Sunday, July 31, 2011

As Promised, Content of Little Interest to Anyone But Myself

Yoga, Farmers' Market, and now some random photoblogging, just because I can:

A typical shot, in which I tend to stick things in corners. Here's another one:

See what I mean? (say it with me: "Nobody puts Mary in the corner." heh.) I'm also a negative space addict, so let's try to break that by experimenting with a crowded-frame composition:


Okay, maybe I'll just go transcribe some things.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Wrote a Super-Long Post Last Night...

...about class, aspirations, and academia, a reaction to this:

"I can only recommend graduate school in the humanities—and, increasingly, the social sciences and sciences—if you are independently wealthy, well-connected in the field you plan to enter (e.g., your mom is the president of an Ivy League university), or earning a credential to advance in a position you already hold, such as a high-school teacher, and even then, a master's degree is enough."

This was preamble to a call to reform higher education. Fine. But when an author leads off by telling people like me that non-vocational graduate education is not for us, I get pissy, and spend an hour writing and editing a long and very personal post.

Upon waking, I decided there were enough of these posts floating around out there (see below), so I didn't need to add another 1000 words to the soup. So how 'bout I just say to people from the losing side of the socio-economic gap** that:

1. ...academia is a tough path, and you should have no illusions that finishing a Ph.D. will land you a tenure-track job, and certainly not that it will catapult you into an economic bracket significantly better than that your parents had***; yet...

2. ...if you know these things, have asked yourself the hard questions, and you're still yearning to devote years of your life to something you love, maybe because when you're learning history, or literature, or invertebrate reproduction, you know that you're exactly where you're supposed to be, and if you've got a real talent for whatever it is and you can bust ass and get the work done, then don't you dare let any random blogger tell you that your choices are wrong, just because they're not economically practical.

Conclusion: Telling people what their priorities "should" be based primarily on their class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or whatever is the epitome of condescension. If you're doing it, knock it the hell off.

Post roundup:

**Now there's one thing I'd be happy to see named after Ronald Regan.

***I'm actually only marginally better-off (economically speaking) than my parents were at my age, and that's only because I have no children to support. And if you factor in my debt and their real assets, I'm much worse off.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Writing Group Week 9: How Not To Panic

Welcome to week 9!

With any luck, this post will be going up Friday morning -- I'm trying Blogger's pre-scheduling thingy, because I'm taking off in a couple of hours to spend 48 hours visiting friends out of town. A few days after that, an out of town friend is coming to visit me for a few days. Then a week after that, I'm going to visit family for a week. And then there's 5 days left to my summer.

Kind of ironic that my least productive summer since the Great Depression of 2002 (and no, I'm not depressed this time) should be the one where I start up a group dedicated to productivity, no? But those of you who don't know me will just have to trust me when I say that slowing down for a summer is an act of effort for me.

And for those of you who do know me, you probably know that this low productivity is inducing regular spasms of panic. So it occurred to me that, with the end of the twelve weeks approaching, the semester looming, and all that, perhaps some of that panic was starting to set in among the ranks here. So that's the theme of this week: Do. Not. Panic. ALL IS LOST IF YOU PANIC!!! AAAHHHH!!

::ahem:: Excuse me.

Okay, so here's what I want you to do this week, right now, before you clock in your progress for next week and your specific goals for next week:

1. Deep breath. Think about what you got done this week.

2. Deep breath. Tell yourself that this last week is over and done with. If it wasn't as good as you wanted, let it go.

3. Three weeks left. Another deep, slow breath here. Get rid of panicky thoughts of the upcoming semester. Take as many breaths as necessary until you're there. This may take a few minutes. Now: What can you reasonably get done in the final three weeks? That is your new goal. Set an intention to get there.

4. One last deep breath. Tell yourself, with complete confidence: I can do this.

  • ABDMama [Draft of an article MS]: Revise the second half of the article and have it set for peer review
  • ADM [conference paper for Leeds; revision of paper after]: Get draft sent to journal; make plan for August
  • Cly [revise article for publication & draft chapter for book]: article [NPhD: you mean, finish the revisions, I assume?]
  • Dame Eleanor [Revising a conference paper into article MS]: mini-essay draft just to get words on paper
  • Digger [drafts of two book chapters]: Work a couple of hours a day; write at least two good pages of the chapter I've been avoiding.
  • Dr. Koshary [work on book MS]: Excused absence: moving this week
  • Erika [Review-ready draft of an article MS]: edit 2 pages / day of article draft
  • Frog Princess [rewrite Chapter 3; get another draft of the introduction]: look at documents in special collections and do some additional secondary reading; start poking at structure of ch. 3.
  • Gillian [an article that needs writing]: planned incommunicado for another week while traveling
  • Godiva [First draft of diss. chap.]: write 500 words/day on my documentary sources, and do some additional research
  • Jeff [Review-ready draft of completed dissertation]: fix trainwreck section of last chapter; continue to wait for feedback
  • Matilda [Draft of a publishable paper]: working through Week 9 section of WYJA; re-writing again the argument and introduction of task 1, submitting task 2, making a start on task 3
  • NWGirl [Revising a conference paper into an article MS]: Finish introduction for upcoming conference presentation, plus revisions 2 hrs/day.
  • Sapience [Prepare presentation of full dissertation for department]: Write at least a paragraph about each text I plan to cover, explaining what use I think it will be to my overall argument
  • Scholastic Mama [Revising a conference paper into an article MS]: excused absence for faculty seminar, but will use the time to do some reading
  • Susan [Revise & polish two chapters of a book MS]: do research to figure out if Great Idea will work
  • Travelia [prepare book MS for review]: work seriously on revising the introduction to the MS
  • Zabeel [Complete draft of an article]: one-week holiday planned
  • Zcat abroad [write an article]: work on structuring an argument, and building up the word-count

Awaiting report:
  • Audie [working on transitioning a dissertation chapter to an article]**
  • Eileen [First draft of a dissertation chapter]*
  • Firstmute [chapter draft; send out article]*
  • J. Otto Pohl [Complete draft of 2/3-finished book MS]**
  • Jen [Revising conference paper into article MS]**
  • Kit: [Write the first draft of a dissertation chapter]*
  • Mel [Finish dissertation!]**
  • Scatterwriter [Complete expansion/revision of an article MS]*
  • Tigs [Completed diss draft]*

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Something Weird Happened (again) Today

Today I rode my bike to the dentist's office, which is about 9 miles away. No, that's not the weird thing (though an 18-mile round trip is a bit out of my usual range). I ride my bike everywhere, and for more than the environmental, financial, and health benefits of it: the bike is one of the truly happy-making things in my life. I have, in fact, been known to let out a joyous "Wheeeeee!!!!" while riding, and on more than one occasion.

fig. 1: This is not me. But it IS completely awesome.
(image credit here)

Here's the thing I consider weird: On my way out of the office, I stopped by the receptionist's desk to schedule my next appointment, and the fact that I had ridden came up in conversation. How long did that take?, she wondered. 20 minutes or so? No, no, I demurred. I'm nowhere near that fast.** More like 40. But it's a gorgeous day for a ride. Yes, she agreed, and besides that, now when you get home, you can have whatever you want for lunch and not feel guilty about the calories.

Did you see what just happened there?

Now, for the record: I have, at various times throughout my life, chosen to watch closely what I eat. I have been medically overweight in the past, and was even obese as a child (back when that wasn't so common as today). But for years now, I've been quite obviously at a healthy weight, with a pretty average-looking body type. You'd have to have a pretty warped idea of what a woman should look like to think I should be dieting.

And really, that's not even the point, is it? I mean, I could weigh a couple of hundred pounds more than I do right now, and still I think it would be out of line for someone to suggest that "food = guilt" and "exercise = expiation" should be my points of reference.

Yet this isn't the first time this has happened. I know another woman who reacts to my perfectly reasonable food choices with, "but that's so fattening!"

I can't figure out whether these women are trying to do girl-bonding ("We all want to be thinner, right?") or projecting their own issues, or what. I don't detect any malice anywhere (and I'm pretty sensitive to malice). But I'm sort of offended on behalf of women in general that the unquestioning assumption is that any food- or exercise-related decision is based on poor body image, and that pure enjoyment, whether in eating or in moving one's body, isn't even a factor. And I'm always just left there, gaping like a fish, without a response.

I don't know what the point of this post is. Maybe it's a call to do things just because we enjoy them (see fig. 1, above).

**This would be 27 mph or so on average, some of that in traffic, and sustained for a while. With cargo. I'm not that ambitious.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Writing Group Week 8... up, over at ADM's place. This week, she asks about writing schedules/patterns during the semester, which is something I'm not ready to think about just yet...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Writing group comments

...are up. As in, I just wrote them (again, not necessarily for every post) and posted them on the comment thread from Friday. See my comment to NW Girl for my explanation for the delay. Look for a new post shortly entitled "two weeks of sloth."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Writing Group Week 7: Goal (re)setting

Welcome to week seven! We've bid farewell to a few people over the past few weeks, but hopefully some of them will rejoin us when we reconvene in the fall. We're over halfway through now, but the good news is that we still have almost halfway left to finish up those goals!

So, let's talk about those goals. In last week's post, ADM referred to me as a "Type A", and she's not wrong. And what this Type A has been noticing is a bit of chaos in the area of your overall goals for this 12-week term. Now, some of this has been for excellent reason: you've finished a project! Yay! But some of it has been due to a lack of appropriate goal-setting. Maybe you set your summer goals without taking into account the inevitable detours you knew were coming. Maybe you over- or underestimated what you could accomplish this summer. Were your goals too ambitious? Not ambitious enough? Did you, perhaps, start off with a goal of multiple projects, rather than just one central goal (with the papers and presentations as side projects), leaving you unfocused as the project went forward?

Let me put this another way, for this week's discussion question: If you could go back to pre-week-one, what advice would you give late-May you as you were thinking about the goal you were going to set for the summer? Knowing what you know now, what would that summer goal be?

That's it. No long post this week. Just that one question, and the usual requirement that you report in your progress, and your specific goals for next week. Here's the run-down:

  • ABDMama [Draft of an article MS]: incorporate the 2,500+ words of source writing and ideas into the larger article draft
  • ADM [conference paper for Leeds; revision of paper after]:
  • Audie [working on transitioning a dissertation chapter to an article]: have the first section of the paper reworked
  • Cly [revise article for publication & draft chapter for book]: Leeds paper? Chapter?
  • Dame Eleanor [Revising a conference paper into article MS]: finish all the mini-outlines for the article-in-progress, and start expanding them
  • Digger [drafts of two book chapters]: finish Mash Chapter; try to get that last image permission
  • Dr. Koshary [work on book MS]: finish off chapter 4, then begin drafting chapter 3,
  • Eileen [First draft of a dissertation chapter]: figure out a path to the finish; integrate quantitative data set #2; decide whether to include or jettison planned section on religion; maintain 500 words/day.
  • Erika [Review-ready draft of an article MS]: 500 words / day, plus 1 page of revisions [per day, I assume]
  • Frog Princess [Review-ready draft of completed dissertation – done ahead of schedule! Yay!!]: finished major goal; taking a week to poke around and develop a goal for the rest of the summer
  • Godiva [First draft of diss. chap.]: ((goal for this week??))
  • J. Otto Pohl [Complete draft of 2/3-finished book MS]: ((goal for this week??))
  • Jeff [Review-ready draft of completed dissertation]: Review-ready draft of chapter 2
  • Jen [Revising conference paper into article MS]: Reinstate morning writing (500 words per morning), and finish this section
  • Matilda [Draft of a publishable paper]: work through week 7 of WYJA; revising argument of task 1 (this WG project); complete task 2; start reading materials of task 3
  • Mel [Finish dissertation!]: Finish chapter 4?
  • NWGirl [Revising a conference paper into an article MS]: finish writing section 2 of the paper
  • Sapience [diss chapter (done! ahead of schedule!) Prepare presentation of full dissertation for department]: finish revisions on the article, and get at least four pages of the presentation drafted.
  • Susan [Revise & polish two chapters of a book MS]: On vacation for two weeks
  • Tigs [Completed diss draft]:
  • Travelia [Write two conference papers (done!); prepare book MS for review]: On vacation for a week
  • Zabeel [Draft first two sections of new article]: Read two more books; complete a first draft of section 2
  • Zcat abroad [write an article]: try out this '500 words a day, first thing'

Awaiting report:
  • Bardiac [Review-ready article MS]**
  • Caleb Woodbridge [MA thesis]***
  • Firstmute [chapter draft; send out article]*
  • Gillian [an article that needs writing]*
  • Jason [First draft of a dissertation chapter]***
  • Kit: [Write the first draft of a dissertation chapter]*
  • Scatterwriter [Complete expansion/revision of an article MS]*
  • Scholastic Mama [Revising a conference paper into an article MS]*

Thursday, July 14, 2011

RBOC, plus a self-portrait (of sorts)

Back in Grit City for over a week now, settling into a rhythm. Here are some truly random bullets:
  • Writing group check-in is tomorrow. Don't forget.
  • Speaking of writing groups, I'm meeting up tomorrow with a couple of people from different departments who meet every Friday to drink coffee and write. We're still one horseman short of an apocalypse, though.
  • I missed my bike and my yoga terribly while I was away. Now I'm back, and they're all I'd hoped for.
  • Massive budget cuts (again) have my inbox full of notices, calls to action, predictions of doom... I think they're all correct, but my response right now is Delete Without Reading. I just can't handle it. "If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention," says the bumper sticker. Well, I've been pissed off for years, and I'm exhausted from it. Gonna try Door #2, until the time comes when I can actually do something that I'm not already doing.
  • I've got a lot of pretty, pretty boys I call friends.
  • Since getting back I have, for the first time in years, been able to restart my morning-person-ness.
  • I have an ambitious research/writing agenda for next year at this point. I need to figure out how to pare it back to something that won't make me insane when the inevitable chaos hits.
The promised photo of me, also featuring my friend D.:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Business

A few points to mark my first Friday back stateside:
  • Week 6 of the writing group is up over at ADM's place. Getchyer updates in! She also invites you to talk about mistakes you've made in planning how to best use a summer or a research leave. Hoo boy, have I done this, so expect me to chime in for once.
  • I got home at 1 a.m. a couple of days ago and just fell into bed. The following day I devoted to laundry, spending $150 on groceries, and unpacking/putting away. The next day I was able to be recreational (coffee, yoga, etc.), and got a full 8 hours of sleep. Today: consumer purchases! Bike pump! New water bottle!** Curtains for the kitchen windows! Many! More! Exclamation! Points!!!
  • Brought home 17 pounds (yes, I weighed them) of new*** book purchases. And probably 5 new pounds of me (no, I didn't weigh me. Mind your own goddamn business). Pastry and cheese will do that to you.
  • Good luck to people at Leeds this weekend!

**If you go on an extended trip, and you leave your bike parked somewhere warmish, it's best to make sure that bottle is emptied, washed, and perfectly dry and open to the air. Unless you are actually trying to grow algae.

***This does not count the books I was already carrying with me, which were probably another 2 pounds or so.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Getting Scooped (a longish post)

This post is dedicated to the all-too-appropriately named writing group participant What Now?, who is trying to figure out what to do now that she may have been scooped. It's also dedicated to R, M, and A, the three people I reference in this post who scooped me at one time or another… thereby leading my work in directions that I might not have known to take it on my own.

Once upon a time, you had a topic for a book, and 'twas the fairest topic in the land. It was interesting, it was about the right size and shape. You knew where the bodies were buried, and you even began work on it – visiting archives, reading books, maybe drafting chapters, or even a whole dissertation. You talked about it to your friends and colleagues. You put it on grant applications, and on your CV as "in progress."

And then… you heard of someone working on the same topic. Someone who was further along than you. And it felt like the floor dropped out from beneath you.

Getting scooped is a common peril in academic writing, mainly because it takes us so long to publish anything. And yes, we do get possessive about our ideas. It would be a lot easier if we could just do like the kids do and lick our topic so no one else would touch it. But considering the documents we work with sometimes, that would be gross.

I've been scooped three times in my short career so far, and chances are that it will happen again. This emphatically does not mean that I know what you should do if you get scooped. But I'll tell you what I did each time, with the hopes that one or more of these ideas will work for your situation.

Scenario #1 – Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom: Working on my dissertation-based book, in a field that seemed wide-open and just crying out for it. And about two years before it's ready to send out to potential publishers, I see page proofs on a publishers' table at Kalamazoo of a book – a real book, with covers! – that seems to fill this gaping hole in the historiography that I thought my book was going to take care of. eeep!!!
  • What I did: I bought the book, of course. I read it, and noticed that the author, while working on the same topic, was asking fundamentally different questions, using different types of sources. I resolved to revise with an eye to emphasizing the areas where we did not overlap, to really place those at the center of my book. And I picked up my correspondence with the author, who I had met a couple of times before, if briefly.
  • Result/What I Learned: we both published good books, and we're friends – we even managed to get together in Blerg City this summer. I learned that single topic, even with a relatively confined geography and time period, may have innumerable aspects to explore. This book forced me to think more deeply about what it really was that I had to say, and I think that, as a result, I wrote a more sharply defined book than I otherwise would have. I also learned that there's room for more than one of us in any single area – there are a lot of questions to ask.

Scenario #2 – The Next Big Thing: While dissertating, I stumbled upon a very interesting cache of documents about another topic that would allow me to build on what I had learned from the dissertation, while still being an obviously different project. A very sexy topic, mysteriously untouched. I published an article as a grad student, and included it in all job apps as "the next project." But I had to finish the diss-based book, so the Next Big Thing sat idle for 4 years – no publications, no presentations. And while I sat on my hands, an enterprising grad student picked up the topic and ran with it. By the time I was ready to work on it again, student had defended hir dissertation, based on records that I was planning to look at… someday.
  • What I did: I dropped it, with the best grace I could muster. Sometimes, another person gets ahead of you so far that it would be impossible to catch up, and I didn't feel like wrestling for this one, for any number of reasons. If I had been further along, I might have done differently, but I wasn't, so I backed off, and started looking around for what to do next.
  • Result/What I Learned: I'm on a different project, and the other person is working on turning the dissertation into hir first book. I've learned that you're not really "on" a topic unless you keep presenting and publishing on it. By walking away for 4 years, I passively renounced any claim I may have had, if such things can even be said to exist. It's not unthinkable that, when s/he publishes, hir book will be very different from the one I would have written. If that happens, then we're in Hundred Flowers territory again, and I may go back to it. But probably not. I've got several other (potentially more interesting) fish to fry at this point.

Scenario #3 – But if you try, sometimes you'll find you get what you need: Starting on the project I kind of fumbled my way into in the wake of The Next Big Thing, I thought I had a good idea, so off I went to the archives again. And then I found that there was junior person who had recently finished hir dissertation on a very similar topic. And also there was a team of people working on a similar topic in Blargistan, where even unintentionally stepping on the wrong set of toes can fuck your whole career. But by that time, I just didn't have the emotional fortitude (not to mention the time, since I was already in the archives) to go casting about yet again.
  • What I did: I wrote this post. And then I wrote to the two people involved, explaining my interest in the topic. And then I kept working, trying not to panic, all the while using half of my brainpower to relentlessly flog the "How am I different?" question. I didn't know the answer, but with effort, I was able to coerce my topic into a new shape** by paying attention to what kinds of things were really drawing my attention and getting me excited in the archives, and what that might mean for the questions I really wanted to ask. And lo and behold, they turned out to be very different from what I thought they'd be, and (most importantly) very different from what those other people were working on.
  • Results/What I Learned: Listen to your own brain, and be flexible. Getting scooped forced me to very quickly take my project in a radically different direction. And I'm glad, because it turns out that my original project would have required me to do a kind of research that is the complete opposite of the way I'm best at working, and thus would have been no fun for me at all (and I have this theory that books you don't enjoy invariably turn out crappy). This way, I'm playing to my interests and my strengths.

One last thing: Just because someone starts a project doesn't mean that they'll finish it, or publish it, or that it will be anywhere near as good as the one you're contemplating. In the end, you have to decide three things:
  1. How important is this project to me, either professionally or personally?
  2. Do I (or could I) have my own unique spin on the topic, something that makes my work obviously different from other approaches?
  3. If I decide to go ahead with the project, what are the steps I need to take to do so ethically, and to maintain good relations with my professional community?

That's it.

Oh, and that really sweet trial transcript I dug out of the archives a few years ago? Yeah, I licked it. Just so you know.

Completely unrelated photo (by request for Squadratomagico): Cloister Cats!
Now with bonus kitteh!

**I just realized that this is exactly the approach that I took when writing proposals to revise my more or less aimless dissertation into a book: I pushed and pushed until I had an idea that was at least plausible, and then I shaped and polished it until it was something I could actually believe in. And it turned out pretty okay.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Writing Group, Week Five: Facing the Heartbreak of O.B.E.

Welcome back everyone! As usual, we begin by checking in with your accomplishments for the past week, and your goals for the week to come. I've made several notes in the roll call from last week about being more specific in your goals. People in the group have expressed this in several ways: "I will finish X part of project" or "I will write 500 words a day" or "I will work six days this week for at least 90 minutes." The goals don't need to be gigantic; just specific. I encourage this because "I will make some progress" is going to be less helpful to you. To put it simply: Vague goals lead to vague results. So let's see some specifics – whatever that means for you – in your goals this week.

Okay, moving on…

We're at week five, and by now, some of you are undoubtedly saying, "Wow! I had no idea I could write so much so quickly! Dang! Why haven't I been doing this all along?"

For many, however, this is about the point where we start losing steam. Often it's because we've been Overcome By Events. OBE can arise from expected causes – a conference, a vacation, a family visit. It can also be the result of unforseen events: illness (yours or a family member's), or another project that pops up and demands your immediate attention (ADM talked last week about strategies for juggling projects). Or you could have just been hit by severe lethargy, gotten sucked in by Hulu or Netflix or an ambition to read the complete works of Dickens, and let a two-day break stretch into two weeks, and now you don't know how to get back again. These things do happen, and while we strive to be dedicated writers who meet our goals, we are not machines.

But also: Let's talk about how to keep a detour from becoming a permanent derailment. After all, if you get derailed, you become demoralized, which makes it even harder to get started again. It's happened to all of us, but this summer is going to be different.

Yes, it is.

Because I say so, that's why.

A few weeks ago, ADM threw out a discussion topic that only a few people picked up on, but now I'd like to revive it, because the comments from last week suggest that it's critical at this point: When you can't write for reasons that are out of your control, what specific thing will you do to stay engaged, and keep from losing momentum? There were some good ideas that happened to pop up in the comments last week over at ADM's place: carve out 90 minutes in the morning during a family visit; use the time period that you know will be unproductive to sketch out a specific work plan for when you return; journal daily about your ideas; have a small and easily interruptable project to work on if you're waiting for feedback or temporarily can't get sustained work time on the big project (like, say, when you're traveling).

The important thing here is to have a plan in place to stay engaged. It's hard to get started again after an absence, and the longer we stay away, the more chance we give fear and demoralization to creep in.

So remember that you made a commitment to yourself. You will feel better every day that you honor that commitment. I promise.

Week 5 roll call (with goals from last week):

  • ABDMama [Draft of an article MS]: finishing up all the new primary sources and secondary sources.
  • ADM [conference paper for Leeds; revision of paper after]: work on Leeds paper [?]
  • Bardiac [Review-ready article MS]: has a work plan for this week [NPhD: specifics will help you stay on track]
  • Dame Eleanor [Revising a conference paper into article MS]: Overcome by events
  • Digger [drafts of two book chapters]: edit the now typology-timeline chapter into something presentable, plus two smallish side projects
  • Dr. Koshary [Review-ready article MS]: no specific goal for this week?
  • Erika [Review-ready draft of an article MS]: wrap up reading in primary sources and get a modest amount added to the draft
  • Firstmute [chapter draft; send out article]: have the article in shape to send to my advisor by Friday; secondary goal of putting in 1 hr a day on the chapter.
  • Frog Princess [Review-ready draft of completed dissertation]: finish chapter, have the back broken on the introduction
  • J. Otto Pohl [Complete draft of 2/3-finished book MS]: make up for some of the lost productivity of last week [Here again, I strongly suggest setting more concrete goals to help you stay on track]
  • Jeff [Review-ready draft of completed dissertation]: take another run at revising the Nth chapter [NPhD: is this meant to be a complete revision, or a revision of specific sections?]
  • Jen [Revising conference paper into article MS]: catch up from vacation [can you be specific?]
  • Kit: [Kit, do we have a specific project goal for you?] A week of meeting daily writing goals of 500 words
  • Matilda [Draft of a publishable paper]: work through week 5 section of WYJA, esp. working on draft [specific goal: can you finish that draft? Or a specific chunk of it?]
  • Mel [NPhD: Mel, what was your overall project?]: finish Chapter 4 by Monday, then start ch. 5, w/goal of intro and methods section done by Friday
  • NWGirl [Revising a conference paper into an article MS]: finish the current section and start work on the second section.
  • Ro [MS revision (NPhD: article?)]: Traveling + family visit, so continue with research readings plus sketch out a plan for work that I can pick up upon my return the following week [not a bad way to deal with necessary diversions – sketching the plan keeps you mentally engaged with the project]
  • Sapience [diss chapter]: start working on advisor's suggestions for revisions; backup plan is write the abstract for the CFP and/or start revising the job market materials. [I like this idea of having a backup plan; it helps you keep momentum]
  • Sara [Revision of research exam]: Travel this week; can't make concrete plans
  • Scholastic Mama [Revising a conference paper into an article MS]: revise argument and choose one more secondary journal, in case the first journal does not pan out
  • Susan [Revise & polish two chapters of a book MS]: a weekend trip to Paris [okay: envious], no specific goals while traveling, other than general progress
  • Tigs [Completed diss draft]: Rework intro and frame for ch. 2; more generally, work consistently every day
  • Travelia [Write two conference papers]: No specific goals; week of travel/conference
  • What Now [Polished book proposal]: write 2000 words by next Friday
  • Zabeel [Draft first two sections of new article]: working consistently, including both reading and writing [can you set yourself a more specific goal, either in terms of words/pages/hours per day? The same 3 hrs per day that you set previously?]

Awaiting report [NB: we are assuming that participants who have been MIA for three or more consecutive weeks have found themselves unable to continue with the group at this time, so if your name has disappeared from the list, that's why]
  • Caleb Woodbridge [MA thesis]*
  • Cly [revise article for publication & draft chapter for book]*
  • Eileen [First draft of a dissertation chapter]*
  • Gillian [an article that needs writing]*
  • Godiva [First draft of diss. chap.]*
  • Jason [First draft of a dissertation chapter]*
  • Ms McD: Revising a conference paper into an article MS**
  • My Museology: redraft three dissertation chapters**
  • Scatterwriter [Complete expansion/revision of an article MS]*
  • Zcat abroad [write two articles]*