Ah, summer. We work hard on teaching and service from September to May, putting off research and writing projects until that magical season when we’ll have time to drill through a stack of pleasure reading, work out every day, cook through our weekly share of CSA vegetables, go down the shore, visit a baker’s dozen archives, and somehow still have time to write from morning to night (on days with sixteen hours of daylight, no less!), churning out numerous journal articles, chapters, and book proposals. Then late July hits, and we realize we slept for half of June, read part of three books, and spent the better part of July recovering from an ill-conceived adventure with tequila shots on Independence Day. Then we spend all of August being paralyzed by a) shame at having accomplished so little and b) dreading the fall semester. By Labor Day, we’re seriously considering faking our own deaths and starting a new life raising alpacas in the lower Andes just to avoid running into our advisers.
Or maybe that’s just me. I suspect it’s not. Let’s stop the insanity, y’all!
You know what would help? An ONLINE WRITING GROUP. So we’re doing one! And not one just for historians or just for academics, but for anyone plugging away at a research or writing project. We officially kick off a week from today, on Monday, May 27th. Between now and then, leave a comment on this post to introcuce yourself, tell us your overall goals for the summer, and what you’re going to do during the first week. Before the beginning of the following week (i.e. between Friday and Sunday), I’ll put up a new post. In the comments, let everyone know how you did, and what you want to accomplish the following week. Repeat for the following eleven weeks. The point of the group is to keep ourselves accountable to incremental tasks building to our larger goals, so it only works if we post every week.
When you’re setting your goals, be specific and realistic. Instead of saying, “I’m going to write every day,” let us know how long or how much you’re going to write, on which days. Are you going to write two hours each day? Four pages a day? Five pomodoros? Are you going to read some books or articles? Spend a day in archives? Look for grants and fellowships? Let us know! The more specific you are with your goals, the more you’re likely to get done. And instead of planning to write a trilogy of monographs in twelve weeks, set goals that are challenging but attainable. They don’t even need to be writing goals! Maybe you want to finish up all of the research for your dissertation. Maybe you want to launch a website based on your project. We are here to affirm your choices! Just make sure that your goals are realistic, or you’re likely to get disappointed and burn out.
And that’s it! Simple, right? At the end of twelve weeks, you’ll have accomplished more than you would otherwise, and you’ll have a record of all the work you did during the summer!
Now let’s get it started like it’s 2004 and the Black Eyed Peas aren’t yet obnoxious! Leave a comment on this post telling us a little bit about yourself, your goals for the summer, and your goals for this week. Here we go!