Spring Writes: Week 12



Here we are, at the end of the first Spring Writes! I hope everyone found the experience to be at least somewhat useful. If you haven’t added your goals for our last week yet, do so in the comments! And next week we’ll have one last post for any final thoughts before we take a break. Summer Writes will start up in May, so watch this space for updates!

Weekly Goals:

Nicole: Move on to the next thing this week too (probably methods and intro). Defense is still being scheduled but it could be pretty soon so I need to wrap up/ do intro, conclusion and methods chapters that are outlined.

Meg: This week’s goal is to make big headway on a book chapter that is due May 31st on ethnographic fieldwork and prisoner reentry activism. (I must set aside the other stuff as my advisor won’t be able to weigh in on that until next week at the earliest). So far I have a detailed outline of this chapter. Mini-goals for this week:
Monday (today): finish drafting one section (how I entered into the research setting) and re-read a few key articles that will spur my thinking about the other sections.
Wednesday: read through analyses of my field notes and start mapping out my data sections.
Friday: start piecing together a brief lit review on others’ approaches to fieldwork on reentry, institutional barriers to reentry, etc.

Dan: Tuesday I’m going to come home and do eight poms from 3 to 730, and then do eight poms each Wednesday through Saturday, working 1 to 530.

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Spring Writes: Week 11

Your writing destiny: fulfilled.

Your writing destiny: fulfilled.

We’re in the home stretch, Spring Writers! This is the week to buckle down to meet your writing goals for the twelve weeks, so set your goals accordingly! And if you’re short on time, think about keeping your writing short, as Danny Heitman recommends in this Opinionator post. (jk-writing succinctly takes a lot of work!)

Weekly Goals:

Meg: I have a deadline of April 28th to finish this paper for a bigger conference. So, I’d like to do that this week. Desired work schedule toward this goal: Monday 11-2pm
Weds. 8am to 1pm
Friday 8am to 1pm
Secondary goal: continue piecing together a book chapter I have due at the end of May. Any time I have left over needs to go toward that.

Nicole: This week’s task is to get the religion chapter into shape from its half-written status; also I need to read about evangelical familialism and at least one other book I don’t want to get too lost in that.

Melanie: Write up outlines.

Dan: Write from 6 to 9:15 (six pomodoros) on Tuesday, 1 to 5:15 (eight pomodoros) on Wednesday, and 1 to 5:15 (eight pomodoros) on Thursday. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I’ll be in Paris because I’m running the Paris Marathon on Sunday! Those pomodoros will include work on three job applications, a blog post, work on a book proposal, and revisiting a dissertation chapter to turn it into a journal article.

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Spring Writes: Week 10

We (set writing goals) flawless(ly).

We (set writing goals) flawless(ly).

Sorry for the tardiness in posting! I entered my thirties on Monday with an awesome head cold, so I’ve been a little out of sorts and playing catch up all week. Next week we’ll be back to our regular schedule, I promise.

In the meantime, check out this time management post from Natalie Houston at ProfHacker. I’ve been interested in the GTD method for a while now, but (ironically) can’t seem to find the time to learn more about it. I’ve been using the pomodoro method for some time now, along with very long and detailed to-do lists, but we all want to be more productive, right? So, any GTD aficionados out there? Whether or not you are, tell us about your approach to time management in the comments!

And now, your weekly goals:

Nicole: My goal for this week is to actually make empirical Ch. 3 of my diss. coherent. I had to redo some of the analysis. I am still trying to make it clear and logically follow the last one better. Also, getting from concepts to measures has to be clearer. Separate goal: do the writing for my joint paper, writing up what we laid out in our meeting.

Meg: My main aim for this week is to firm up some analysis I’ve been working on for what will eventually be a diss. chapter. I’m presenting this analysis at a grad. student conference on Friday. To do this, I want to commit to myself to work on my stuff tomorrow (Monday) from 11am to 3pm, Wednesday from noon to 4pm, and Friday morning before the conference.

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Spring Writes: Week 9

Let's celebrate your writing successes at Coney Island.

Let’s celebrate your writing successes at Coney Island.

Week 9 is upon us, which means we’re barreling into the homestretch like so many roller coaster cars! Without further ado, here are your writing goals for the week:

Weekly goals:

Nicole: For the week of Sun 3/16- Sat 3/22: I want to finish or get as far as possible toward finishing chapter 3 on gender. It is partly written and the tables are done but everything needs to be tweaked, reordered, etc. Definitely I don’t need as many examples as I have, and the ones I do have I need to sink deeper into with more detail.

Dan: For this week, two applications to be submitted online and one by snail mail, which I’m trying to get out by Friday to avoid astronomical Interfolio prices. Monday I’m going to squeeze in six poms in the evening, from 5 to 830. I’ll even put it in my iCal as an inducement to stick to that schedule, and I’ll do the same thing Tuesday. All this is so that I don’t leave too much work for myself on the plane, because I find that to be really difficult. I have some things that I want to read for later in the week, so I’ll download those to my iPad for the plane, but I want to avoid writing in the air, if at all possible. Alternately, I may also edit some oral history transcripts on the plane. For Thursday I’ll set a modest goal of four poms throughout the day, because my schedule will be a little hectic, and Friday I don’t plan to do any work, aside from maybe some casual reading. Saturday I plan to do some quality brunching, work (maybe oral history editing) on the train to Philly, and then many poms of eating Santucci’s with some of y’all for my 30th birthday!

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Spring Writes: Week 8

Our Lady of Weekly Writing Goals

Our Lady of Weekly Writing Goals

Welcome to Week 8! In honor of this week, here are Kurt Vonnegut’s “8 Rules of Fiction Writing,” taken from Bagombo Snuff Box. Number 1 most likely applies to everyone, whereas number 7 is interesting to read in light of Nicholas Kristof’s recent kerfuffle over the “absence” of public intellectuals. Number 6 may be unworkable for non-fiction writers (although we do all make narrative choices) while number 8 points to the “signposting” that my adviser always urged me to do, because readers can be quite lazy. In any case, check them out, and feel free to share your favorite writing rules, of famous provenance or otherwise.

Weekly goals:

Meg: Devote the 6 hours on the plane each way to “my stuff,” which means continued analysis of my probation and parole interview transcripts, making some sense of the data, consulting the recent lit on the topic, and starting to put together the framework for a dissertation chapter/future pub.

Sarah: 1) make the first round of revisions on Chapter 1 in preparation for a workshop later this month 2) process a mountain of scans from NARA from the last few weeks.

Nicole: This week my next huge goal is to try to finish the gender Chapter (3) which is a lot written out but not completed. That would be a great way to start spring break, considering I’m behind on my timeline of many more chapters!

Dan: 4 poms Tuesday and Thursday, wherever I can get them. Wednesday, 8 poms from 3 to 8, Friday 4 poms from 6 to 8, and Saturday 4 poms from 6 to 8 (I want to also get out for a ride that day, hence the modest goal).

Melanie: Put in some big work days on wednesday and friday to try to wrap up this first draft of chapter 3. and sending out this last fellowship out now, for real, I promise.

Mike: Wednesday: 8 poms on Dissertation Proposal, 4 poms on readings.
Thursday: 4 poms on readings for candidacy exams (prepping for a meeting that day)
Friday: 4 poms on dissertation proposal, 6 poms on Fulbright, 6 poms on reading
Saturday: 8 poms on reading, 4 on diss proposal, 4 on Fulbright (Grading in the evening)
Sunday: Grading students exams, 4 poms on Fulbright, 4 on reading

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Spring Writes: Week 7

Sometimes  you have to get away.

Sometimes you have to get away.

This week, in honor of my trip to South Africa (PS—I’m in South Africa, y’all!), we turn to a different Knowles sister, who shot the video for her single “Losing You” in Cape Town. I’m posting the link below, but if you haven’t already seen it/heard the song, what are you even doing with your life?

One link this week: the Hemingway app which, contrary to the name, will not make your writing drunker/misogynistickier. I heard about this through Publication Coach, and I’ve previously featured Helen Sword’s Writer’s Diet, which serves a similar function in taking your writing “from flabby to fit.” Try it out with some of your prose this week, and see how it fares! Seems to me that this could be especially useful in trimming down a job letter or research proposal, since those have been on my mind as of late (i.e. the last eight months). And if you have a favorite web-based writing tool, post it in the comments!

And here are your weekly goals:

Meg: Goal #1: Research report is thisclose to being done. Send it off by 11am Monday.
Goal #2: Catch up on some work stuff I have neglected rest of Monday and Tuesday.
Goal #3: Devote at least from 8am to 1pm Wednesday and Friday on my stuff:
Subgoal A: continue data analysis for a paper that is due at the end of April.
Subgoal B: outline/figure out my angle for a book chapter that is due at the end of May.

Nicole: [re "chunks" of chapter two]: I am trying to get the first one, on State Absence, done today or tomorrow. I want to get the Gender one also out this time next week!!! I am behind on my outline, but it makes sense why, because this thing has so much freaking content (i.e. what are now these three chapters).
Also this coming week: after some volleying back and forth, I am going to get my R and R article back in my hands, update the page numbers on the memo, run it by someone, and hopefully get it back to the journal promptly!!

Dan: My major goal for this week is to enjoy the rest of my time in Cape Town! It’s been really wonderful so far. I do have a job app due Friday, so I’ll take care of that on the plane/on the train/once back in France, since I leave here late Thursday. Depending on how I feel, I may go to Paris on Saturday to film ACT UP Paris’ action for International Women’s Day, so I’m not going to set a work goal for then. Next week I’ll be back on the work horse in a big way, but until then, I’m taking it pretty easy.

Roberta: I will do my OWN, dissertation work four days a week rather than the three I’ve been averaging since joining this group. While 3 days a week is far better than the intermittent returns to the work over the previous 6 months, it isn’t good enough. I am trying to be realistic and realize that the daily goal isn’t working yet so I’m committing to 4 days this week with the determination to continue that after our Spring Break.

Mike: I would like to finish a thorough revision of a grant proposal, use the additional time to organize my notes for candidacy exams and hopefully finish up some loose ends within the readings. So my goal for this week is to complete said grant proposal. Today I’d like to look back over it and determine the areas of revision and plan accordingly. That should require two pomidoros.

Tuesday: 6 poms pn grant proposal and 4 poms on reading.

Wednesday: I’ll have some additional teaching duties that day so my load should be lighter on the reading, but I would like to get 4 poms on candidacy.

Thursday: 8 poms on grant revision. 4 on candidacy exams.

Friday: 4 poms on candidacy and hopefully only 4 or so poms on grant.

And, as promised, Solange:

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Guest Post at Edge of the American West

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