Summer Writes: The Beginning

I’m taking the executive prerogative of naming the group “Summer Writes.” Get it? Oh well oh well oh well oh.

For everyone here for the group, welcome! This is the first post. Every week we’ll be checking in here to update everyone on our progress. Again, the point is to keep ourselves accountable to an informal group so that we can all meet our summer writing goals, whatever they may be.

So in the comments, introduce yourself (a lot of us know one another, but not necessarily what we’re all working on), tell us your writing goal for the next twelve weeks, and what you hope to accomplish in the next week. Weekly goals can be anything from reviewing books and articles to generating a certain number of words to simply writing everyday–whatever gets you where you want to be at the end of August.

Happy writing!


18 thoughts on “Summer Writes: The Beginning

  1. Abby here. I finished up at Temple in 2010 and am now an assistant professor at Kean University in NJ, teaching African American and legal history. My major goals for the summer are drafting a final chapter for my dissertation-turned-book and revising an article based on that chapter for the Oral History Review. Smaller projects include a couple posts for the National Constitution Center blog and an entry for the new Encyclopedia of Philadelphia project (due October 1 but it’d be nice to draft it this summer). Gravy would be writing the new epilogue for the manuscript. Oh, and signing a book contract. I’ll be out of the country for the month of August so my hope is to get all of that done by July 30.

    For next week, I’ll be at a conference in New York Thursday through Sunday, so my plans are to dig through archives of the Philly Gay News, line up a couple oral histories, prep for the conference, and write a blog on the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia – before I head to Barnard for four days of life as a Kentucky slaveowner-cum-bohemian suffragist. (

    Thanks again for organizing, Dan!

    • Whoa, everybody check out that link. Looks like a really interesting approach to teaching–I’ve seen quite a few posts at ProfHacker (which everyone should be reading, seriously) about games, flipped classrooms, and student-led instruction, so it’s definitely on the pedagogical cutting edge.

      • Wow, that is very cool. I would be extremely interested in working some game-play mechanics into the classroom.

      • Aaron, Reacting is just about the coolest thing ever. I learned about it during grad school and have been using it in my classes for the past year, with pretty incredible results. Happy to chat more about it!

  2. Hi everyone! I’m Rachel. I’m finishing up my 5th year at Penn. Next year, my partner and I will be living in the UK, so my goals for this summer mostly revolve around getting myself into decent shape to leave the country and write, write, write.

    To that end, I’ll be spending the summer in Denver doing dissertation research. My goal for that is to finish the necessary research for my chapter on 1960s legislative reapportionment and the “Sell Colorado” campaign. I’m also hoping to get through several politicians’ papers (Gary Hart, Tim Wirth, Dick Lamm, maybe Patt Schroeder) and the papers of some Democratic and Republican clubs in the Denver area. Lastly, I’ll be up to my elbows in newspaper microfilm. The goal there is not so much to get it all read as to get it all scanned and emailed to myself for later reading at my leisure.

    I also have some writing goals. They are:
    1. Turn the conference paper I just wrote into a complete chapter draft (+20pages)
    2. Revise my Olympics chapter and submit it as an article
    3. Read/skim 1 new secondary source per week

    I’d love to work in a few more oral histories while I’m out in Colorado, but that may be truly beyond what’s doable in the time I’ve got.

    Thanks for getting this up and running, Dan!

  3. Matt here. I have a Ph.D. from Temple and just finished my first year of a postdoc at the University of Mary Washington. My big goals for the rest of the summer are finishing the bulk of the research for my book and submitting two articles. For next week, my goal is to finish editing an article that I plan to submit to the Journal of African American History.

  4. Hi everyone, I’m Dan and this is my blog. I just finished my fifth year of the doctoral history program at Temple, and I’m planning to defend my dissertation on African American AIDS activism about a year from now. At the moment I’m finishing up archival research before I leave, since a lot of my sources are in the mid-Atlantic, as well as doing an oral history project that’s going to eventually be housed at Temple. I’m also trying to learn enough about coding and digital stuff to establish a web presence for my project, but that’s kind of on the backburner right now.

    I’ll be moving twice this summer, to San Francisco for a month and a half and then to Columbus in August, so I’m hoping that the writing group will keep me on track with getting work done as I physically move my life around the country. My writing goals for the summer are to finish drafting my introduction, get a rough draft completed of the chapter I’m presenting at a conference in September, and write this encyclopedia article that I contracted to do back in December. I think that as long as I keep up momentum with writing (i.e. write almost every day) that will be totally doable. I’m a creature of habit, so making writing a part of my daily routine will be crucial for me, and I hope that being informally accountable to the group will help me do that. In the coming week I’ll be doing two days of archival research and I’m conducting an important (in the world of my topic, anyway) oral history on Tuesday, but on top of that I want to:

    1. Finish transcribing the oral history I’m working through at the moment, and get another one fully transcribed.
    2. Spend at least and hour and fifteen minutes (or three Pomodoros, if you’re into that kind of thing) writing my introduction.

    Also, I just want to thank everyone who’s participating–I hope this will be a low-key way to keep the summer from slipping by without any work getting done. Happy writing, everyone!

  5. Hello all,
    I’m just finished up my 4th year at UCSB in the Department of Communication (6th year of grad school overall, including the time I spent getting my MPH at UCLA). I am currently working on my dissertation proposal, and am hoping to defend that early summer (fingers crossed I can actually get all the members on my committee in the same room on the same day!), collect data this fall, and finish up this degree by this time next year. My dissertation focuses on media literacy and developing a valid scale to measure it.

    This summer, my goals include:
    (1) Defending my (what is turning out to be an 80+ page) proposal
    (2) Revising and submitting 3 manuscripts for review
    (3) Developing and planning the undergraduate course I will be teaching in the Fall
    (4) Prepare my job market materials (teaching statement, cover letters, etc)

    Looking forward to working with the group!

  6. Dur! You wanted specific goals for this week–not just summer goals–didn’t you? I’m presenting at a conference on Thursday, so my main goal for this week is to revise the intro and conclusion to the chapter I’m presenting and to finish cutting down the body to a reasonable length. My other goal for the week, in preparation for my move to Denver, is to write out a more concrete plan for what collections I plan to look at when and which people I’d like to try to interview.

  7. hmm… my post seems to have gotten eaten somewhere. Anyway, I realized that I’m a dork and put only summer goals, not goals for this week. So, my goals for this week are that I’m presenting at a conference on Thursday and need to cut down my chapter into a talk. I also need to prep for my move to Denver by deciding what collections I’m going to look at first and how long I’m going to spend with them.

    • I approved your first comment went to spam but I pulled it out over the weekend and it shows up on the page for me, but sorry for the glitch. Now that WordPress knows you’re not a spammer, hopefully there wont’ be a problem.

  8. Hi all. I’m Aaron, I’m a 5th year PhD student at Temple writing on the British occupation of Philadelphia. Summer writing goals include putting together a rough draft of my next dissertation chapter and writing/submitting a book review for H-Net.

    My first weekly goal was to post to Dan’s blog on time, but I’ve clearly already failed there. So my other objectives will be to finish processing the archival notes I’ve taken related to the beginning of this chapter and to finish reading the book I’m supposed to review.

  9. Hi All, Tim here. I’m a history PhD at Temple, but I am writing in Toronto these days. My dissertation focuses on a debate about the legal boundary between youth and adulthood in the United States between 1965 and 1985. In September I’ll have been in the program at Temple for six years, and I am planning to defend within the fall term somewhere. To that end, I have a pretty ambitious writing goal for the summer as a whole: I’m hoping to pump out 2 chapters over the next three months. All my research, reading and planning is done and I feel like everything’s quite well organized for those chapters, so it should just be a matter of getting things on the page.

    That said, I’m coming off a long, frustrating period when I was suffering a bit of a crisis of confidence – writing has always come easily and naturally to me but somehow I got bogged down on it for much of last year, so my “real” goal for the summer is also to keep moving forward, to write confidently, and to avoid getting stuck. I’ve had much better luck doing that over the past 2-3 months so I hope to keep that momentum going.

    I was pleased to see a few familiar names on Dan’s emails – I hope everyone is doing well, and I’m very pleased to “meet” those of you I haven’t met before! Thanks for organizing this Dan, great idea!

    Oh, yeah – my goal for this week: My advisor just sent me some comments about an earlier chapter draft, so my goal for this week is to speed through it and fix up the issues she pointed out. I’d also like to get a few pages of the next chapter written, just to get things rolling.

    Happy writing folks!

    • Tim! Long time, old friend! Sounds like you’re in the homestretch. Let me know when the defense ends up being – we’ll go out for a celebratory beer afterward 🙂

      • Thanks Abby, it’s great to hear that you’re doing so well! For sure I’ll let you know when defense-time comes : )

  10. Yo- Melanie here, heading into my fourth year in Temple History. I am teaching this month, three two-hour classes a week. For the summer, I need to finish off my prospectus (heading into the third draft), completely rewrite an essay I wrote four years ago for a forthcoming oral history anthology, and take some research trips to DC and Washington State. Since I’m coming in mid-week, I think I’ll shoot to spend some quality time with my prospectus and my essay as both have been long neglected– I need to figure out what exactly needs to be done.

  11. Hi! Sorry am a bit late in the game. I’m a PhD candidate in US history at Berkeley, working on a dissertation about U.S. colonial education in the Philippines, Americanization, and the teaching of Philippine patriotism.I was in the Philippines last school year and just got back last month. I still have some more research to do here in the US. My goals for the summer are to look into how educational policy in the Philippines was formulated, come up with detailed outlines for 3 other dissertation chapters, and expand a conference paper into a dissertation chapter. Oh, and I also want to start preparing a fellowship statement for an application that is due later this fall.

    My main obstacle is not knowing where to start and how to organize my materials, especially as I am still gathering sources! I’d welcome any tips that you have about how to write and do research at the same time.

    I’m going to be gone from June 12-24 and won’t have much Internet access, so I won’t be able to post in the next two weeks.

  12. Hi everyone! My name’s Steph and I actually graduated from Temple in 2008 with my MA and am now at the University of Maryland for my PhD. I “technically” study Asian Americna history, but I’d like to think that my work will contribute to a growing field of West Coast civil rights history. My dissertation looks at they ways in which Christian students from China, Japan, and the Philippines influenced an emerging West Coast battle for civil rights between the 1920s and the end of WWII. This summer, I am hoping to get a rought (emphasis on rough) draft of my dissertation complete so that I can focus on revisions and the job market in the fall/spring of next year. I’m also in the midst of revising an article, but that’s been put on the backburner for a month or so now while I was waiting to be finished with grading and other end-of-the-semester joys.

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