No, I'm not talking about the kind of pacing that you do when you jump up from your chair when you ought to be writing. Nor is this the productive pacing that helps you think out an idea (yes, I actually do this. I have no idea why, but sometimes it helps).
What we're talking about here is establishing a good pace to keep you on track. Obviously, that's part of what the weekly check-ins are for: to make sure that you're making meaningful progress every week so you actually reach your goals. But there's another type of pacing we need to talk about, and that's the pace for each individual week. We need to make sure that we're not putting the week's goal off until two days before the end, then either trying to cram it all in, or realizing that we can't possibly cram it all in, and finish the week feeling too discouraged or embarrassed to check in the next week.
Why this topic? Because that's exactly where I found myself this week. I got absorbed in the day-to-day of the job, trying to keep up with the grading, and even doing non-work-related things (yes, those are important, too, and working on a project doesn't mean you should sacrifice them). Then, all of a sudden, it was Wednesday, and I realized that I had only barely touched the project all week. And there was panic, and a sense of impending doom.
Maybe you experienced something similar in your first "real" week on the project? Or maybe you had another kind of weekly pacing issue, in that you overestimated what you could take on in a given week? Or maybe, just maybe, you did it right, and established some good habits that you want to resolve to carry through for the following 11 weeks. Whatever it is, let's talk about how we are going to keep on track in a given week. If we take care of the individual weeks, the project will take care of itself.
So here's my report: I wrote that I would "develop a plan of attack," meaning that I would pull together all my materials, see what I had, develop a preliminary bibliography, order things up, and sketch out an outline. In a rush, I got everything but the last thing done. But my rush -- that is, my failure to pace myself this week -- meant that even the stuff that I did manage to finish was half-assed, and I don't feel as prepared as I want to going into this week.
Here's how I resolve to change it, with this week's goal: get that outline done, and write at least 300 words a day of notes on my secondary source material. Slow and steady wins the race.
How about you? Give us your report for the past week, and your goal for the week to come. Don't forget that the comments will close at the end of the weekend (that is, whenever I go to bed on Sunday). And if you're on our absences list, you need to make sure that you report in in order to maintain your status in the group.
[Note to everyone juggling projects: I have edited your weekly goals to reflect your declared project for this group only. No slight intended to the many things we've all got going on, but for the purposes of this group we're going to keep a tight focus.]
- Adelaide: [write a conference paper]: finish reading two chapters that may have some bearing on the paper; do another double-check for related articles/chapters/etc.
- ABDMama: [Complete an article draft]: re-read 100 pp previously written & free-write about 300 words
- Amcalm25: [finish an article]: gather notes, original conference papers, and the start I made on my article in the spring, reread and regroup
- Amstr: [revise and resubmit an article]: re-read article and editorial comments; list topics that need more research/citations; make (and limit) reading list; order items on reading list from ILL; read 2 articles, make entries on them in an annotated bib, and insert relevant stuff into draft
- Another Damned Medievalist: [write/revise a close-to-final draft of an article]: re-read both papers ; identify books for first set of ILL requests; possibly start reading the review book breaking the two papers down into chunks on Scrivener
- Antikate: [revise a conference paper into an article & submit]: reread the conference paper and all of the plays that the article will discuss and make notes
- Belledamesansmerci: [transform a conference paper into a journal article]: read one new relevant article; change “I” conference speak for more academic language
- Bitterandjaded (Bittergrrl?): [finishing a dissertation chapter]: Gather all notes that I have on the topic; Outline notes into something cohesive; Write at least 1000 words on the chapter introduction
- Britomart: [completing a draft of dissertation introduction]: Write approx 1250-1500 words for “in person” writing group by Wednesday; try to get enough out of 4 books to return them to the library
- Cly: [write a book chapter]: do index; review notes and sources
- Contingent Cassandra: [complete a full draft of a journal article]: read key secondary article; re-read primary texts, taking marginal notes in both; ½ hour per day freewriting
- Dame Eleanor Hull: [complete a chapter of the article-turned-book]: abstract for a conference version of this chapter
- Digger: [write two book chapters]: Work on 2 chapters 5/7 days this week: WW chap -- Go through notes and outline basic arguments and structure, selecting a few supporting quotes; SSW chap -- pull references and set aside
- Dr. Crazy: [Finish a chapter draft begun this summer]: reread current work (about 13 pages); write 3 solid additional pages; write in writing journal
- Dr. Virago: [draft a 7500-word essay for a contracted publication]: write at least 500 words towards a draft
- Erika: [write a complete & final draft of an article already underway]: Spend 30 minutes a day assembling the biblio for article
- Evan: [write a conference paper]: get all relevant PDFs of Black Dwarf, review MIA’s list for relevant articles, pull relevant stuff from thesis
- Firstmute: [Revise and submit a journal article]: come up with a specific list of revisions & strategies to complete the revisions; revise abstract based on reviewer’s feedback
- Forthright: [write two article-length pieces]: a) Finish re-reading Major Theoretical Work for article #2 & write 1000 words free writing relating MTW to the article; b) Finish transcribing the most relevant data from 2011 field season.
- Frogprincess: [Final draft of the dissertation]: think about part of c. 3; work on intro; think about conclusion
- Heu Mihi: [write paper for a faculty colloquium]: Review preliminary outline and rough in details (outline-style) for Part 1
- Highlyeccentric: [Draft two thesis chapters]: plan next chapter; re-do overeview of the entire thesis; talk to supervisor about timeline; draft about ¼ of a chapter
- Gillian: [3 chapters of dissertation]: pull together all the different completed bits for each of the three chapters and assess how much and what kind of work needs doing on all of them
- Good Enough Woman: [write a solid draft of a dissertation chapter]: develop bibliography; order sources from ILL; finish one primary text; read intro, skim chapter one of book of criticism
- Inafuturelife: [transform seminar paper into a conference paper]: Reread secondary sources and notes, and make annotations on a few new ones just ordered
- Luo Lin: [finish and submit an article]: Read through three articles to see if and how they are relevant
- Janice: [write a first draft of a chapter]: Find notes for the first chapter, outline, order three or four resources, and make notes of the exact passages in the major source
- Jennifer: [finish writing a neglected article]: Read through file of what’s done; Organize and digitize literature; Work on article for an hour a day - Bonus points for daily writing
- Katrin: [revise and add to MA thesis to get it publishable]: write the “Materials” chapter
- Kris: [write up a “full” paper and cut it down to a 15-minute conference presentation]: order ILL and documents for paper; write 500 words from current materials while waiting
- Lucie: [Complete a full draft of PhD thesis]: expand conference paper into first draft of 5,000 words
- Matilda: [revise a paper into a journal article]: make a revision plan
- Marie: [finish turning paper into journal article]: re-read original paper, revisit bibliography and determine what is next. Start on Intro.
- Merryweather: [write conference paper]: finish going through database primary material notes; figure out a short reading list of essential things for theoretical framework
- Mike: [write ch. 2 of dissertation]: write a good solid page with a good working thesis
- Monks and Bones: [turn a seminar paper into an article]: Reread seminar paper and take notes; Create 1-page outline of new version; Review historiography notes and write up a 2-page historiographical overview
- Nvrwhere42: [finish a dissertation chapter]: re-outline the rest of the chapter; write at least 2000 words to get back into the writing groove
- Notorious Ph.D.: [write a conference paper]: develop plan of attack
- NWGirl: [Revise one dissertation chapter into a book chapter]: Re-read chapter, identify and pull out the relevant material and move that text into Scrivener; write up chapter outline & figure out what I need to add; make a list of any missing sources
- Opsimathphd: [turning a dissertation chapter into an article]: Reread the dissertation chapter; Read one relevant article per day; Examine articles in the more technical journal; Freewrite at least 15 minutes per day; Outline argument
- Salimata: [write a conference paper]: work on the paper for 1 hr on Monday, 2 hrs on Friday, and 15 minutes all other days; re-read abstract; identify the fieldnotes and recordings I want to use; put together a brief bibliography
- Scatterwriter: [revise three chapters of book]: re-read the introduction and first chapter of the book MS draft
- Scholasticamama: [Transform a conference paper into an article]: Read paper on Gender Binaries and Universals; Create 12 week outline
- Sisyphus: [polish the rough draft of article and send it out]: separate middle section and reorganize into two that flow; fix all the bolded sentences and (awk) comments to myself in this (these) section(s)
- Sophylou: [finish revisions on an article and prepare it for submission]: Rewrite and condense introduction. If time, assess Section 2 to identify areas for condensing/rewriting
- Stemi: [Complete and send off a review article ]: Read and take notes on 6 articles; 500 words total in the manuscript outline/Revise outline organization
- Susan: [write a 7000 word commissioned essay]: get through the first part of the historiographical review, adding about another thousand words
- Synecdoche: [Finish conference paper]: put together the start of a working bibliography
- Trapped in Canadia: [draft two chapters of the dissertation]: finish chapter on Presbyterian abuse of Episcopalians in Scotland post-1688 GR and finish outline of first WG chapter
- Undine: [Finish nearly done chapter and complete another]: minimum 1000 new words, not counting revisions or editing, on the almost complete chapter
- Viola: [writing an introduction and a chapter for thesis]: 1000-1500 words on the original part of chapter and tidy already-written 2,500 words on context; Go back over some sources and integrate their arguments
- Z-Cat/Kiwimedievalist: [ write an article]: block out the full plan for the article, and create a book-list.
Last week's absences:
Diana: [finish incomplete paper]
Jamilajamison: [finish writing the M.A. thesis]
Mae: [write up a project prospectus?]
Su Real Alteza: [finish textbook manuscript]