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Another Damned Writing Group Meets again!

19 November, 2011

And here we are. The lovely and kind Dr. Notorious has kindly put together the update list, and it’s only down to me to post. Lots of people have finished their projects — GO YOU!! I have barely done anything, and honestly, it leaves me feeling a bit numb. At most times, I’d think it was self-sabotage, but the extra things that ended up on my plate this year were not planned, nor were they really things I could turn down. Adding the extra illness-y things didn’t help, and it was interesting to see how easily seemingly small things can snowball. Shit really does sometimes happen. And sometimes, we just don’t know how to deal with it very well. Or we do. I’ve been fairly successful in not letting it dump me into massive self-recrimination, but maybe that’s just the meds. Or the therapy. Maybe I’m just starting to get that we can’t do everything, all the time. I have to say that you all have been wonderful, and the checking in every week, even though it was with pretty shitty progress reports, at least kept my mind focused more on the things I need to get done, and made me think of ways to try to make up for lost time, alternate routes to publication, etc. And some of you kindly made me feel like I wasn’t imagining that I’ve had a lot to do, even though I know some of you regularly do a lot more.

One of the reasons I decided to write about this was that I know so many people who have been overwhelmed this semester. Students and faculty both seem particularly wiped (although the freshmen not so much). In a couple fo my classes, I can see why: I’m teaching some new things, and the work has got hard. It’s part of what’s been hard for me, too. Teaching students how to do research and write is hard. I had a real plan for my course, and you know? I think the components were all fine, but I had them in the wrong order. I’ve been trying to get them to see themselves as writers, scholars, historians in training… Sometimes, it’s worked, other times, not so much. I’ve not always realized what things people do and don’t already know. And despite my trying to give them the best of my experience, and show them the things no one every showed me or taught me about writing and the writing process, it’s the end of the semester, and I can see that every bit of advice, every tool I’ve tried to give them, has pretty much skittered off under the sofa and is hiding with the dust bunnies and battered cat toys. At the same time, though, I’ve talked to a few who seem to still have it together. They’ve mentioned that they have taken my advice, that they are writing in bits, fitting their research in in smaller chunks, sitting and free-writing their ideas and reactions to what they’ve read… and it seems to be working for them! These are great students anyway, but knowing that the things I’ve picked up myself and from you all and have suggested to them are helping them is kind of cool! And today, even though I was a bit worried about what I’d hear, several students talked about their projects in much greater detail and with a lot more animation than I expected. Not that I thought they couldn’t, but what they’d written in their own progress reports worried me a little, because it was vague.

Not only that, but the other students — at least some of them — asked questions. And they asked questions like, “I don’t know a lot about your particular topic, but it seems you might want to also check into this related topic — or will that take you too far into the wrong territory?” and “That’s really neat — what have you found about the racial dynamics at the time: how do they play into it?” And the students who talked about their projects had generally good answers. Sometimes they wrote down references, and sometimes they explained that they had and had discovered something, or that they hadn’t, thought it was interesting, but didn’t think that line of inquiry would help the paper. I know that for many of you, this is old hat. But this is a class that for various reasons contains students who are only at the beginning of their second year AND students who are supposed to be finishing next semester. They have mostly worked with me before (but not all of them). They mostly know each other, some very well, some slightly. And for a few minutes, it was like being with a bunch of colleagues. I didn’t need to talk, because they were running the class. One of them interrupted me to explain to another about what a good presentation looked like, paraphrasing me a bit to get my point across better than I was doing, and then giving examples from a student thesis presentation two years ago. Two years ago. For people who had been teasing me because I said that my friends and I had spent a lot of time at uni hanging out, drinking beer, and talking about classes and what we were studying, they seemed awfully collegial and looked a lot like people who thought that might be fun after all.

Nerds.

Oh — my goal for this week was to fit in 2 hours. I managed more than one, I think. How? I assigned an article I needed to read. But this weekend, I have a couple of ILL books to look at, and I plan to at least skim through two of them.

Roll call, with week 11 goals

  • Adelaide [write a conference paper DONE!!!]
  • Amcalm25/AMChristensen [finish an article]: commit to writing at least 30 minutes a day
  • Amstr [revise and resubmit an article DONE!!!]
  • Another Damned Medievalist [write/revise a close-to-final draft of an article]: set aside at least 2 hours to just work on the writing project
  • Belledamesansmerci/Elizabeth [rough draft of a journal article]: revise to final draft the first three sections
  • Bitterandjaded/Bittergrrl [finishing a dissertation chapter]: Finish proofing the chapter. Give draft to adviser. Compile list of areas to fix/rework
  • Britomart [completing a draft of dissertation introduction]: Finish writing the background section on early modern emblem theory
  • Cly(temnestra) [write a book chapter]: go through the piles of notes and loose paragraphs which are the next two chapters, and see what should be done with them as next writing project
  • Contingent Cassandra [finish 2500-word section 2 of article draft]: lengthen Section 2 by at least 500 words
  • Dame Eleanor Hull [complete a chapter of the article-turned-book]: make the edits and do the re-org that can be done now
  • Dr. Virago [draft a 7500-word essay for a contracted publication]: another 500 words, at least, and set aside time for a separate project
  • Erika [write a complete & final draft of an article already underway]: just keep writing for 3 hours or 500 words/ day, and beginning to fill in the holes in the argument
  • Forthright [write two article-length pieces]: tidying up both articles to whatever extent possible, plus read a few straggling articles to incorporate.
  • Frogprincess [Final draft of the dissertation DONE!!]: Send off the final, final submission, all bound up and pretty
  • Good Enough Woman [write the first half of a dissertation chapter]: 1) read 30 pages of primary text, 2) make copies of some ILL book pages, 3) freewrite at least two pages in notebook, 4) try to find an angle for the chapter
  • Gillian [4 chapters of dissertation DONE!!!]: to sort out what needs to be done with those comments and to take action on all the easy elements
  • Heu Mihi [write paper for a faculty colloquium DONE!!]
  • Highlyeccentric/nakedphilologist [Draft one thesis chapter]: finish the entire bastarding chapter
  • Janice/jliedl [write a first draft of a chapter]: Polish the draft
  • Lucie: [Complete a full draft of the PhD thesis]: Pull chapter x together so there is a completed draft; at least one hour’s uninterrupted morning writing everyday
  • Luolin [finish and submit an article]: (checked in; need goal)
  • Katrin/StitchInTime [Turn MA thesis into book form]: Restructure and figure out what of the bits of the project to restrict to, and what still needs to be rewritten, check, and expand
  •  Marie [finish turning paper into journal article]: (checked in, but from an excused absence)
  • Matilda [first draft of a journal article]: 2000 words or more; re-reading sources; revising arugument
  • Monks and Bones [turn a seminar paper into an article]: 1) Reread paper; 2) As start by writing footnotes to conference version of paper; 3) Read massive doctoral dissertation in research language that seems like it might be making similar argumentsabout a neighbouring area.
  • Notorious Ph.D. [write a conference paper]: get two new books skimmed and incorporate them in areas where the paper seems weak
  • NWGirl [Revise one dissertation chapter into a book chapter]: finish complete draft of one section of the chapter I started working on ten weeks ago
  • Salimata [write a conference paper DONE!!!]
  • Scatterwriter [revise three chapters of book]: Check the last few sources and add the last few footnotes
  • Scholasticamama [draft of an article]: Methodology section, and 500 words in Argument Section one
  • Sophylou: [finish revisions on an article and prepare it for submission]: more brainstorming writing, and significant reading progress in a theoretical book on subject
  • Stemi [First (very rough) draft of review article]: 1) find references for new paragraph, 2) 300 new words in outline/draft document
  • Susan [write a 7000 word commissioned essay]: manage a few more of the footnotes
  • Trapped in Canadia [draft two chapters of the dissertation]: write 500 words
  • Undine/Not of General Interest [Finish nearly done chapter and complete another]: (1) retrench, regroup, and edit the first part to see the big picture; (2) 1500 words; (3) get well into the next section
  • Viola [writing an introduction and a chapter for thesis]: Transcribing?
  • Zcat abroad/Kiwimedievalist [write an article]: get re-engaged with project 2 and work on secondary sources.

Week 10 Absences:

  • Dr. Crazy [Finish a chapter draft begun this summer]
  • Sisyphus [polish the rough draft of my article and send it out]
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54 Comments leave one →
  1. 19 November, 2011 4:04 am

    Achieved: made some edits & did some re-organization.

    Comments: I have no idea whether it works or not. There is no conclusion. I need to do more research on what one particular aspect of life looked like in religious communities (as opposed to the secular world) in the fifteenth century. I will need to add more references to other scholars. Both these things will have to wait for some future period when I get to think of the book as a whole object and not a collection of parts. (Is that the right thing to do? Should I try to fill everything in ASAP while it’s more fresh in my mind, or wait for the perspective that comes with time?) But now I have 14 pages, some of which are quite good, and the main lines of the argument are present.

    Goal for next week: 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.)

    • 19 November, 2011 2:04 pm

      I think you do what feels right for now — but make sure whatever you do that you write down what you NEED to do!

      • 19 November, 2011 7:41 pm

        I was also having this debate with myself. I think for now it feels right to leave it as is (in my case). However, I think ADM is very wise to point out that it is necessary to make notes on what needs to be done.

  2. 19 November, 2011 5:58 am

    Achieved partly. Yes on the word count (2361), although this needs cutting; no on the “next section. Next week: finish the chapter (bold, but worth a shot).

  3. 19 November, 2011 6:30 am

    A timely post, ADM. For I managed to get all but the conclusion of one of my books finished, then got hit with so much grading, and meetings, and conferences. But I’m sticking to my goal. Look for my real check-in towards the end of the weekend. I still think I can get it done.

  4. 19 November, 2011 7:07 am

    One thing I’ve re-learned during these last weeks is that when things go awry having a report-in pushes me that bit extra and helps me get that bit more done. Obviously having even the hint of an eye peering into my study makes a very big difference.

    I have had my feedback on the chapters and it’s overall good. I have a lot of work to do, still, and this time my deadline is an eight week one. I’ve cleared about half the small things and have the other half to finish by next week, and then all I have (hah!) is reconfiguring. My research was fine, so it’s rethinking and rewriting rather than redoing entirely from scratch, and the chapters I kept complaining about here as impossible were the ones that held up best, so obviously you’re all very good influences.

    Do we still have one week left? If we do (I hope we do!) I shall polish off those small changes and make a start on the big rethink. I shall also work out a strategy to get me through until my next annual assessment. This may include talking about my novel with other Medievalists, so if you know something about early 14th century Languedoc and need some light reading for the silly season…

    Thank you, everyone, for being the eyes peering over my shoulders! (And if there’s another writing group after this, I would very much like to join it, please, even if my goals are one at 7 or 8 weeks and something quite different at 12 ).

  5. Matilda permalink
    19 November, 2011 3:33 pm

    Hello,

    This week I have not done any writing because I have found some new materials and tried to read them. While searching Gallica and downloading them, reading them, I was also wondering whether I really needed to expand my paper’s sphere. I thought that I knew one cannot read all materials, but how does one know which is necessary and which is not? Or, how can I construct an good argument within what I have researched? Or, is this a kind of procrastination? Or am I only too stupid to research and to write up a paper? I have written several papers, but I feel I have never been confident in any of them. I have only one week left, so I am getting in a panic. Well, well…

    Goal for next week: writing 800+ words ( this time I feel less ambitious than last week); spending at least 15-30 minutes for writing every day .

    • 19 November, 2011 3:52 pm

      It depends on the paper — how much space do you have? you can always write up a chunk on the new thing, and add it later if necessary

      • Matilda permalink
        19 November, 2011 4:20 pm

        Thank you for your comment, ADM. Yes, organising what I found into some manegeable chunks may help. I will try.

  6. Adelaide permalink
    19 November, 2011 3:40 pm

    checking in here just to say that my presentation went well, and found out that there is a publisher interested in publishing our proceedings so now I do have to polish it into a printable paper instead of just enough of one to present (but I wanted to present first so I could incorporate anything I realized in presenting, questions asked, etc into the polished version so I’m still happy with this, even if it means more work now)

    • 19 November, 2011 3:53 pm

      congrats!

    • Amstr permalink
      19 November, 2011 10:39 pm

      Good news! Congratulations! I really like presenting for the reasons you mentioned. It’s like a great practice test with feedback.

  7. Britomart permalink
    19 November, 2011 3:51 pm

    Achieved: polished up what I’ve got so far and sent it to my RL writing group for discussion. They seemed to think that things are really coming together, so our meeting was heartening.

    Next week: 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.

    My own class and the class I TA for are canceled next Tuesday, so I have the whole week off. Granted, there are almost 80 papers to grade by the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, but I’m not traveling and don’t foresee any new obligations arising next week, so there should be time to work on my project.

    Have a great week, everyone, and congratulations to those of you who are done!

    • Amstr permalink
      19 November, 2011 10:41 pm

      I like your tactic of switching between types of goals. Congrats on the week off! I hope the grading goes by quickly and painlessly. May it be obvious that your students have done more work writing than you have to do to grade that writing.

  8. 19 November, 2011 4:28 pm

    I decided I needed to work on that other project more this week and get it out of the way. And I did that. So, on the one hand, I finished something! Hooray! On the other hand, I didn’t work on the essay draft at all. Since I have nearly 2500 words and a lot more content to reach the “finished rough draft” stage of that essay, I’m not going to make it next week. But that’s OK, because I still have a lot of it done and a lot more conceptualized, and that’s something.

    Next week I’ll probably write on Monday, but definitely not on Wednesday (big things are afoot here — will blog later) and maybe not on Friday. So I’ll try to squeeze out another 300 words. If I get more time and more words, that’s just a bonus!

    • Amstr permalink
      19 November, 2011 10:42 pm

      Hooray for progress and Small Achievable Goals!

  9. 19 November, 2011 5:15 pm

    This week somehow got away from me, with a bunch of other things plus winter sleepiness taking over. I felt brain-dead for about two days, was away one full day, and took care of paperwork and other organisatorial stuff during the rest of the week.
    But at least I have gotten the go-ahead for narrowing down the topic and going ahead with that!
    So next week shall hopefully see me to a new structure of the draft, and a new evaluation of how much work is left to do.

  10. 19 November, 2011 7:39 pm

    Congrats to so many people for meeting their goals! I (at least) owe many, many thanks to Drs ADM and Notorious. This group has done wonders for my writing process.

    I was successful this week. One of the two piles of notes is not organised into a surprisingly comprehensive outline of a chapter. It also promises to be more interesting than the stuff I just finished working with.

    The other needs more work, but is still in better shape than I had thought. I also managed another (rough) edit on my draft chapter, and decided to declare it ‘finished.’ Like Dame Eleanor Hull, I’m a bit uneasy with when to stop writing draft chapters. Obviously it is far from perfect, and obviously it needs more work, but whatever I do to it now is going to change as the rest of the book is written. However, I took ADM’s advice, and have started making comprehensive notes about what definitely needs doing.

    This week I had a panicky email asking me to update something I wrote a very long time ago, and a request to do it ASAP, so that will be my focus for this week (since I have exactly a week to do it). My goals are to complete that, and to finish detailed notes on bits of my chapter that need to be moved, referenced, translated, or whatever.

  11. Dr. Crazy permalink
    19 November, 2011 8:39 pm

    I’m here, but once again here to report that I got no writing done this week. And I kind of feel like the same will be true next week. So my goal for the coming week is to 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. Sigh.

  12. 20 November, 2011 12:41 am

    Just checking in, as expected, from my conference, to say that I haven’t done much this week, as expected, except read an article or two. Next week my goal is to have article #1 completely finished.

  13. J Liedl permalink
    20 November, 2011 1:47 am

    Checking in to say there is no progress this week so polishing the final draft remains my goal.

    I wasn’t as under the gun this week so I theoretically should have had no problem. However, the previous week had seen a perfect storm of multiple obligations from a research presentation to several extra meetings shoe-horned into the schedule. I think that burnt me out and I just couldn’t find the ‘oomph’ this week to dive back in. Let this be a lesson to me: when I burn the candles at both the end, it takes a long time to get new candles in place!

    • Amstr permalink
      20 November, 2011 3:01 am

      So true. It’s good to let yourself off the hook to get some respite after a crazy week, if you can.

  14. Contingent Cassandra permalink
    20 November, 2011 1:55 am

    I’m afraid this week has been another complete bust, for many of the reasons listed in the opening prompt (though at least I haven’t had to deal with any major health issues this semester). And the class related to the article, which I spent considerable time planning and promoting, doesn’t look like it’s going to get enough students to “make” this coming semester (I’m hoping to get permission to try again with a different schedule next year). And the first goal for this coming week has to be getting a lot of graded assignments, large and small, back to my students, which will probably take most of my time. However, thanks to having Wednesday off (and to not hosting Thanksgiving myself, just driving to a family gathering with a dish or two), I will have a few working days when the deadlines don’t loom quite so large, so —

    The goal for Week 12 is to add at least 500 words to the Section 2 draft, by writing on 2-3 mornings.

    That will not get me to my final goal, either original or revised. But it might get me back on track *before* the end of the semester (and really, once this grading is done, it gets easier, since I stop having to comment on most things; the end-of-semester stuff just needs grades, with comments only for those who want them badly enough to make a conference appointment).

    Despite not reaching my original goal, I must say the group has helped me stay in touch with the project, and so I add my thanks to others’. It’s clear that running the group is a good deal of work for 2 people who are already up to their eyeballs, and I very much appreciate your generosity in doing it, ADM and Notorious. I also (at the risk of creating one more piece of work) like the idea that Notorious suggested in last weeks comments (I think): a check-in in a month or six weeks — maybe early January — to see whether, especially for those of us who didn’t get as far as we would have liked, the momentum/engagement fostered by the writing group carried over into any winter break time we have available for writing. That would be interesting, I think, and would also create one final deadline/check-in for those of us still plugging away (and hoping to maintain that mode).

  15. 20 November, 2011 3:49 am

    Accomplishments this week: marking two courses-worth of final exams. No writing noticable, but my home office-space is finally cleared out and usable – ready for the last week of this writing group!

    I’m sitting down at the computer now, with the aim of producing a 1,000 word proposal for a post-doc application, but I thought I’d check up on the world of the internet first. Probably a mistake…

    Goal this next week – same as the last 2: Get moving on this second article – reading, writing, anything!

  16. monksandbones permalink
    20 November, 2011 2:43 pm

    I had a failtastic week as far as this project goes. I was pretty productive in other directions (lots of work in the archives!), but I lost time to being sick and to being generally tired and stressed. I reread my conference paper and am still pretty pleased with it as a core for my article, and I’m in the process of reading the giant dissertation, but that’s it. Obviously, the article part of the project is going to extend beyond the end of the writing group, so for this week, my goals are:

    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.

    I’m glad to hear that your students are into what they’re doing. I’m not teaching this year, but when I am, I love it when I can help students discover their inner history nerds.

  17. 20 November, 2011 4:46 pm

    When I have had that kind of class, where it takes off into the direction I wanted without any intervention on my part, the rush from that has helped me through some of the tooth-pulling classes.

    I had a few really wonderful writing sprints this week, when things finally all clicked and I wrote without doubt or hesitation. I did finish the first two sections, and made a good start on the third. I had to take some time to finish two job applications, but I hope those will be worthwhile; if not for getting the job, for getting used to the process again.

    My goal for next week is to finish the last three sections, so that it can go to my friend/brutal editor over Thanksgiving break.

    Oh, @Britomart, I’m on Ravelry (not very present lately, I fear)

  18. Scatterwriter permalink
    20 November, 2011 6:38 pm

    Goal for this past week: make another pass through Chapter 2; start adding in the citations that I forgot about; they need to go in the Intro and Chapter 1. Overall goal was revising three chapters of my book manuscript.

    I did the first part — making another pass through Chapter 2 — and managed to cut some bloated passages and rewrite some particularly tortured text. So the ms. as a whole is now down by another 500 words.

    I sort of started on the second bit — I went to the Library to check out one of the books I need to consult, and I have just fixed one citation.

    This week I perceive as a short week, because I have family coming to stay and I am hosting Thanksgiving. Monday I will be teaching and I will have a series of meetings to attend (hopefully there will be some good knitting happening!); Tuesday I will need to prepare for the following week of teaching and I will have one meeting to go to, but I hope to have a couple of hours to devote to this project. So [goal for this coming week] I hope to 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. I hope to also do this intermittently throughout the week, whenever I can get a break from frantic cleaning, cooking, and entertaining.

    Thank you, both ADM and Notorious, for doing all the work of hosting, and to everyone else for being generally supportive and for demonstrating a commitment to your own research. This group is the only thing that made me do another pass through my chapter late last night when I really felt like knitting instead, and in fact it is the only reason that I have been able to get some scholarship done this semester. Not only do I have these three chapters of my book manuscript mostly revised — and therefore that much closer to being sent out for consideration again — but my own sense of being an academic imposter is diminishing. The more I don’t work on my own stuff the worse I feel, generally, and then I get less done — it’s a vicious circle and I know it’s common. But because of this group I have been working on my own stuff, and I feel better and then I work on it more. The opposite of a vicious circle. The productive circle? The enthusiastic circle? The academic confidence circle? I don’t know. I am hoping this spurt of productivity will carry though the winter break and that I’ll get the last two chapters of my book ms. revised in that period (well, one of them, anyway!).

    • 21 November, 2011 1:29 am

      I totally agree with you assessment of the value of the group and and experiencing the same effects you describe. I really did not imagine that the group would make such a difference, but it has, and I am thankful. On another note, Scatterwriter, what are the reactions to your knitting? I’ve never seen anyone do anything like that at my campus, and oh how I would love to knit through meetings. I worry that people would think (read: realize) that I’m not paying attention.

      • 21 November, 2011 1:30 am

        Sorry for the typos. I am consistently defeated by my iPad touch screen and autocorrect.

      • Scatterwriter permalink
        21 November, 2011 2:36 am

        Knitting! Well, I didn’t try knitting through a meeting until I realized other people were doing it — we have a number of faculty members who are dedicated knitters, and also a couple of campus leaders who are knitters. Especially at the big faculty-wide meetings, people are doing all kinds of things: checking e-mail, marking papers, and so on, so knitting doesn’t feel all that subversive, especially because I am still listening to the meeting. (If I were grading I doubt that would be the case.) At a smaller meeting, if I pull out my knitting, I make sure that I also contribute every so often so that people are aware that I’m paying attention. I don’t knit at presentations where it is important to be looking at the speaker or at a screen, though, because I am not advanced enough at knitting to not look at what I’m working on. It makes meetings feel like “me” time, and I don’t get enough of that!

  19. Lucie permalink
    20 November, 2011 6:57 pm

    (Next week’s goal: Finish chapter y; don’t work on other things until this work is done.)

    Haven’t quite got chapter x all together, sadly. I’m going to do some more work on it today and then leave it and move on to trying to get chapter y into a final-ish shape for the next week. It doesn’t look like I’m going to quite meet my overall goal, but we’ll see what happens in the next week.

    I have no Thanksgiving to celebrate so I have no excuses for distractions! For those of you who will be celebrating, I hope it’s very pleasant. Good luck to all for the final week.

  20. 20 November, 2011 8:01 pm

    I didn’t complete my stated goals. This week was so slammed with meeting and grading that I couldn’t carve out much time. But I did spend an evening on the databases looking for relevant articles since my secondary research felt very slim. While doing so, I stumbled upon a special issue of a journal that focused on philosophy/theory that underpins what I’m doing. Those articles are now printed and ready for reading!

    Also, I stopped by the library to see if I could get an extension on an ILL book, and, while there, I met the ILL person for the first time. I’m at a CC, so I’ve worried about asking for too many ILL things. I didn’t know the librarian in charge of ILL stuff because she doesn’t come out into the open. She is hidden away behind th walls. I had been planning on contacting her to find out if it’s okay if I start sending her more requests. Well, now I’ve met her! It turns out that she is very experienced and is well connected with other librarians and is eager to support my project and help me out. I’m so pleased to have met her. Now, I just need to find out her preferred treats (chocolate, cookies, wine, etc,).

    The big news is that Hubby is “letting me” go stay in a hotel this Tuesday night so that I can read and write. After work on Tuesday, I’m checking in at 4:00, and then I’ll be there until noon on Wednesday. The room has a desk and a view of the water. I’ll miss the family for the night, but I’m hoping to get LOTS done on my chapter. Then I can relax with family for a few days, being thankful.

    So. Week 12 Goals: Read four articles, read 100 pages of primary text, write 10 original pages for the chapter. I’m hoping I might get even more than this done, but I want to do *at least* this–all at the hotel.

    • Amstr permalink
      21 November, 2011 6:45 am

      ILL is saving my life these days. My local public library is supplying all my academic book needs from nearby college libraries.

      Hope the night away goes well. You can do it!

      (And I’m looking forward to seeing that beautiful ocean of yours after Turkey Day.)

  21. 20 November, 2011 9:58 pm

    I was truly hoping to get work done this week on the book, and didn’t. I’m trying to chalk it up to being a new grad student and figuring out the scheduling and not to being a slacker/failure… For next week: I’m passing on the goal of having a zero draft of Nemesis Chapter complete (though it’s almost there!)… instead, I want to spend a good solid 3 hours on it this coming week, and it will end up where it ends up.

  22. Stemi permalink
    20 November, 2011 10:17 pm

    Checking in, just to ensure I don’t go on the absentee list. I did write this week, but on another project. I will add my thanks to the organizers – and others in the group – for their time and supportive comments.

  23. 20 November, 2011 11:50 pm

    I finished about half of what I needed to do this week, but with job applications, grading, and a funeral to attend, I’m happy with where I’m at. So I wasn’t able to finish editing and getting the chapter to my adviser, but this week – and hopefully prior to thanksgiving – I will finish that up. So most of my goals are carrying over to week 12.

    Finish editing and hand it over to my adviser.

    Thanks to everyone for their support – even if it’s just been in the form of being able to read about your struggles and successes. It’s been a stressful semester and, as I’ve said before, just knowing that other people are struggling with the same things makes the pain and frustration a little more bearable.

  24. sophylou permalink
    21 November, 2011 2:50 am

    Started a difficult theoretical book related to my topic (such as it is). Continuing to make contact with supportive people (which is probably the best goal for me at the moment) and just sort of being receptive to ideas as they come up. I have the feeling that there’s a larger project brewing, I’m just not sure what it’s going to look like yet. I am co-authoring another article draft that needs to be finished by the end of the year, and probably need to focus on that, but am keeping that project separate from this group.

    Goal for next week: more brainstorming writing, more progress with difficult book, identifying other relevant secondary sources.

  25. highlyeccentric permalink
    21 November, 2011 3:01 am

    *goes flop*

    I finished the bastarding thing! I mean, it’s still very much a draft, has the classic undergrad-style problem of “intro does not match conclusion”, but it -exists-.

    This week, uh… lemme see… Let’s set myself to at least -start- on revisions of Chapter 1?

    • 21 November, 2011 3:23 am

      That’s awesome!

    • Contingent Cassandra permalink
      21 November, 2011 6:20 am

      Congrats! That mismatch problem usually is, as I’m sure you’re aware, easily fixable, most often by deciding that the conclusion better reflects what you’ve written, and revising the intro. (and any other necessary beginning parts). But if you can’t make the two match that way, there may be an even more interesting/complex argument hidden somewhere in the tensions between the two. Either way, as my grad school roommate and I used to reassure each other, a done draft is a good draft.

  26. Erika permalink
    21 November, 2011 3:44 am

    Oof. This week has been full of work, but I haven’t met my goal this week for the article. I’m irritated with myself because I just can’t seem to sit still long enough to make progress on this at the end of the teaching day, and I haven’t been starting the day with this project. Student term papers came in this week, and I lost most of my quiet writing day conferencing papers.
    Next week: 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.

  27. Susan permalink
    21 November, 2011 5:51 am

    Did I actually think I would accomplish anything this week? I didn’t — traveled to a conference on Thursday, and was pretty busy while there. This week? Well, I’m going to print out what I’ve written so that while I’m away for thanksgiving, I can read through and maybe identify some of the wonky bits.

    The good thing about a conference? Seeing colleagues! Hearing some papers that gave me ideas! Looking at books! Why do people keep writing them? One of the conversations I had with a colleague was of the “you can only do what you can do” variety, and the “you need to be kind to yourself”. We all need people to say those things to us.

    Oh, and on the subject of knitting: if I’m not chairing, I’ll often knit during meetings. It allows me to stay more focused. (I realize this is counter-intuitive to non-knitters, but, so be it. I do what I call meeting knitting — fairly simple things that don’t require lots of attention. I’m enough of a known quantity that it’s not a problem, though I have heard more jokes about Mme. Defarge than I can count.

    • 21 November, 2011 6:27 am

      You meeting knitters are inspiring me, but I’m just not sure I could pull it off. I’ve been at the same school for 13-or-so years, and I think if I pulled out some knitting, the room would go silent and everyone would stare at me with their chins on the table.They might be happy though–in hopes that the knitting would keep me from talking. But I bet I could pull it off at the all-employee and all-faculty meetings in January. I need to find knitting time because, in addition to a dissertation chapter to write, I have a baby blanket to finish! The baby was born last week and I’ way behind. (Sorry to hijack the topic. Back to our regularly scheduled subject matter . . . )

      • Susan permalink
        23 November, 2011 4:43 am

        I sometimes think that responses to knitting are a real test of people. Some people get very nervous! But I know enough accomplished scholar knitters that I just sort of do it. And if the discussion gets too interesting, I slow down the knitting.

  28. Susan permalink
    21 November, 2011 5:52 am

    Oh, and my goal? One more read though and edit of the paper. I’m seeing one of my readers over Thanksgiving, so I’m hoping that will help me.

  29. 21 November, 2011 6:41 am

    So not much to report, other than SENT OFF THE FINAL VERSION TO THE BINDERS!!!!!!!

    In a lot of ways I’m numb about it all…grad school took quite a toll on me, and it’s only in the past year or so that I’ve begun to recover. And finishing the diss during this semester took an enormous amount out of me. I’m still struggling to catch up on everything: my classes, my personal life (ha!), my eating, my friends, everything.

    But it’s done! I made it! I’ve read three of the four readers’ reports, which are all good, including the advisor’s, which involved the kind of wild compliment I didn’t think ze was capable of.

    I probably won’t be checking in this coming week, since there’s nothing on my agenda to do. Defense is the final week of November so I’ll check in that week.

    • Amstr permalink
      21 November, 2011 6:49 am

      Woohoo! Congratulations! I hope in the midst of all the catching up you get to breathe a little before the defense.

    • 21 November, 2011 7:36 am

      You are an inspiration, frogprincess! Congratulations on such a monumental accomplishment.

    • Susan permalink
      23 November, 2011 4:43 am

      What great news! Congratulations!

  30. 23 November, 2011 7:51 pm

    From Luo Lin

    I kept my one of my goals from the previous week, and spent my small amount of time revising, but not obsessing over my outline.

    New week’s goal: revise outline, including incorporating the new sources.

    I am sad that I won’t finish the project within the twelve weeks, given that it is a project that I had planned to finish by the end of the summer.

    The past couple of weeks have seen more than the usual amount of meetings and papers to grade, along with student conferences. Most of my energy (working energy *and* procrastination energy) has been directed at teaching, service, and dealing with strep throat and the other preschool germs. One reason I haven’t pushed myself harder on finding more time (on a normal week) to spend on my writing is that I have slowly over the past year been adding back into my schedule other activities that are important for me: my health, my mood, balance in my life. Last week I missed out on my yoga and missed all three morning runs, so it was frustrating all around. I think I am getting back on track.

    Given that I can barely keep up with checking in, I am amazed at the Notorious Ph.D and Another Damned Medievalist’s generosity in running this group.

    Luo Lin

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