Friday, December 2, 2011

Writing Group Week 12: Forward!

Welcome to the end of Another Damned Notorious Writing Group! Congratulations for sticking with it to the end. We've had quite a run, no? Oh, and congratulations to Heu Mihi who, in addition to finishing a paper for her faculty colloquium, also spent the last twelve weeks getting a good start on another long-term project. (The coincidence of dates is suspicious, I know, but I promise you that ADNWG were nowhere near her.)

Heu Mihi's new project inspires me to use this last post to look forward, rather than looking back. Because, after all, writing is not like a class you take once, get through the homework, and move on. It's what we do. And hopefully, we've learned some things about that to take forward.

So, as you put in your Final! Reports!, here are a couple of ideas for things to contemplate, under the general heading of "heading forward":
  1. Where is this particular project headed forward to? Is it someplace different than you thought it would? Me, I thought I'd be talking about food. Instead, I discovered something really intriguing about cities -- and something, incidentally, that makes this mini-project a slightly better fit for the larger one it's a part of. This also opens up an entirely new field of reading for me. I actually find this exciting... but I'd like a semester off to to it.
  2. How are you heading forward into your writing agenda from here on out? How are you going to take what you learned about your own writing to set reasonable during-the-semester goals for making progress on your own? Those of us in teaching-heavy jobs can't be under any illusion that we're going to produce at the rate of our R-1 sistren, but knowing what we can accomplish and setting our own agenda (and sticking to it!) during the semester has the potential to readjust how we think of our writing, our jobs, and ourselves.

In any case, that's about it. I'm going to close with a picture of a houseplant of mine, and a parable:

Regular readers will remember that I am a Notoriously Phytocidal Dame. A few months ago, as I was ready to throw out what had become yet another a pot of dirt, one teensy little shoot shot up, almost a month after the last sign of life had expired. So I replanted what turned out to be two rootstocks (one of uncertain status in the being-alive department) in a smaller pot, and spent a month with a single little stalk coming out of the one root stock that was definitely alive. And then, for a few weeks, there were two more shoots next to it. And then, Thanksgiving morning, I woke up to the first sign of life from presumed-dead rootstock #2. And though the plant is far from robust at this point, it's healthy, and I'm nurturing what's there, happy to see it every morning, and looking forward to more in the future.

Last roll call (::sniff!::)

  • Adelaide [write a conference paper DONE!!!]
  • Amstr [revise and resubmit an article DONE!!!]
  • Another Damned Medievalist [write/revise a close-to-final draft of an article]: skim through two ILL books
  • Belledamesansmerci/Elizabeth [rough draft of a journal article]: finish the last three sections,
  • Bitterandjaded/Bittergrrl [finishing a dissertation chapter]: finish editing and getting the chapter to my adviser
  • Britomart [completing a draft of dissertation introduction]: Keep working on that background section. I’ve been alternating between time goals, word count goals, and section goals, but let’s try for word count next week: 1000 words.
  • Cly(temnestra) [write a book chapter]: complete update of old thing, and to finish detailed notes on bits of my chapter that need to be moved, referenced, translated, or whatever.
  • Contingent Cassandra [finish 2500-word section 2 of article draft]: add at least 500 words to the Section 2 draft, by writing on 2-3 mornings.
  • Dame Eleanor Hull [complete a chapter of the article-turned-book]: revise the chapter in light of comments from my RL writing group, who I hope will help with the conclusion. (Also, write a book review due at the start of December.)
  • Dr. Crazy [Finish a chapter draft begun this summer]: get all of my other crap done, in addition to hosting Thanksgiving, so that I might have a hope of accomplishing something in the last couple of weeks of the semester
  • Dr. Virago [draft a 7500-word essay for a contracted publication]: try to squeeze out another 300 words
  • Digger: spend a good solid 3 hours on it this coming week, and it will end up where it ends up.
  • Erika [write a complete & final draft of an article already underway]: grade all those papers students just turned in, commit 30 minutes / day in the morning to this project, and start conference paper reading for Paper due Dec 15.
  • Forthright [write two article-length pieces]: have article #1 completely finished.
  • Frogprincess [Final draft of the dissertation DONE!!]:
  • Good Enough Woman [write the first half of a dissertation chapter]: Read four articles, read 100 pages of primary text, write 10 original pages for the chapter.
  • Gillian [4 chapters of dissertation DONE!!!]: polish off those small changes and make a start on the big rethink and work out a strategy to get me through until my next annual assessment.
  • Heu Mihi [write paper for a faculty colloquium DONE!!]
  • Highlyeccentric/nakedphilologist [Draft one thesis chapter]: Let’s set myself to at least -start- on revisions of Chapter 1
  • Janice/jliedl [write a first draft of a chapter]: polishing the final draft
  • Lucie: [Complete a full draft of the PhD thesis]:Finish chapter y; don’t work on other things until this work is done
  • Luolin [finish and submit an article]: revise outline, including incorporating the new sources.
  • Katrin/StitchInTime [Turn MA thesis into book form]: new structure of the draft, and a new evaluation of how much work is left to do
  • Matilda [first draft of a journal article]: writing 800+ words ( this time I feel less ambitious than last week); spending at least 15-30 minutes for writing every day
  • Monks and Bones [turn a seminar paper into an article]: 1) Finish reading the dissertation (it’s relevant!) 2) Work for at least an hour five days this week on footnoting and planning expansions to conference paper.
  • Notorious Ph.D. [write a conference paper]: finish the draft
  • Salimata [write a conference paper DONE!!!]
  • Scatterwriter [revise three chapters of book]: start going through my notes on Zotero and making some updates to the Intro and Chapter 1, as well as reviewing a couple of my own articles in order to update Chapter 2.
  • Sophylou: [finish revisions on an article and prepare it for submission]: more brainstorming writing, more progress with difficult book, identifying other relevant secondary sources.
  • Stemi [First (very rough) draft of review article]: checked in, no goal
  • Susan [write a 7000 word commissioned essay]: One more read though and edit of the paper
  • Undine/Not of General Interest [Finish nearly done chapter and complete another]: finish the chapter
  • Zcat abroad/Kiwimedievalist [write an article]: Get moving on this second article – reading, writing, anything!

Week 11 absences:

  • Marie [finish turning paper into journal article]:
  • NWGirl [Revise one dissertation chapter into a book chapter]:
  • Trapped in Canadia [draft two chapters of the dissertation]:
  • Viola [writing an introduction and a chapter for thesis]:
  • Sisyphus [polish the rough draft of my article and send it out]


Dame Eleanor Hull said...

On the chapter draft, I have declared victory and got out. Victory means I have 4700 words, counting notes I made based on the IRL writing group's comments. I know what I need to do in revision, but the basic ideas are written down in coherent prose. It's not a great draft, but it's a good one. "Getting out" means returning library books: over half the ones I needed for the article-turned-book project have gone back to the library, and the rest will go next week.

Although I'd like to keep pressing forward with the Unexpected Book, I have other plans for the next 8 months. First, I'm going to use the winter break to blitz, a la FeMomHist (, the article-in-progress known as the MMP. It's not exactly a small topic, as she recommends, but I'm not starting from scratch, either. Then I have to write two conference papers, one a cousin to the MMP, the other to be cannibalized from this fall's chapter draft. That takes us up to the summer. Since I will be teaching in our summer program in the UK, I'm hoping for an R&R on the MMP, so that if I need to look at the MSS again, I can do that there. Alternatively, I could either work on turning the MMP's cousin-conference paper into an article, or do some other manuscript-y research while I'm abroad.

When I return, that's when I'll get back to the Unexpected Book. I want that to be my main writing project in the 2012-13 academic year, whether or not I get the fellowship that would let it be my only project. I guess if I don't get the fellowship, I might use the summer to draft another chapter or even two, so that I can re-apply with more chapters drafted and be very clear about the kinds of work that needs to happen in revision that the fellowship could facilitate.

Anyway, I've done the two-conference-spring before, so I know I can do that. I'm less sure about the winter break sprint, but I definitely want to try.

Sorry this is so long. The group has been inspiring, really really helpful; thank you so much.

zcat_abroad said...

I actually made progress this week! Final week of the writing group, and the first week back full-time ESL-teaching (my summer job), and I finally made progress on this article.

Well, mostly what I did was find an angle or a hook for it. I've had a lot of 'ooh, that's interesting' points from this saint's Life, but no reason to write any of it. Then I saw a CFP about relationships, and it clicked into place. So now I have some useful notes, a starting place for an argument, and a published book to disagree with and demonstrate why I'm right.

So my final check-in is really all about moving forward. I have to finish this article as soon as possible, but it's been percolating for quite a while, so I think that it's about ready to come to fruition. (Enough metaphors?)

Once again, big thanks to ADM and Notorious PhD for hosting and keeping us honest!

Gillian said...

Thank you, everyone, but especially our esteemed leaders (I've been waiting all day to say 'esteemed leaders'). Reporting in made an especial difference in the weeks I felt as if it was all too much, but it helped over all. It was reassuring to find that I'm not the only person who has self-doubt and feels less than capable for chunks of the time.

I now have a schedule for the chapters I drafted and the material for the next chapter. In fact, I have a schedule for the rest of my doctorate. That was a bit of an unexpected reward for the three months of work, but a good one. This is quite different from the work I did for the first writing group. I got it done on time, but it didn't suit the people I did it for, so it's on hold.

If there's to be another group, I'd like to participate, please. It makes life a lot easier when I'm not writing alone. It also reminds me that no-one has it easy - and that the negatives are exactly the same as the negatives for a fiction writer - things one has to learn from and then shrug off and move on.

Thank you, all!

undine said...

Yes, thank you for hosting this! It really helped. The story of the plant is exactly right for sending us out into the world again, too.

I'm not completely finished but am ready to finish that chapter with another push; then it's on to the work for MLA.

Dr. Crazy said...

I only accomplished about half of what I'd set out to accomplish, but I am confident that without this group, and without the need to check in, that I wouldn't have done even that much. So THANK YOU ADM and Notorious. Seriously.

Going forward, I'm slightly side-tracked by the fact that apparently I need to have a polished sample chapter and a book proposal done in the next 4 weeks, but I also feel like that's a good thing - as even though it will put me behind on the chapter I'm currently slogging through, it promises to give me a better time-line for moving forward, as if all goes well, I'll actually have some external deadlines and an external audience for whom to write. I'm going to post at more length over at my place, but all in all, I declare my progress through this semester a success. No, I didn't do everything I'd thought I would do, or hoped to do, but I kept going, which was really the thing that I needed to do, in spite of the obstacles that got in the way.

Jodi A. Campbell said...

So, my original goal was to write three chapters of my dissertation. Ha! I was delusional, but I'm under a major time crunch, so that delusion can be forgiven, I suppose. My revised goal was to write two chapters of my dissertation. Double ha! I still haven't finished one chapter. I've written two half-chapters, which is good. I'm happy with that. This winter break will be my time to blitz through writing, just like the Dame and FeMomHist. I'm not going home for as long this winter, so I can focus on writing.

The good news is that I've had a breakthrough with a chapter that was literally killing me. I finally realized that I allowed myself to be sidetracked from my writing not because I didn't want to write, but because I didn't want to write what I was supposed to be writing. So, I changed it. Simple as that. Instead of talking about the church's social control of women who rioted, I'm now writing about women's religion as the cause of several riots. Much better. The writing is flowing much faster already and I have a stronger focus for post-doc applications.

I may not have accomplished my goals for this writing group, but I did learn some valuable ways to keep on track with writing (why didn't anyone tell me to start writing in year two???) and, most importantly, how to get back on track when you've lost your way. Thank you sooo much for this writing group and for your comments, which were much more inspiring than my actual output may show.

Anonymous said...

Weirdly, I didn't get through the two ILL books, but I did write 600 words. And by some miracle, I now have till Monday to get this bastard thing done. So I am doing that this weekend. I hope. Didn't need to start off by staying up till 3:00 working on an assessment report, though. Dunno what I was thinking, except that I got stuck into it, and it is about six months late...

And I will be looking forward to the next session, because I have some more projects after this: a R&R, a book review, and progress on the project from hell.

Matilda said...

Hello, all,

This week I have written only about 200 words on my project. Thus, I was not able to meet my goal on the final week, and my overall project is still some distance away. I feel, however, partly pleased, for I have been able to pursue my project continuously during this session. Usually it is very difficult for me to do my own research during the term time, unless I have a strict official deadline. This time it has been different. I have squeezed out some time for my research every week, thanks to this Another Damned Notorious Writing Group (even when I am extremely busy and nervous, this name makes me smile).

I really appreciate ADM and Notorious PhD Girl Scholar for hosting again this wonderful writing group. Are you thinking of hosting another session? I very much would like to join again. Thank you very much ADM and Notorious PhD Girl Scholar, and thank you everyone.


Adelaide said...

reflections on the group: I didn't get as much out of it as I think I could have if I'd used the group a little better - but at the same time, it still was a start (and I was successful in my goal) I just want to take full advantage of it if I participate again.

Where is this project going: there's interest in the conference proceedings being published, so I do have to polish it up for submission.

Writing agenda from here out? a bit harder of a question... I'm a librarian, at an institution where tenure is more about professional development and involvement than strict publishing. I've got to figure out what is next. I have another idea based off my last project that goes even more afield (which I think is ok with everyone), but I'd also like to figure out some interests more directly related as well. I don't have ideas at the moment - but you know what, that's ok, I've got three presentations already on this year's list. If it takes me half or more of next semester to figure out where I'm going - I'm ok with that. (And I've got enough professional organization duties coming up too, so probably better to have a slower spring than fall)

Dr. Virago said...

Between last week and this, I wrote 1077 words, which is 423 fewer than my planned pace (750 per week). Still, not bad considering I also GOT MARRIED and BOUGHT A HOUSE in those two weeks! LOL!

And now I'm only 910 words shy of my overall goal of 7500 words. Not bad, given this semester.

So what have I learned? I really *can* write during the semester and don't have to put everything off to blocks of quiet time during the summer and holidays. And like Crazy said, this writing group has helped *immensely* in getting me to make those goals and in helping me see that I can do this. So thanks SO, SO much!

I still need to keep drafting and rewriting on this project. It's too much a critical history and not enough of an introduction to the primary texts themselves, and I have to fix that. I also have to cut things to make room for the more than 1000-words of content I have left to cover. Between now and January, I've got a lot of work cut out for me! But again, I know I can manage to do it -- hooray!

zcat_abroad said...

Congratulations, Dr Virago!! That's a fantastic use of the last two weeks!

Dr. Virago said...

zcat_abroad -- You mean the 1000 words, right? ;-)

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell said...

Congrats, Dr. Virago, and of course I mean the word count, lol!

Thank you immensely, ADM and Notorious for hosting this group. I would not have gotten as far as I did without the group; as many have said, knowing we were all together in the effort was very helpful.

As for my project, I finished! The draft is in the hands of my brutal editor, and will be sent out by the end of December.

Where next? The next article awaits, another revision of a conference paper. I'm looking forward to writing it, even though I am knee-deep in job applications and interviews, and have no idea if I will be here or elsewhere come fall. That makes me really feel like Notorious' little root stock.

Beyond that, I will have to see where I'm working to adjust my sights. No matter what, I will be writing something, so please include me in future groups.

Finally, congratulations to all who have finished; congratulations to all who have accomplished more than they thought in the past twelve weeks. May you all have a lovely break.

Matilda said...

@Dr. Virago,
COngratulations!!!!!Life is wonderful!!!

Marie said...

Thank you for doing this! It has allowed me to see that I do have pockets of time that can be better used, and that has been very helpful. My article has taken a turn in its direction, and I'm really not sure where to go from here. But, I feel so much better about it now.
Again, thanks for hosting this.

Cly said...

Many, many thanks for hosting this! I can’t believe how much more focussed and productive I’ve been as a result of this group. I am also astonished at the extreme generosity of ADM and Notorious.
Congrats to Dr V on a fab word count ;)
I have also managed to meet my goals. The article is finished, and the chapter (that was my original goal) is ‘finished for now’ (meaning drafted, and full of red notes on what must be done and blue ones for possible areas of development).
Since this was a book chapter, I have a fairly clear idea on my immediate next steps. I’ve more-or-less put together a twelve-week plan for another chapter (this model seems to work for me, whether or not we can continue to work in this way) and something very close to a draft or a draft of another. I won’t finish a draft of the book before the summer, but MAYBE by the end of the (calendar) year.
I also have to start thinking about when to worry about my Leeds conference paper.
I’ve been meaning to ask, is continuing this feasible? Is there any way that we could ease the burden of ADM and Notorious? I’d be happy to help out if I can.

Forthright said...

Thanks to all for your support! I'm still tinkering with both articles, but they are both in good shape to be done and out in the next week or two; mostly all that needs to be done is adding a few references and structuring bits. Unfortunately over the past two weeks I've been extraordinarily OBE considering I'm on sabbatical: my basement flooded (ugh), I've had to take over sole responsibilities on a rapidly tanking co-edited volume (double ugh), I've had a nasty cold (bleugh), and have been at our major disciplinary conference on top of all that. Now that I have emerged from all that with a clean slate, I'm feeling pretty confident about getting the rest done in the couple of weeks before the holiday.

Thanks again to our intrepid group moderators, and congratulations to all the participants!

Scatterwriter said...

Goal for the past (two) weeks: start going through my notes on Zotero and making some updates to the Intro and Chapter 1, as well as reviewing a couple of my own articles in order to update Chapter 2.

Well, technically, I guess I did two out of three -- I made updates to Chapter 2 based on some of my own articles, and I did start going through my Zotero notes (although I didn't get to the point of doing anything with them!). Thanksgiving week represented a really unfortunate break in the routine, and then I got sick this past week. Really sick. I spent most of yesterday sleeping. I was so grateful for the extension and then I didn't do anything with it!

However, I am in a good place to continue -- and I do plan to continue at least until the beginning of spring term, and hopefully beyond (now that I see that it's just a matter of setting reasonable goals and, more importantly, keeping in touch with my own research so that it doesn't all go fallow). I have very nearly met the overall goal of revising three chapters of my manuscript, so I think I can finish it up soon and then either move on to my last two chapters or else switch gears and work either on my spring conference paper or final revisions to a forthcoming article.

I couldn't have done it without you all and I am especially indebted to the generosity of Notorious and ADM.

Congratulations to all the finishers!

monksandbones said...

First of all, thanks for all your work hosting this group! It's definitely helped me keep this project going in the face of all my new archival research (not to mention moving to a new, non-English speaking country on a different continent for the year).

That said, I've been poking at my paper/article for the past two of weeks, and poking at the historiography, but I can't lay claim to any serious progress. I've done some focused journal-writing and crappy first-drafting and am approaching a revised introduction, but not only do I have to finish the article version of my paper by the end of December, but I also have a lot of work to do to get a grip on writing in general, which I've been really struggling with.

In terms of this project, at this point I suspect it's more of a dead end than I initially thought, mostly because of a bunch of graduate students here who got to it a couple of years ahead of me. Moving forward, there's going to be a lot of working to define a project for myself as I catch up on the most recent historiography and figure out what I have as far as sources. Hopefully that will go hand-in-hand with overcoming some of my issues with writing. One thing I think this semester, and participating in this group, has made it clear to me is that my problem is not simply being an unmotivated slacker. I guess I'm glad to know that, although being a slacker is probably an easier fix.

NWGirl said...

I did not accomplish my goal of revising a chapter, but I am happy with the progress I have made on revisions overall. I have a more coherent revision plan. And finding that new collection in October has kept me going especially in the past two weeks. (I missed checking in the week before Thanksgiving because hubby was hospitalized again. Long story, but this is stay number four or five. All is well again and he is home, but that turned some plans upside down.)

This group has motivated me to keep moving forward even when it feels like I'm slogging through mud. And thanks so much to Notorious and ADM for providing this space and for encouraging each of us to keep moving forward.

I plan to keep working on this chapter and on the manuscript overall. However, I do plan to take some time off from all things writing- and teaching-related to celebrate the holidays with family in the Great Northwest.

Thank you everyone. I've enjoyed hanging out with all of you.

NWGirl said...

Forgot to say -- congrats to Dr. V on an awesome word count! ;-)

thefrogprincess said...

This past Tuesday, I defended my dissertation and became Dr. thefrogprincess, PhD. Which is pretty fucking amazing. The defense was good, everything I wanted graduate school to be, everything graduate school wasn't.

This semester was/is really difficult. The group helped a lot, not because I wouldn't have gotten it all done without it (I didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter), but because I was completely in the weeds, panicked, and worried. The group helped me focus with a minimal level of self-doubt.

Where am I going from here? Next semester, I want to turn a chapter into an article and do some preliminary 2ndary reading and rudimentary thinking about how to revise my book manuscript (b/c that's what I'm calling the diss now). But maybe more importantly, I need to regain some work-life balance. I have spent (am still spending) all of this semester practically falling off the edge, and it's taken a toll on my health and my organization. So next semester, I try to be more organized, etc.

Thanks to all for the great group and to ADM and Notorious for running it!

Anonymous said...

:D I did indeed start revising chapter 1 - just quick-fix revisions, but I can keep pottering away with those while I work on the next chapter.

I got the second chapter draft back from my supervisor (that was this writing group's project), and she was in favour, but it has plenty more to be done to it. So, good news and more work!

In an attack of pleasing productivity, I started in on the third chapter last week. Hopefully I can turn that out by the end of the month, and use some of my summer to write up an article as well.

Thanks for running this, Notorious and ADM - it's been very useful for keeping me on track. :)

- highlyeccentric

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Hey everyone --

Sorry I'm not checking in with all the usual comments. Grading has me buried. But, I did want to step in for a moment and say:


Good Enough Woman said...

First, I want to thank Notorious and ADM for hosting this group. I never imagined it could be as helpful as it was, and I know it was a lot of work. Many, many thank for your hospitality and support.

Second, I want to congratulate all of those who finished their projects, especially Dr. Frogprincess and my good friend, Amstr.

As for me and my week 12 goal, I finished more than four articles, fewer than 100 primary sources pages, and I did not draft 10 pages.

Going forward? Well, since I didn't get a solid chapter draft, I will keep working on that goal. But still, 12 weeks ago, I hadn't even read the primary sources for the chapter and had no idea of my argument and didn't really understand the philosophical foundations I wanted to explore. Now, although I'm not fully prepared to do all of the writing, I am much further along, thanks to this group. I have some scratch outlines and will continue to free write and and draft in an effort to fill in the blanks.

Like Dr. Virago and many others, I have learned that I can, in fact, make meaningful progress on my research and
writing during the semester. Winter break will be hard because it's full of family time and travel, but I plan to make a few specific, realistic goals that I can accomplish--now that I've gotten better at doing so! Thanks to all.

Contingent Cassandra said...

First, congratulations, Dr. Frogprincess, Ph.D., and Dr. Virago (on the word count, of course), and to all who finished (the planned project and/or the 12 weeks). It's especially good to hear that your defense was satisfying, Frogprincess; that isn't always the case, but it should be, and I'm very glad it was for you.

Section 2 of my draft has more than 2500 words, but I can't really claim it's done (and I don't think word-count goals are really going to work for me, since I tend to write long, trying out at least 3 different and very rough ways to say related clusters of things, and then cut/condense). However, it's probably within 2-3 good writing sessions of being done (give or take a bit that may be part of section 1, or section 2, and is going to take a bit of research). One thing I have gotten from the group is an improved ability to make that kind of estimate with a reasonable degree of certainty, which is definitely a good thing. I've also very much appreciated hearing other people think in writing, week by week, about their own writing processes; for whatever combination of reasons, that was not part of my grad school experience (either with peers or with faculty), and it's helpful, as I finally find myself at the point of actually having a research/writing agenda, to be able to "eavesdrop" on others' processes.

I definitely plan to continue this draft over the break (maybe even in the next week, though the grading is becoming *very* urgent, and I am behind -- though not necessarily, I think, more so than I would be if I hadn't tried to write this semester; it's simply been a hard one). I also have another, provisionally-accepted (hurrah!) manuscript to revise by the end of January, and a conference paper which needs to be written by late March. So I think my plan should be to finish both this fall's article manuscript and the revised article (which is mostly cutting -- painful in some ways, but I don't expect it to be too hard) by the end of January, and begin drafting the conference paper in early February. By the end of the summer, I'd like to have this semester's article revised and out for review, the conference paper (which needs some more archival work over the summer) turned into an article, revised, and out for review, and a proposal for a book (scholarly edition of a 19th-cent work) out. After that, it's time to start thinking seriously about putting together a monograph (for which I have the beginnings of a plan, related to the to-be-revised article and the edition). And somewhere in there I want to begin experimenting with a website related to the edition/monograph subject.

For the moment, though, the goal is to get into a writing rhythm over the break, and maintain it over the spring semester, and I think there's some chance of actually doing that (my schedule for next semester, both in terms of times/days and classes, is very similar to this fall's, which means that I will *not* be dealing with a bunch of new preps and a new LMS, as I was this semester, and that I do have some idea of how to fit in writing time).

Finally, I want to add my thanks to ADM and Notorious, for the idea of the group, and for all their behind-the-scenes work, continued despite busy and sometimes difficult semesters of their own. If there's a way to continue the group but lessen the burden on the two of you (or any one person), I'd be most willing to help.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting this in right under the wire.

I finished a solid draft of the chapter that I was working on - the close edits, which I had been working on, are finished, and my adviser will be reading it over the next week.

Moving forward I'm sure there will be revisions, but I feel good about where I'm at. I've also written about 7000 words on my next chapter, so that is my next project. That chapter seems be writing itself in a number of ways, so if I am able to get any work done over the semester break, I should be able to finish up a draft of that before the semester begins.

If not, that's ok too. It's been a productive writing semester in spite of the various non-writing activities, which have taken attention away from my dissertation. But I've learned to be better about writing more regularly, and I've found ways to trick myself into writing for self-imposed deadlines. Hopefully I'll be able to keep that up as I continue into the next few chapters.

At the beginning of the semester I was really overwhelmed, as I have been with much of the writing and researching process for my dissertation. I feel like this semester it really started to click, and I was able to get past the overwhelmed stage and just start writing. It was a relief, really. And as I email off my 55 pages today, I can see a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you for hosting and for giving us a space to vent about, reflect upon, and share our issues with writing.

Digger said...

Congrats to all, esp. Dr. Frogprincess! This week's goal: 3 hours work. This week's accomplishment: 2 hours work. Not bad, and I identified some weirdnesses that needed to come out and (what I think) is a new way of looking at Why Wheels.

I didn't finish my two chapters, but I did make a really good run at the Nemesis (in fact, it's not a nemesis any more, just a really rough draft/notes to be fleshed out YAY!). I have a bit more semester-crunch stuff to finish (and I'll have survived my first semester as a doctoral student!) but it's not terrible. I'm going to "warm up" by working on the book.

This writing group has also helped me focus what The Book will look like, and at least two chapters have fallen by the wayside. I don't have the data or the time to chase those down. I'll mention them as possible research avenues, and other people can have a go. :)

Thanks again to ADM and Notorious for hosting the group. And best wishes to all for surviving the semester and enjoying the holidays.

Erika said...

Many congratulations to you Dr. Frogprincess,PhD, and to you Dr. Virago! And really, to everyone for working so hard this semester. Thousands of thanks to you ADM and Notorious for organizing these writing groups! It's been a *real* challenge to keep up with my goals this semester, but without this weekly accountability check-in I surely would have gotten even farther from the mark.

My goal to complete a complete and final draft got scrapped around week 8, but I'm happy to report that I've written 8,000 words towards this article, and declared it a SFD on Friday. I've still got until the end of March to submit the MSS of the article, according to my own sense of a good timeline.

So thanks so much again to all for the words of encouragement, and the great community!

Dr. Virago said...

Came back to say four things:

1) Thanks to everyone for the congrats/best wishes. After all, writing over a 1000 words is a big deal. ;-) But sorry to Notorious if I seemed to hijack the thread!

2) Congratulations to *Dr.* Frogprincess! Hooray!

3) Congrats also to everyone who met their goals.


4) Once again (because it was a little buried in my original post), a hearty THANK YOU to ADM and Notorious for organizing and hosting this writing group. It really helped me immensely. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Lucie said...

Sorry I'm late (and long). . .
My goal was to have a complete draft of my thesis finished. I have drafts of every chapter and I have enough words written, but I can't say I've really met that goal because one of the chapters is still very, very rough , and another of the chapters still needs an important section to be added. However, I do feel a lot clearer about what the thesis is doing exactly, its contribution, etc. and they are things I've really struggled with and felt uncertain about as I approach the end of the PhD. I also know now for the most part what needs to be revised in each section to get it up to standard.

What I have learned: I learned that having some external structure was very comforting, and that a lot of the things I find hard, other people find hard too. I have learned that one of my biggest enemies is my own negativity and self-criticism, and that the only way to progress is to keep working and writing even if it all feels simplistic and shabby. (Though I definitely still have these voices in my head.) I learned just how much I was being distracted by the internet, even if I was using it for supposedly justified things like online articles, and that removing the temptation altogether was a much better solution than trying to use self-control.

All in all, having the weekly check-in made me much more reflective about how I was working, and even though I've more work to do to meet my goal, that in itself has been very valuable. Joining this group came after a long period, most of this year, of anxiety and feeling down, and of feeling that I was incapable of ever finishing. At least I can see now that I've made some progress over the course of the group, and I tell myself I can do it if I just keep going.

Thank you very much to ADM and Notorious PhD. This has been an incredibly generous undertaking on your part, and I really appreciate it.

Best of luck to everyone with your future work!

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

I'm back. Congratulations, Dr. Frogprincess. Also to Dr. Virago & to Heu Mihi.

It sounds like some of us are taking a well-deserved break and/or dealing with family and/or job stuff over the northern-hemisphere winter break; but some of us are trying to carry on writing.

So if we think of ADNWG as a regular class on the 12-week quarter system, how about a 6-week intersession chez moi? I'll put up a post advertising it later this week. The official start (that is, mine) will be next week, but if you need another week to sort out grades or whatever, you can add the class late. We'll officially end in mid-January, but again, late papers can trickle in till the end of January. Maybe this will be more like a working research seminar where people attend as they can, but anyway, Dec-Jan writers are welcome to report goals and progress at

Susan said...

I'm late.... but I want to start with
1. Thanks to ADM and Notorious for hosting, keeping track of their errant charges, and generally nudging us all forward through the semester.

2. Congratulations to Dr. thefrogprincess, Ph.D.! And especially congratulations on the draft of a book manuscript!

3. Congratulations to Dr. Virago for an exceptionally productive several weeks. Most people wouldn't write one word let alone 1000+ in a week as busy as hers.

Anyway, last weekend I did work through my draft and do some edits. I actually printed it out, which always allows me to see new problems. But I think it reads pretty well, so I'm pleased. I was all set to work on footnotes on Friday (some people know how to have a good time, right?) but I got a cold right after Thanksgiving, and by Friday I was wiped, and even got laryngitis. So Friday and Saturday were washouts; and then I had to grade papers. But still: the essay is pretty much done, and I'll probably finish it in the next few days, and submit it on time.

What I learned was that I could indeed write during the semester, but that it helps to have a pretty focused project. I'm curious about the spring, where my work is probably a bit more preliminary -- lots of reading, more than writing. It really helped me to have to check in -- at times it pushed me to do work that I would have found an excuse to avoid. So I am grateful. I have also learned a lot from how others manage their work. All I can say is that without dedicated time for this (and I've generally managed to clear one day a week) I would not have managed.

Now, when I go to the AHA, I'll hope to hear Notorious' final paper!

Amstr said...

A belated thanks to ADM and Notorious for hosting. Accomplishing my goal was much easier with weekly reminders to have achievable goals and interactions with other writers.

I'm looking forward to the next group, and I'm happy to help out in any way I can (collating the goals list, etc.)

My article for this writing group is off to the editors, and I'm now getting set up to revise it into a dissertation chapter in the winter. I'm currently working on another book article due at the end of the month, and I'm already missing the structure of the writing group and the accountability.

Happy holidays and congratulations to all!

Scholasticamama said...

What a great ride this has been! I did not finish my writing this semester (a plague fell this semester for sure!) but I am so far along that I feel quite confident about finishing over break.

To make that happen, I have set a "reveal date" with several colleagues, where I will have the paper in hand to be read by Jan 6.

The paper has changed some - I thought it would just be about intellectual thought, but I really dove into the gendered aspects and am feeling much more at home in the process. And, I can see it leading to other, more interesting, pastures in the future!

Again, many thanks for hosting and pushing us along. I want to do one every year!

Janice said...

I completely missed the check in last week, argh! Good news is that I was done with my chapter draft by the deadline, nicely polished. I handed it to a friendly reader who got me some feedback in time to mail it off to the editor earlier this week.

Thanks for the writing group for keeping me on target. Support is so important in writing in and amongst the madness of term time!

SwallowingSoul said...


Dame Eleanor has graciously accepted me into her intersession writing group, and I'm hoping to join this one as well when it starts up again in January.

I'm a TT American lit prof working on a book proposal. My goal is to submit the proposal at the end of the winter writing group and then turn toward a co-authored article project for which I've already set aside about 10 dedicated days (and an overseas research trip!) in January.

Yes, this •is• ridiculously ambitious ... but, after years of devoting all of my time and energy to teaching and service, I figured it's about time for me to get ambitious about writing again.

I hope to join your esteemed ranks. These pages are absolutely fizzing with all of your efforts.