Summer Writes: Week 3 Wrap-Up

Whew! Maybe it’s just me, but week three came and went like a flash. I meant to post some links on good writing here, but never got around to it–chalk it up to the first week of teaching a summer class with brand new assignments–so I’m including them below. There are two pieces from Chronicle of Higher Ed and one from a Foreign Policy blog, as well as Helen Sword’s ever-humbling web app, The Writer’s Diet. You can drop in a block of text and find out the “fitness” of your writing, on a scale of “lean” to “heart attack” territory. I pasted in a very important paragraph, only to find out that it’s “flabby” due to too many artery-clogging nouns and prepositions, so I’ll need to clean that up. Anyway, let us know how you did this week, what you hope to do next week, and most importantly–does your writing need to go on a diet?

Do We Dare Write for Readers?

Becoming a ‘Stylish’ Writer

On Writing Well

The Writer’s Diet


5 thoughts on “Summer Writes: Week 3 Wrap-Up

  1. That was fast. This week I made August travel reservations and began a first-pass process of my NARA files from earlier this month. I also picked up a gig giving daytime historical walking tours in Old City, which begins next weekend. Finally, my brother, sister-in-law, and toddler nephew are in town. Yesterday I went to three playgrounds, for a total of five exhausting pomodoros.

    This coming week, I will continue to spend time with finding aids for the upcoming research trip, keep processing NARA biz, and clean my office space.

    Unsurprisingly, this update “needs toning.”

  2. I met all of my times goals this week, but fell short on working through the Balm in Gilead materials. The first few days of teaching took more time than I anticipated, partly because I’m trying some new things–using Twitter for participation (not in-class, except for the few times that we’re going to live-tweet some films) and assigning a digital final project. If you want to take a look at the syllabus or the digital assignment sheet, they’re in the “Teaching” section on my personal page.

    For the coming week, I want to do twelve pomodoros Monday and Wednesday, and eight on Tuesday. Thursday I teach and then fly to San Francisco for a wedding, so I’m not going to schedule any for myself that day, but I will almost certainly need to work on the plane, because I have a chapter revision due Friday. My goal is to get all of the content revisions done by Thursday so that on the plane I can just work on punching up the writing. My adviser clocked me for the number of nominalizations I had in the first draft, so I need to work on clearing them out. After that, I’m going to enjoy my weekend in San Francisco and then pick up the next week working on a revision of chapter five and starting in on the Balm in Gilead materials again.

  3. I am happy to say that I made some excellent progress this week, particularly looking at the ways in which production undergirded civil defense as much as consumption did (I am also seeing that the two are bound together in discourses on CD within the FCDA and USDA). This is particularly clear in the civil defense literature aimed at farmers.
    See my progress here!

  4. I didn’t get through as many admissions docs as I hoped last week, but my goal is to go to Penn tomorrow and spend the day reading new secondary literature on the history of higher education in the 20th century. Also, I want to get through the rest of the docs I brought back from U. of Michigan that relate to my first chapter.

  5. Sometimes when time passes, it carries you with it. I write from DC so my trip to DC got as planned as it’s going to get. I spent much of last week digging into the legislative history of the Immigration Act of 1990 (and 1986’s IRCA) and realizing: shit. I don’t really know how a bill becomes a law. But Kate Scott is a great guide to Senate records, and I spent today in the basement of Russell going through stuff. And I met up with my advisor before I came down to DC, so now I need only connect with the rest of the team. Oh and I transcribed two interviews. Another thing that I did is talk a lot about my project – with Kate, with my friends that I’m crashing with here, with my friend’s family who we spent the weekend with in Southern Maryland, with Andrew’s cousin – and the process of talking about both my research and my experience in Ghana reminded me that 1) I am actually doing something and graduate school is (sort of) real, and (2) that experience in Ghana is pretty unusual and should add a whole lot to the book when I write it. So I am kind of working through all that self-flagellation and doubt by talking about it and trying to present myself well.

    For next week (is this where I should state these? hope it works) I plan to spend as much time as possible looking at records in DC, and try to make the most of my time here. I will also be attending SHAFR as an observer, so I hope to get something out of that. In down time I would like to steadily work through my interview transcriptions. I would also like to bang out a draft of this ASLH paper I’m going to give in November in Miami, because there’s a grad student paper competition due at the end of June, and I might as well enter it. I would also like to repurpose a grant request to submit to the ASLH by July 15. I think I’ll write to those other dudes on my committee soon too.

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