Summer Writes: Week 3

An example of Proto-Elamite, the world's oldest undeciphered script. Source: New Scientist.
An example of Proto-Elamite, the world’s oldest undeciphered script. Source: New Scientist.

Welcome to the third week of Summer Writes! Hopefully your writing is more easily understood than that on the tablet pictured above, which has baffled scholars for generations. Click on the link in the caption to learn more. And yes, I’m aware, as per a conversation with Melanie, that ancient writing systems “aren’t Beyoncé.”

Before diving right into your weekly goals, I wanted to say a little something about impostor syndrome, because it came up in a conversation I had last week with another scholar. You’re probably all familiar with impostor syndrome, the fear among highly successful and/or motivated people that they are inadequate, and it’s only a matter of time before they’re “found out.” While we may know cognitively that this is a silly attitude, it’s one that grips many of us emotionally. In terms of our writing and other work, it can show up in the form of self-doubt, leading us to procrastinate or slowing us down as we second guess ourselves. Caltech Counseling Center has a good breakdown of the issue, with coping suggestions. In CHE‘s advice section, an anonymous scholar has explored the connections between impostor syndrome and other anxiety disorders. Finally, Slate‘s Katy Waldman talks about impostor syndrome among high-achieving women.

Do you have a story about impostor syndrome to share, or maybe some effective coping strategies? Share them in the comments below! And happy writing!

Weekly goals:

Chez: – 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

Naoko (who dodges goats and water buffaloes while running): – 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


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.

Meg: 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

Roberta: I’ll write during a dedicated four hour block of time each morning. Specific goal is a minimum of 1000 WORDS A DAY for each of the five writing days this coming week.

Dan: I’m going to continue working on the structure of my article 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 (for a total of ten poms), with the understanding that one of those days is likely going to be partly taken up by buying and setting up a new laptop.

 Melanie: Get caught up on some emailing and revisit my chapter outline. I’m in for the long haul so I’m not getting too aggressive because conference attendance is, for me, an important part of the writing process that doesn’t always yield a word count (beyond texts and tweets).

Dylan: I plan on outlining the chapter this week, graph by graph. If there’s time leftover, I’ll reach out to the next batch of potential interviewees via email.

Steph:  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.


11 thoughts on “Summer Writes: Week 3

  1. Fortunately I aimed low and was able to hit my goals for last week (by noon today anyways). This week I would like to have a strong archive day tomorrow as I will be at a conference for the rest of the work week. I also need to cut down my conference paper. While I’m on the road, I’d like to get caught up on some emailing and revisit my chapter outline. I’m in for the long haul so I’m not getting too aggressive because conference attendance is, for me, an important part of the writing process that doesn’t always yield a word count (beyond texts and tweets).

  2. After a progress-less week (thanks, jet lag!), I plan on outlining the chapter this week, graph by graph. If there’s time leftover, I’ll reach out to the next batch of potential interviewees via email

  3. For the first and probably last time ever, I’m taking stock of last week and posting this coming week’s goals early (at the prompting of Nicole)!

    I have made good progress on the parole chapter. I think I now have it fully outlined, so the main task for this week is to crank this sucker out and get it to my advisor for review. I’m feeling like scheduling times for dedicated writing is insufficient for measuring my progress now, and the times when I can get into a good writing groove have changed. So, I’m going to mimic Roberta (again) and try going for a word count this week instead of following a rigid schedule.

    Goal: Mon.-Fri. I aim to write 1,000 words/day and possibly send very rough chapter draft on Fri. night or next Mon. am.

  4. I finally finished my introduction chapter/lit review and actually feel decent about it. My dissertation defense is this Friday, June 13th, so this week is all about preparing for it. Goals for the week:
    – finish my conclusion chapter (Monday!)
    – finish my presentation for the defense, incorporating feedback based on last week’s practice run
    – do another practice run with friends on Thursday
    – reread my dissertation
    – anticipate and prepare for likely questions I’ll receive from committee members
    – defend on Friday!

  5. Wow, Chez, this is awesome. I will be thinking of you majorly!!!
    Goals this week– keep triaging and get things to advisor!
    1) Read the coming peer feedback on written intro, and do references. Make any necessary adjustments and pass this on to advisor ASAP.
    2) Apply the agreed on changes to Chapter 3. This means taking out the “embededdness” argument and any points that sound causal. Replace with associational language and the new phrases. Also spend some time doing within-type contrasts and adding whatever I can say about gender to the within-type generalizations. This is doable.
    3) Tues. or Thurs, get methods back from editor, make any necessary tweaks, add a little more on Milwaukee organizing and neighborhood history, and get this to advisor stat!
    4) Pull through on Chapter 2 revision. It is moving. I just need to keep pulling it together. Like w/Ch 3, also do some within-type contrasts; talk about how there is the most contestation in one type in particular. This is the last frontier/ will require some brain cells.
    5) Start to sketch out the conclusion with the stuff on the bridge metaphor.
    6) I can’t get upset about any difficult feedback now.

  6. I was really good with my goals this week. I did the equivalent of ten poms Tuesday through Friday. I switched up my pomodoro approach, replacing my 25-minute work periods and 5-minute breaks with 50-minute work periods and 10-minute breaks. So instead of doing ten poms, I did fives poms, which is the same amount of work time. I found it worked better for me because the shorter periods would interrupt me right as I was getting into a good groove. With the longer work interval, I was able to get some writing momentum going. I also found that scheduling my writing time meant that I was more diligent about getting to work, even if I didn’t stick right to the schedule. I did not, however, go get my laptop. I ordered it, and I’ll pick it up one day this week. I also started reading some Octavia Butler for pleasure. I tore through Parable of the Sower, and I’m about halfway through Parable of the Talents.

    This week, my goals are pretty much the same as last week—five fifty-minute poms, working 10-12, 1-3, and 330-430. One day I’ll probably have to go pick up my laptop, but other than that, I’m putting my nose to the writing grindstone. Next week, research trip to Chicago with Melanie!

  7. I had a productive week. While I had some days I achieved the 1000 words a day goal, there were a couple of days that were more finding sources to fill in which meant the average for the week was 650 words per day. After the first 9 days of working on Chapter 1 I had 5510 words on the page. Feeling good considering I had 0 words on the page over the last year!

    My goal this week remains largely the same, a minimum of 4 50-minute poms with 5 minute breaks and no more than 6 poms in a day no matter what (to avoid burnout). I’m going to lower my daily word goal this week so I don’t feel defeated. I’m aiming for 750 words a day for 5 days = 3750 for the week as I continue to work on Chapter 1.

  8. I did pretty well with meeting my goals for last week: I managed to read the book I wanted to, went on a research trip, and also began revisions on Chapter Four. I got a little bogged down yesterday because I ended up circling back to my introduction, but it needed to be done at some point. Because of this, I didn’t get as far with my Chapter Four revisions as I wanted to last week.

    My goals for this week are:

    1) Read article for Chapter Four revisions.
    2) Move through at least 15 pages of revisions for Chapter Four.
    3) Finish revisions to introduction.

    I might be biting off a bit more than I can chew here, but I think I can get through them!

  9. Pingback: Summer Writes: Week 4—Kill Your Darlings Edition | Ye Olde Royle Blog

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