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Writing Group, week 10

5 August, 2011

Hi all, sorry for the lateness of the post. I somehow forgot that it was my turn, partially because I decided to change to wordpress, and partially because of a bunch of OBE.  The OBE was the same burn out — I ended up taking off the full week my therapist and doctor told me to — plus a massive amount of prep for a student-parent meeting, which took over three hours, but I think ended up in a resolution that was ok for them, ok for me (but will require more work) and made my dean happy. In the meantime, I’ve been dealing with the disaster area that is my house, a trip to the ER, and migraines from going into serious heat, then into seriously cold buildings.


But thanks to Notorious, there is a post. And there will be more added later.


So anyway, here’s what we have:


ABDMama [Draft of an article MS]: Send off first article for peer review (YAY!) and start second article, including drafting an abstract.

ADM [conference paper for Leeds; revision of paper after]: Get article submitted

Cly [revise article for publication & draft chapter for book]: Last copy-edit for article and send it off

Dame Eleanor [Revising a conference paper into article MS]: Write 500 words a day

Dr. Koshary [work on book MS]: Finish moving and get going on the project again

Eileen [First draft of a dissertation chapter]: find a conclusion

Erika [Review-ready draft of an article MS]: GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!  Continue writing 500 words a day for other projects due in September

Firstmute [chapter draft; send out article]: revise sections for section and chapter arguments

Frog Princess [rewrite Chapter 3; get another draft of the introduction]: continue rewriting and restructuring the remaining three sections of Chapter 3; return to the introduction and work on a few things there

Gillian [an article that needs writing] was traveling, doing site research, changing continents, and ill [things ADM gathered from other venues]

Jeff [Review-ready draft of completed dissertation]: fresh, review-ready draft of chapter

Matilda [Draft of a publishable paper]: submitting task 2; writing a plan of task 3, and writing first section of it

Mel [Finish dissertation!]: Revisions for ch. 4 & 6

Scatterwriter [Complete expansion/revision of an article MS]: Finish final longhand changes; make more cuts, find high-res images, draft letter to editor.

Susan [Revise & polish two chapters of a book MS]: Fill in a few more gaps in ch. 2, and read through and check argument

Travelia [prepare book MS for review]: Excused absence for family trip

Zcat abroad [write an article]: devise and structure an argument


Awaiting report:


Digger [drafts of two book chapters]*

Godiva [First draft of diss. chap.]*

Kit: [Write the first draft of a dissertation chapter]**

NWGirl [Revising a conference paper into an article MS]*

Sapience [Prepare presentation of full dissertation for department]*

Tigs [Completed diss draft]**

Zabeel [Complete draft of an article]*

28 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 August, 2011 7:25 pm

    Sapience here (PRT on wordpress…) Hm. Pretty sure I did post last week–certainly I *remember* doing so. But. Because of OBE, I’ve had to switch end-of-summer focus to writing my introduction (which will make presentation of the dissertation eventually fairly easy to put together, at least I hope). I need to complete a rough draft by August 15th, so that’s the goal for the rest of this writing group. No more waffling allowed. Serious.

    In any case, I wrote 3000 words by the end of Monday. Trashed 1500 of them on Tuesday. Got back up to 3000 words on Wednesday. Took yesterday off because of suspicions that I’m going about this all wrong. Haven’t started work for today–that’s the plan for this evening.

    Also, still working on job market materials–the cover letter is an impossible genre. Three people tell you to follow the damn formula or else. Three people say that the formula is guaranteed to put everyone to sleep. I’m not sure you can win.

    • 12 August, 2011 1:56 pm

      Hey, if you are still doing this, I would be happy to talk to you — every interview I had, someone mentioned how good my letters were.

      • 15 August, 2011 8:43 pm

        Hi ADM,

        I don’t know if the author was just for Sapience, but I’d love to hear your suggestions for a great cover letter.

      • 15 August, 2011 8:44 pm

        offer, not author

        Argh, it’s definitely Monday.

  2. 5 August, 2011 7:28 pm

    I needed a WordPress account to comment – I was participating as ‘Cly’ on the other blog.

    it sounds as if this week has been dreadful! I hope things calm down.

    As for me, I have met my goal of final copyedits. I was about to send it off, when a (distant and much more advanced) colleague offered to read it. I’m paranoid about submitting non-commissioned things, so I accepted. I guess this means the article is delayed.


    As I finished the article (and did send it somewhere – even if not the Proper Place), I’ve had time to work on the long-elusive book chapter. I looked at what I had so far and re-evaluated (my theme this summer). I realised that what I was doing combined too many things, and now have a (semi-) workable outline.

    My goals for next week are to make progress on said chapter. I think hoping for a workable draft would be a bit ambitious – that is my goal for the week after next.

    I am also hoping to incorporate the rest of the reviewer’s comments for the article I got back a few weeks ago. If I can get those sent off, I will think that some of my disaster-summer has been salvaged.

  3. 5 August, 2011 8:09 pm

    I also had to be logged in to comment. Perhaps you need to revisit your discussion settings and unclick the box that says “Users must be registered and logged in to comment”?

    I had a good week. I cleaned up the article and sent it off to be read by others. I also talked with the editor about my second article and it was accepted with very little for me to do. Yay!

    Next week will be a hodge podge of tasks as I, like Sapience, am struggling to figure out the best way to write cover letters. I’ll research schools and tailor the cover letters to them and review my research and teaching statement putting notes on what has changed. I also plan to work on Article #2 a bit, tightening it up in a few places.

  4. 5 August, 2011 8:58 pm

    I’ll change them, although I like to not have spambots visit…

    • 6 August, 2011 1:53 pm

      FWIW, I allow anonymous comments at mine and find WordPress’s Akismet spam software by and large marvellous in keeping things clean, so I think you’d probably be fine to unlock. Is this a definitive transfer now, should I update blogroll etc.? If so, welcome to the light side!

      • 6 August, 2011 3:47 pm

        yes, it is. I need to re-set the comments, too, because apparently I can edit them if I wish, and I don’t really want that. Will figure out the akismet thing…

  5. 5 August, 2011 10:10 pm

    I’ve written about 700 words a day, on average, in the past week. But nothing today. A combination of oh-shit-it’s-August plus post-vacation-letdown hit me hard last night. A day off is probably a fine thing at this point, anyway.

    I am not going to finish this project as an article this summer. It looks like it is turning into a monograph. This is probably a good thing, overall, but I am disappointed not to have an article to send out! However, it’s a really good thing that I did so much outlining and planning before allowing myself to start writing, because now, even with the added size of the project, I can keep track of where I am with it, and if I’d just let myself start writing, I’d now be thrashing around in thickets of prose trying to find the article I thought I was working on.

    Goal for the next week: just keep writing, same 500 words a day goal. I want to get as much as possible written down before classes start. Whenever I come to a question I can’t answer, or discover that I wrote a chunk “upside-down” (discovering thesis or explanation as I work), I make a note to myself and keep moving forward. Those questions and bits to re-organize will make good, discrete writing tasks to tackle one at a time during the semester.

  6. 6 August, 2011 12:42 am

    AKA Zcat_Abroad – I had forgotten I had this account!

    Very sorry to hear about the extreme effects of extreme weather! I hope it calms down soon.

    I had a bit of a revelation this week. I had been thinking about a couple of recent requests to see my thesis, and wondering if they’d been able to – as far as I can work out, my uni, while putting up an electronic version of it, has made it damn near impossible for anyone outside of this uni to see it. I had put a hold on it for a year, so was wondering why I hadn’t heard from the library about letting certain people read it. This lead to thinking about why there was this hold, the fact that I had intended to milk the thesis for a couple of articles, and thus to the revelation that one of the articles I was currently trying to write was really just a jazzed up version of a section of that chapter. So I went back to the thesis, cut out the chapter, cut it in to pieces, and now have 7,000 words which still need a lot of work, but are basically what I was aiming at in the beginning.

    There’s even an argument of sorts, I’m just not sure how new or interesting it is, so will be spending some time with data-bases over the next week.

    Aims for this next week, then are as follows: Fix the intro, so that this can stand alone, update the referencing to include the new edition of one of the texts, foreground the argument, check for comprehensibility, and send it off to my ex-supervisor, if she has time.

  7. 6 August, 2011 2:10 am

    Okay, it’s been a pretty good week, but I didn’t quite reach my goal. I’m still working on the chapter, and by tomorrow or the next day I think I can get this round of revisions done. Then it’s off to the committee.

    After that, since it’ll be a bit less than two weeks left, I think it’s basically time to go back over everything and patch up the little holes my past self left for me. (And respond to feedback, if I get it in time). I’m not sure how those odds and ends will divide up between the next two weeks, so I’ll just make one goal for the rest of the time: finish!

  8. 6 August, 2011 5:49 am

    I’m back, but the illness and travel have consequences (also teaching the first morning back) and all I’ve done is contemplated my piece (I have done that, though – my mind is contemplating the issues madly- and there *are* issues). This means I have a double load for next week, since it must be finished by then. Serves me right for travelling!

    For the record, I was en route for half of Sunday (Montpelllier to London) then left my friends’ place in London at 9 am and got home c 11 pm the next night (add 10 hours time difference ie Tuesday was a 34 hour day) and then I taught at 10 am on Wednesday. This is why I didn’t get even the modest amount of work I’d planned done by today!

    I have a book to proofread for next Friday as well, and I’m co-ordinating the work of 2 other proofreaders. Plus I have 3 book reviews to do (books not yet read) and my normal dissertation stuff. I suspect that next week’s report back will show me as tired…

  9. Matilda permalink
    6 August, 2011 7:54 am

    Hello, all,

    This has not been a productive week as I expected. I have been hanging aroud struggling to finish my task 2, but the part I have been putting off, the difficult part to write, has not been yet touched. Task 3 has been left untouched as well. What I have done this week is week 10 section of WYJA. Thinking that there are only two weeks left and what I have done so far makes me feel defeated, really. Then, perhaps, need I think what I have achieved within these 10 weeks?

    For next week: even if I cannot complete my task 1, I continue to work with WYJA; submitting task 2 (the same goal as last week); working on task 3, at least making a workable plan and start writing (the same goal as last week).

  10. 6 August, 2011 1:34 pm

    Matilda (and anyone else to whom this feels relevant): by all means, let’s concentrate on forward progress and what we have achieved. And remember last week’s advice from Notorious: don’t panic! Also remember the discussion of how to get stuff done during the semester. We can build on foundations laid this summer and keep writing, and it will all be fine. (Someone please repeat this back to me next week.)

    • Matilda permalink
      6 August, 2011 7:35 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Dame Eleanor Hull! Yes, I must see the bright side and think about what I have been learning!

  11. 6 August, 2011 2:31 pm

    Sorry Sapience — that’s my fault for missing you in my too-quick run-down of the list.

    • 7 August, 2011 1:43 am

      No problem! These things happen. =D Also–I figured out how to convince WordPress to identify me as Sapience! Astonishing what these things can do these days…

  12. 6 August, 2011 7:53 pm

    Sorry for the late check-in–yesterday was the Mr.’s birthday, so I was involved with cake-baking and celebrating in the evening.

    I met my revision goal at noon yesterday, hooray, so I’m feeling positive about being able to get this draft off to my advisor by August 19th as planned. My goal for next week is to integrate (and let’s be honest, skim a lot of) secondary material. In my revisions this past week I added lots of footnotes and comments where all that material needs to go, so I’m hoping it should go pretty smoothly. It is a lot of work though, and I’m slightly nervous about plowing through it all.

  13. thefrogprincess permalink
    7 August, 2011 4:30 am

    So I got a fair amount done: I now have a rewritten and reorganized body to Chapter 3–everything but the introduction and conclusion. What I still have left to do in order to call it a revised draft is expand the frame somewhat and situate the analysis within a wider historical narrative. I find that either this process happens quite quickly, or it takes ages.

    I did not get to the introduction, which is one of my tasks for this week. I actually need to revise my end goal somewhat: the advisor wants a whole new section for the introduction, and I have to admit that I’m not going to be able to write the new section, and wrangle the other parts into shape by August 19, and finish Chapter 3.

    So, goals for next week: ideally finish this second draft of chapter 3; and begin working on the introduction.

  14. 7 August, 2011 5:56 am

    It’s been so long since I’ve written a word of my manuscript that I have to stretch my muscles before hitting the serious workout. I discussed the MS with my former advisors this week, during a short sojourn to the land of my alma mater, and the impression I took away is that I was thinking too mercenarily (is this a word?) about the whole thing. It needs to be longer, denser, and, for lack of a better phrase, more academic than I had begun to plan for. I’m not entirely sure how to accomplish the lengthening, since I tend to write concisely, and a lot of my best anecdotes are sort of rambling shaggy-dog stories of ambiguous encounters. One of my advisors, though, said I just have to make the data do what I want it to do; we of the humanistic social sciences must resort to such things sometimes.

    I’m not sure what this implies about my goals for next week. Maybe I should confine myself to toning up the book prospectus, which has been languishing for many months now. Oh yeah, that was the other big bit of advice: finish the prospectus and send that out to a publisher immediately, and then get back to the MS itself. Groan.

  15. Zabeel permalink
    7 August, 2011 11:17 am

    It was a “cleaning up” week for me — I’m happy with the first two sections and I (think I) know what I’m going to write for the third, so by Friday next week I want to have a draft of the third section done.

  16. nwgirl permalink
    7 August, 2011 2:04 pm

    I missed checking in last week and I’m checking in late this week. OBE mixed with a fair amount of the “oh-shit-it’s-August” syndrome Dame Eleanor mentioned. But I did finish not only the introduction, but the presentation as well (good thing since I had to give the presentation last week 😀 ). Received lots of great feedback about the presentation and have some ideas about future development of this topic.

    I have not looked at or worked on my article for the past two weeks because of the presentation and the “oh-shit-it’s-August” syndrome (I really like that phrase, Dame Eleanor!). But I plan to spend two hours this afternoon reacquainting myself with the article, deciding how much revision remains, and then working out a schedule to finish up. (Like Dr. Koshary I need to warm up my mental muscles before diving back into this ms.) I had hoped to submit this to the journal by the end of August. I think now September might be more realistic. And I’m really okay with that. I think the extra three or four weeks will help.

    So goal for this week:
    * Reread my draft and devise a plan to finish remaining revisions. Spend an hour each morning (Mon-Thurs) on those revisions.

    That’s the best I can hope for this week because of meetings and August-getting-ready-for-the-semester stuff.

    Have a great week, everyone.

  17. 7 August, 2011 9:57 pm

    Aw, gee, thanks, nwgirl! You’re welcome to use the phrase as much as you like. FWIW, last year I was very productive in September. Plans are good. Limited time in which you really focus is also good. *I* really like Dr Koshary’s exercise metaphor, and I think I’m going to steal/develop that one. Jonathan Mayhew ( is big on metaphors for writing. Many of his are too aggressive for me, but exercise programs and all the accompanying stretching and slow working up to longer/harder sessions, etc., that I know about, and I have sometimes tried thinking about writing that way before. Maybe now that I’m in fairly good shape from regular writing this summer, I can make that metaphor work for me as I start the transition to the semester.

  18. Godiva permalink
    8 August, 2011 10:13 am

    Sorry for the late check-in again – I’ve been away. And didn’t really get much of anything done on holiday. Though the previous week I just about managed the 500 words a day. Definitely overcome by ‘oh-shit-it’s-August’ syndrome as well! Oh well, the aim for this week is a full paragraph-by-paragraph outline of chapter to flesh out, and 3000 *new* words. Time not to panic, but to get on with it methinks…

  19. Erika permalink
    9 August, 2011 7:39 pm

    I’m sorry that this check-in is super late! I’m at my parent’s house and their internet sometimes simply does not exist. Friday was one of those days. So, I finished my article draft 10 days ago, and sent it out to three (non-blind) reviewers. As of Monday, I have now gotten lots of positive feedback, and some very welcome praise, alongside a good helping of useful critical fixes for the piece. I’ve made the changes the first reviewer suggested, and am dealing with the second and third set of comments.

    It is OMG it’s AUGUST here too. Meetings for the semester begin NEXT week and I have a panel and abstract to write up in the first week of classes so my goals for this week are: to work 30-60 minutes per day on my abstract, 60 minutes on making changes to my article, spend 30-60 minutes learning how to be an academic advisor, and 30-60 minutes on preparing lectures for the first three meetings of my lecture course. And to take my vacation in half-days!

  20. 9 August, 2011 11:28 pm

    From Scatterwriter:

    Checking in late again — had a totally unproductive week as far as the article manuscript goes. I was invited to help form a panel for a conference and spent all last week working on that instead.

    I still have the goal of submitting this manuscript by August 13 (this coming Friday). Yesterday I did manage to make some very feeble cuts (about 50 words, which doesn’t really count), and I guess I’ve decided that if the editor wants me to cut more I can work on it again later; right now I seem to be using the idea that I should cut the manuscript as a reason not to submit, and the thing is, I can fiddle with prose forever and not be satisfied. Still to do: update my image file, write my cover letter, and print out one last version of the manuscript.

  21. 11 August, 2011 12:29 pm

    Sorry I missed the last couple of weeks. I was in Kyrgyzstan for a month and it is not possible to read blogger based blogs or comment on them there. It is possible to update your own blog, but you can not view the published posts. This blocking which existed before 7 April 2010 had ceased for a while, but has evidently been reimposed since I left in December. I did get some work done on the book ms. I am up to 68,000 words. I am now back in Ghana where there are no restrictions on the internet.

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