Summer Writes: Week 2



Welcome to Week 2 of Summer Writes! Congratulations on making progress toward your goals during the first week. Pay attention to what other people in the group are doing, and borrow liberally from their process! I like Roberta’s scheduled approach from last week—not just setting an overall work goal, but setting aside blocks of time that are dedicated to work—so for Thursday and Friday I’ve scheduled blocks of work time for my own goals this week.

On that note, I wanted to highlight a post today from Gradhacker about having a “common theme” for graduate school and the power of habit. Kaitlin Gallagher has written a lot about work process, habits, and attitudes—things that cut across the graduate experience.

And if you’re wondering about the theme for the weekly posts this go-round, it’s writing systems. The image this week is of quipu (or khipu), an Incan method of record-keeping using knotted strings of llama or alpaca hair. Read more about quipu/khipu here.

And as always, happy writing!

Weekly goals:

Roberta: My goal this week is to create a better working outline to begin writing coherently and to insert the useable quotes around which to write chapter 1. I will be unavailable for anything other than writing from 7:30-11:30am. I plan to write in 4 – 50 minute sessions with 5 minute breaks during those hours. Planning for the following day, updating Zotero, etc. will happen between 1:30 and 4:30pm.

Chez: Monday and Tuesday are devoted to completing my introduction chapter/literature review, as well as putting finishing touches on conference presentation with co-authors/presenters.

My format check is due to the Graduate School on Sunday. I have one chapter left to format, as well as back matter. I plan to wrap that up Wednesday morning before leaving town. Otherwise, I’ll have to complete it during down time at the conference.

Meg: For Tues. and Weds., I want to follow a schedule of intensive writing work from 6:30 to 830am and 10am to 2pm, then do my non-writing tasks from 3pm to 6pm; Thursday: work on the plane from 11:30 to 1:30; no planned work Fri-Sun.

Goals for this week:
Priority #1: Make powerpoint for conference talk on Friday
Priority #2: Revise my CJ job cover letter for SW and finish writing research statement to send off to trusted reviewer next Monday
Priority #3: Continue working on parole chapter–main goal: the dreaded lit review
Priority #4: Start thinking about how I’m going to revise the journal article I just got an R&R for

Nicole: 1) Finish methods chapter. Talk through this at the writing center. Decide whether there is time to ask an editor to look it over.
2) Present conference paper. Start talking with co-authors about target journal/s and kinds of feedback we want first.
3) Use conference as a way to get ideas for fall syllabus (oy)
4) Keep fixing chapters under revision:
a) Ch 2 (major redo)– including implementing comments from writing center. I want to try adding a description of a service fair during the setup (though this may be better in the intro of the diss)
b) Ch 3 (clarifying argument and kind of causal claim)– may include talking to committee member about 3. This also involves re reading about causality, typological studies. I think doing all this will also help with 2.
5) Start diss. intro, based on outline– I want to try using writing on a motif of the process I’m studying (poorly described as) a bridge that I’ve used and cut elsewhere– may be better in the diss. conclusion.

Melanie: For this week, my goals are to pack all my archive gear (and other crap) for Chicago, finish a draft of the conference paper to deliver (so like, 5-7 pages), and do notes for a few books that I won’t be taking with me.

Steph: For this week, my goal is to finish up the revisions on my one chapter (about twenty more pages to go–cutting/polishing, etc.) and read one book to add to my introduction. I did pretty good with my goal last week: managed to finish up revisions for a chapter and read a book while I was doing some research for another project.

As a “side” task that I need to get done that has been lingering since the middle of last semester is finishing up an encyclopedia article, so I really want to get that done this week and have it done with.

Dan: Part of this week is going to be spent taking care of some contract work (because $$), but I want to keep making progress with research and writing. Toward the end of last week I got sidetracked doing Internet research, so this week I want to focus on putting words on the page. I’m going to start by taking source notes and then try to work those into narrative sections that I can graft on to the existing chapter. Tuesday I’m going to knock off one review as early as possible, and then do six pomodoros of work on my chapter to article revision. Wednesday I have to go down to Philly to take care of some business, so during the superfun Megabus ride I’m going to try to finish up the rest of my contract work, and I’m going to spend a few hours in the archives at Temple looking at a recently-processed collection that could be very useful. Thursday and Friday I have a more normal schedule, so I’m going to follow Roberta and Meg’s lead by scheduling writing time for myself. Work those days is going to happen 10-noon, 1-3, and 330-430, for a total of ten poms both days. That’s also going to require me to not let my breaks stretch too long, so that’s going to be one of my process goals as well.


12 thoughts on “Summer Writes: Week 2

  1. Naoko’s goals for the week:
    – finish paper for Nestle Nutrition Institute and revise summary (due Friday)
    – finish height paper, submit to Lancet and notify co-authors
    – make data collection form for gold standard assessors
    – prepare IRB app for IOM, have it ready to submit by Friday
    – finalize lit search diagram for antibiotics paper
    – finalize lit search diagram for referral paper
    – read Lancet Neonatal Series over the weekend

  2. This is long, so apologies in advance. First, THANK YOU Dan for continuing to nudge me to join the group. It’s really helped tremendously! And thanks for the comment on FB about not overdoing it. I found I couldn’t sleep after that first day because my mind wouldn’t turn off. Day two was less productive as a result (though still worked for four hours).

    I had a very successful first week and will continue according to that model. By day 3 of the first week, I found that I am able to refresh myself on research and/or do additional research and still get 1000 or more words on a page each day. I have a basic outline but a fully fleshed out one is not how I tend to operate so I stopped forcing a new way of work upon myself. Without the stress of trying to be someone I’m not, I was shocked to discover that I had actually written more than 1200 words on day three. Frankly, I did this by inadvertently fooling myself that I was doing some additional research but, in reality, pulling those additional sources prompted ideas about how they informed the outline and I inserted quotes into the outline, cited them with Zotero and then wrote text around them and voila, 1200 words. Long way of saying I will continue to use the modified Pomodoro method (which I read about in one of Dan’s former writing session blogs when I was a chicken shit and wouldn’t join). I’ll write during a dedicated four hour block of time each morning. The afternoons have been less structured but I’ve still been productive. Family and friends know that I can’t talk, e-mail or text until after 3:30 or 4pm each day or on the weekends. Clearly, I work well with the Pavlovian approach. I hear that timer ding and I start and it dings again and I stop and it dings after five minutes and I rush back to the computer. LOL! Love that FocusBooster App. ALmost don’t need the SelfControl App as a result.

    I’m wondering if any of you have a specific Pomodoro app you like (not the free FocusBooster I am using) and would recommend. And does anyone use Scrivener?

    I like the article about self-care Dan posted. In that spirit, and before reading it, I purchased three vouchers through Groupon for massages so that I can treat myself to a relaxation session at least three times this summer.

    Specific goal is a minimum of 1000 WORDS A DAY for each of the five writing days this coming week.

    • Thanks Nicole. The site looks similar to the FocusBooster app I downloaded for free. So, maybe I’ll just stick with what I’m using since it seems to be working. I’m getting a Scrivener session with one of my colleagues in the Media/Com Department (a huge tech geek) and I’ll decide if I want to use it. Probably not since it requires a workaround to interface with Zotero which I am hugely dependent upon. But, I’ll let him show me before I rule it out. I appreciate your response. Good luck this week!

      • Thanks for recommending SelfControl! I’ve been using it to keep me off of Facebook (in my browser, anyway) and I think it’s helped a lot. I have been, at times, a very active Scrivener user. I like it as a writing environment when I just need to get words down, and I it’s useful for taking a draft, chopping it up, and rearranging the parts. I don’t use it exclusively, though—I definitely trade around among Scrivener, Word, and Byword, which is .txt-based and syncs with my phone and tablet.

  3. Last week’s goals:
    Conference talk–DONE
    Revised cover letter–SENT
    I achieved my two priority goals last week amidst hectic travel/conference nonsense, so I am satisfied. I now return to my lower priorities from last week:
    Priority #1: Continue working on parole chapter. Revise/reframe based on feedback from conference talk.
    Priority #2: Start thinking about how I’m going to revise the journal article I just got an R&R for–hopefully meeting with advisor will happen this week to move that forward.
    To meet these goals, I want to keep the following schedule for the week:
    Mon: Work on plane back in the morning (6am to 9am), then 2pm to 6pm if I’m not too wiped out.
    Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sun.: intensive writing work from 6:30 to 830am and 10am to 2pm, then non-writing tasks from 3pm to 6pm.
    Weds: 630 to 830am and 3pm to 6pm
    Sat.: OFF

  4. What I got done last week (re: last week’s goals):
    I finished a draft of my methods chapter and sent to personal editor. I presented a conference paper and established a few people who were present and/or read the paper that I can ask for feedback. I started talking with co-authors about the ideal venue to publish it in and issues that came up in conversation as feedback we’ve gotten. I used moments in the conference to get ideas for fall syllabus (tho. not as much as I’d planned). I corresponded with committee member about framing cases in chapter 3, in a way that impacts probably chapter 2 (both of these are under revision). Actually getting this feedback was pretty overwhelming, but I need to think of it as not all necessary to do for the defense.

    This week’s top priorities: keep going with chapters under revision and get intro moving.
    1) Ch 2 (major redo)–still need to implement previous comments from writing center meeting. I will add in needed information for the cases I am adding to the paper: “Growing our Garden” and any of the ones that are close to the state but not in a hierarchical relationship w/it ,especially that draws on info NOT already in chapter 1! I need to figure out what is missing in terms of talking about implications for participants’ citizenship in the 4 cases and try to say it, though the scale jump from NGOs to clients may be a challenge. [Add a description of a service fair during the setup (though this may be better in the intro of the diss)?] Given what I’m learning about how I’m situating cases in types in Chapter 3 redo, maybe add some discussion of ideal types as it is helpful.

    2) Ch 3, clarifying argument and kind of causal claim: read stuff on ideal types and elective affinity (Weber), gender prism recommended by committee member. At least skim the article on morality to see if this is going to be helpful, and Chad’s book review. Talk briefly to someone who knows more about this sociological literature on Wed., and run the causality framing situation by him (being wary of getting sidetracked for the actual defense). Talk about this or ch 2 at the writing center Wed.

    3) I need to begin writing the diss. intro, based on outline, and not get overwhelmed by the importance of it being good… just functional is more important right now. [Still not sure if intro or conclusion should discuss and deconstruct motif of the process I’m studying that’s poorly described as, a bridge, written about in my drafts of other stuff but not used in current chapters; thinking this level of abstraction is better in the diss. conclusion.]

    4) As time permits, getting feedback on paper presentation this past week and starting to plan fall punishment class.

  5. Last week’s goals –
    – finish paper for Nestle Nutrition Institute and revise summary (due Friday) – done
    – finish height paper, submit to Lancet and notify co-authors – still making last revisions, intend to submit by Tuesday morning, giving U.S. co-authors the day on Monday to respond
    – make data collection form for gold standard assessors – still need to do
    – prepare IRB app for IOM, have it ready to submit by Friday – still need to complete budget
    – finalize lit search diagram for antibiotics paper – done
    – finalize lit search diagram for referral paper – done
    – read Lancet Neonatal Series over the weekend – ended up reading for fun instead

    Need to get a lot done this week because going to be away most of next week – the goals are:
    – height paper – submit Tuesday morning at the latest
    – data collection form for gold standard assessors – I have been avoiding this like a plague, but need it for IRB application, MUST DO!!!!!!!
    – IOM IRB application – hopefully have everything, including Nepali translations of consent forms, to submit, hopefully hear back from Dr. Ghimire w/ final permission to submit
    – go through Carolyn’s e-mail regarding clinical imaging protocol
    – nail down timing for ultrasound training

  6. Also, Daniel, you would be proud – despite the 90+ heat and running between goats and water buffaloes, I went on a run multiple times last week.

  7. Last week’s goals:
    conference presentation – done
    format check to Grad School – done

    With conference and travel, I didn’t get through all of last week’s goals. So, I have a few lingering goals and new ones. This week:
    – Complete introduction and send to committee members (I need to do this Monday)
    – Write conclusion
    – Work on presentation for defense
    – Schedule and do a practice defense with friends

  8. I was much more consistent with work this week—I think just the idea of scheduling helped a lot. I logged five writing poms on Tuesday and Thursday (plus four of contract work on Thursday), and six on Friday. I also got some good research done on Wednesday in Philadelphia, punched up the introduction and most importantly the argument of my chapter/article, and then started in on overhauling the structure. I’m going to continue doing that for the coming week, as well as work in new sources, and keep aiming for my 10-noon, 1-3, and 330-430 writing schedule T-F of this week, with the understanding that one of those days is likely going to be partly taken up by buying and setting up a new laptop, because the one I’m using now is slowing down quite a bit. In any case, if the schedule’s still not working next week, I’ll need to reassess—my personal philosophy is that manageable goals work best, and I want to keep striving for those.

  9. Hi everyone! So I managed to meet my goals for last week: finished revisions for my third chapter, read some, and finished up the encyclopedia article.

    This week will be a bit hectic. I have dr.s’ appointments and other life-happens things to do and I’ll be going on a brief research trip on Thursaday/Friday. That being said, I would like to read one article and skim a book for revisions for my fourth chapter and at least tidy up the introduction for that chapter, as well.

    Thanks! This is really keeping me motivated this summer!

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