said...

Another lurker here who would love to come out of the woodwork and join in. I commit to writing a conference paper by November 16--so one week early!

Su Real Alteza said...

I'm in. I'm on sabbatical this year so I commit to finishing the manuscript of the textbook that's somewhere between roughed out and first draft stage.

heu mihi said...

Oh my lord, there are way too many comments.

I'm in, and I'm going to write a Colloquium paper (to be presented to faculty on 12/7).

This really shouldn't take me 12 weeks, honestly, and I do have other projects I need to work on; but we're only supposed to pick one thing, right? (If I finish early, can I start my MLA paper?)

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Heh. Nope. You have to put your head down on the desk and sit quietly. ;-)

Welcome!

monksandbones said...

Yet another lurker de-lurking to join in, if there's still room on the bandwagon. I need to turn a half-baked seminar paper into an article draft and an associated conference paper this fall, while beginning a research year abroad. I'll need all the accountability I can get to keep myself writing up this subsection of my dissertation project while I start the archival research for the rest of it and settle into my new location.

Viola said...

Delurking to join...

I commit to writing my introduction and a thesis chapter. I'm due to have a piece of work by November and the I need to complete something over the first part of the summer break (I'm in Australia). The introduction may be replaced by the literature review depending on what my supervisor wants.

Britomart said...

Like many here, I've been a follower of your blog for a while and would like to join up with the fall writing group if you're not completely overwhelmed with writers already. I commit to completing a draft of my dissertation introduction in 12 weeks.

For what it's worth, I'm in a "real life" writing group too, and they are terrific and helpful, but I nonetheless consistently fall short of my goals. Since we workshop each person's draft every month or month-and-a-half, I tend to do nothing for long periods of time and then work furiously in the week before my assigned date. Or sometimes I decline to sign up for a date for months at a time. At any rate, a weekly check-in would be immeasurably helpful for me, since self-discipline is not my forte.

Thanks for hosting this, and I look forward to getting stuff done!

undine said...

(Throwing hat into the ring) Finish nearly done chapter and complete another (partially drafted).

Mike said...

I've lurked on your blog for a while now but this is my first comment. I'm teaching my first solo class while I write my dissertation and I need something like this to give me writing deadlines.

So, I will draft chapter two of my dissertation.

Looking forward to it!

Marie said...

I commit to finishing a paper that I am hoping to turn into a journal article.

Diana said...

Hey! I'm trying to finish up a long overdue incomplete for a course, whilst searching for jobs. Oh dear...Anyway, although I would hope it wouldn't take me 12 weeks to do, I'd love to participate in the group with my project being: finish damn term paper, 20-25 pages. Thanks!

Scatterwriter said...

If you'll have me again, I would like to join (since I had such good results last time -- the article I revised with the help of this group was recently accepted -- with a few more revisions stipulated!). This time, I would like to commit to revising three chapters of my already-drafted-but-totally-fallow book manuscript.

I love the name Another Damned Notorious Writing Group. Good one, Amstr!

merryweather said...

I'd like to join too. I commit to writing a conference paper (one of those submit-in-advance, pre-circulated conference papers). The deadline is 1 November, a bit before the end of the 12-week period. I hope that's OK. I'll be doing this while being acting chair of my department for the first time, so my biggest goal is to keep writing despite all the interruptions.

Thanks for organizing this!

luolin88 said...

Is it acceptable to jump on the bandwagon if I am a lurker-once-removed? I have been pining for a writing group, so I followed the link from Reassigned Time.

I commit to finish and submit an article that I have been working on.

Mae said...

Is there still room to join for another lurker? There is nothing like communal suffering to boost one's motivation...

I have got a couple of months in which I need to research, write up, and present a 'plan of attack' for a particular project I am working on. This goal is much more research-heavy than writing-heavy, but at the end of the period I do need to have a coherent presentation. Would this qualify?

Kris said...

Gosh, will I be the last one? I will be presenting a conference paper on the 29th November, so the timing is perfect for me, if you'll take me.

I commit to writing a full paper on the topic and cutting that paper down into a 15 minute presentation.

Digger said...

For those who are avoiding their writing (including me):

http://www.hookandeye.ca/2011/09/guest-post-beyond-treading-water.html

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I LOVE Another Damned Notorious Writing Group...

Notorious Ph.D. said...

@ Iuolin: Does your name start with an "I" or an "L" -- I can't tell, given the blogger font.

@ Mae: that could work, just so long as it includes some concrete writing every week. Can you do that? If not, it might be best to wait until you're at the writing stage.