Summer Writes: Week 1

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Welcome to the beginning of the third installment of Summer Writes! I’ve listed our goals for both the summer and the week below. At the end of the week (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday—whatever constitutes the end of the writing week for you) come back and update us on your progress in a comment to this post, and let us know your goals for week 2. I’ll collect those into another post for week 2, and so it goes until mid-August. Remember that specific and manageable goals tend to work best for keeping momentum and morale up!

Roberta mentioned using SelfControl to block out distracting websites. I frequently use the Pomodoro Method (and specifically and app called Focus Time) to help myself stay on task, and recently I began using Evernote to implement the Getting Things Done method. Are there any other tools you’ve found useful for writing or organizing your work? Let us know in the comments!

And if you’re on the fence about joining us, go ahead and leave your goals in the comments as well. It’s never too late to join. And, as always, happy writing!

Goals:

Steph: Revisions for manuscript due by August 29th. This requires some more reading as well as cutting/adding. My goal is to work on 10 pages a day of cutting/revising.

Dylan: Picking up a semi-dormant research thread–that means interviews and archives for a few weeks, then 2-3 hours per day of writing. My goal: an article-length piece I’m not ashamed of by the end of August.

Meg: For the week: Oh, and next week’s goal: return to data analysis and start mapping out chapter 1. Writing schedule: MWThFSa 9am to 2pm.

For the summer: 1) Two chapters of the dissertation by July 31. They can be sloppy, and I’m not starting from scratch on either of them.
2) Finalize job application materials for ye olde job market.

Roberta:

My goal for the summer is to have a full draft (minus intro and conclusion) of the guts of the dissertation no matter how messy. I have moving parts of the work but not in any coherent narrative so while not from scratch, it is a major undertaking. While I will post specific goals for each week, I have an overall plan of writing M-F from 7:30am-11:30am using a modified Pomodoro method of 4-50 minute sessions with 5 minute breaks in between. I will use the SelfControl App during those hours to avoid the temptation of surfing the web or going down rabbit holes. Those hours are WRITING and not other tasks like mini research session or entering/tagging sources into Zotero. That work will happen each afternoon in preparation for the following day.

My goal for the first week is to make one final research trip to DC for 5 days to read, scan materials I was unable to get to last summer. The writing sessions begin on May 27th.

Dan:

Two main goals for the summer: turn one of my dissertation chapters into an article and submit for publication, and get a formal proposal for the edited collection based on my oral history project. Monday of this week I’m not setting a writing goal because I have other things to do, but the rest of the week I’m setting a goals of eight poms Tuesday through Friday. Specifics to do this week:

– read through the relevant chapter for holes and revisions
– go back through my notes in Scrivener on this chapters to see what I planned to do with it post-defense
– condense the two separate book proposals I have into a single document

Nicole: Get dissertation submitted to  committee by mid June. The defense is in early July. There are a lot of things that need to happen first to get it in shape and vetted by my advisor (some is, some isn’t yet).
This week I need to:
1) Get co-authored paper in for conference Monday, so all the last minute stuff has to happen tomorrow. Joint decisions, transitions, spell check, reference check, formatting check, etc. If this can be done by 2 pm, that would be great. (Then I need to a make plan to turn paper into short talk with coauthors so this does not eat up too much time now.)
2) Get as far as possible revising diss empirical chapter 2, by filling in info on the cases, now that I have restructured the argument and lit review.
3) Do the methods chapter– this will not be that bad but has been delayed. It is mostly fusing together existing writing.
4) Expect critical feedback to get back to me about empirical chapter 3. Hopefully it will not be dire. I have to avoid being discouraged by this.

Melanie: My goals for the summer are to turn in the first half of my dissertation (meaning I will revise two chapters, and write another) and to finish the research as best I can during my two month stay in Chicago (which, writing-wise, I think will mean rounding out summer with a pretty good outline of the latter half of the project). While in Chicago, I’m shooting to spend some part of MTThF doing archive work, and making sure that Wednesdays are a writing and processing day so I don’t get burnt out and overwhelmed. I am also working on a conference paper for early June and beginning collaboration for turning it into a co-authored piece but I am keeping my writing goals pretty focused on the dissertation.

Chez: I’m defending my dissertation next month, so I’m pretty narrowly focused on that, as well as a collaborative conference paper. Goals for this week (likely spilling into next week):
1) Major revisions to my introduction and literature review. Currently, it is very rough, so this is a big task that requires reading, synthesizing, and writing.
2) Write conclusion
3) Format dissertation in line with Graduate School requirements (due June 1st)
4) Complete conference paper (today!)
5) Work on conference powerpoint/presentation
Schedule: Today is devoted to the conference paper. Tuesday is filled with non-work things I’ve been putting off. Wednesday-Friday work 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

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Spring Writes: Week 12

Writing OPULENCE.
Writing OPULENCE.

Here we are, at the end of the first Spring Writes! I hope everyone found the experience to be at least somewhat useful. If you haven’t added your goals for our last week yet, do so in the comments! And next week we’ll have one last post for any final thoughts before we take a break. Summer Writes will start up in May, so watch this space for updates!

Weekly Goals:

Nicole: Move on to the next thing this week too (probably methods and intro). Defense is still being scheduled but it could be pretty soon so I need to wrap up/ do intro, conclusion and methods chapters that are outlined.

Meg: This week’s goal is to make big headway on a book chapter that is due May 31st on ethnographic fieldwork and prisoner reentry activism. (I must set aside the other stuff as my advisor won’t be able to weigh in on that until next week at the earliest). So far I have a detailed outline of this chapter. Mini-goals for this week:
Monday (today): finish drafting one section (how I entered into the research setting) and re-read a few key articles that will spur my thinking about the other sections.
Wednesday: read through analyses of my field notes and start mapping out my data sections.
Friday: start piecing together a brief lit review on others’ approaches to fieldwork on reentry, institutional barriers to reentry, etc.

Dan: Tuesday I’m going to come home and do eight poms from 3 to 730, and then do eight poms each Wednesday through Saturday, working 1 to 530.

Spring Writes: Week 10

We (set writing goals) flawless(ly).
We (set writing goals) flawless(ly).

Sorry for the tardiness in posting! I entered my thirties on Monday with an awesome head cold, so I’ve been a little out of sorts and playing catch up all week. Next week we’ll be back to our regular schedule, I promise.

In the meantime, check out this time management post from Natalie Houston at ProfHacker. I’ve been interested in the GTD method for a while now, but (ironically) can’t seem to find the time to learn more about it. I’ve been using the pomodoro method for some time now, along with very long and detailed to-do lists, but we all want to be more productive, right? So, any GTD aficionados out there? Whether or not you are, tell us about your approach to time management in the comments!

And now, your weekly goals:

Nicole: My goal for this week is to actually make empirical Ch. 3 of my diss. coherent. I had to redo some of the analysis. I am still trying to make it clear and logically follow the last one better. Also, getting from concepts to measures has to be clearer. Separate goal: do the writing for my joint paper, writing up what we laid out in our meeting.

Meg: My main aim for this week is to firm up some analysis I’ve been working on for what will eventually be a diss. chapter. I’m presenting this analysis at a grad. student conference on Friday. To do this, I want to commit to myself to work on my stuff tomorrow (Monday) from 11am to 3pm, Wednesday from noon to 4pm, and Friday morning before the conference.

Spring Writes: Week 4

I'm no angel either... when it comes to demolishing weekly writing goals!!!
I’m no angel either… when it comes to demolishing weekly writing goals!!!

Welcome to Week Four, Spring Writers! This week we’re joined by Mike, who was also part of Fall Writes. Welcome, Mike!

If you’re looking for some writing inspiration, tips on setting a daily writing goals, or just another blog post about how important accountability is, check out Ryan Cordell’s “Writing 20 Minutes Every. Single. Day.” at ProfHacker.

Here are your writing goals for the week:

Sarah: Draft the conference proposal I didn’t get around to last week; continue the long process of finding a discussant for UHA; two full days at NARA working with a new record group; one evening session at LoC to keep up on historiography.

Mike: Monday: 4 poms on Russian Ethnography.
Tuesday: 4 poms on football fandom article and 6 poms on candidacy readings. Make sure to pick up books from the library that you should be reading that day!
Wednesday: 2 poms on Russian ethnography and 2 poms on writing abstract for the conference.
Thursday: 4 poms on Dissertation proposal and 4 poms on readings.
Friday: 4 poms on dissertation proposal and 2 on formal aspects of Russian.
Weekend: Revise methodology section of Fulbright proposal.

Nicole: 1) Chapter 2 is still my main agenda. I am working on it still, not as far as I had wanted to be (target was 2/12 to be done with this draft– ugh). To continue my mining metaphor, I am still pulling things/ “gems” into my revised outline from two 50 ss page documents of raw material (one of prior examples, the other of prior lit and analysis). There have been more things I have been pulling up to make tables that I will or will not use, fill out examples, etc. So, still in media res, though the place of this chapter in the progression of the whole diss. is much clearer now that I revised all my chapter summaries (was not in last week’s goal list but got done this week). In a week’s time I hope to be closer to being done (though I have another commitment beginning Thurs. AM). [Still working on tasks 2, 4, 5 + 6 from last week.]
2) I may be able to get a paper back to a journal this week– out of my hands somewhat– will take a bit of time if so.

Bunny: Better focus, less distraction! Post two papers, discussion question post/reply , and get research accomplished for at least one additional paper!

Meg: Tuesday: work on my stuff from 2 to 5pm
Wednesday: 9am to 1pm
Thursday: 2 to 5pm
Friday: 9am to 1pm

Dan: My time goals are going to be four poms Tuesday and eight Wednesday through Saturday, but on top of that, I’m going to block off the same time Wednesday through Saturday to do this. So on all of those days, I’m going to write from 1 to 5:30.