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.

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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.

Writing in Chunks

On Facebook, this post sparked some discussion of Scrivener, which is in some ways the ideal writing platform for this kind of approach, because of the split-screen and index card functions. However, I do all of my initial note-taking in Zotero. I use it in conjunction with a background app called BetterSnapTool, which lets you divide your (Mac) screen in a number of different ways. I have keyboard shortcuts to send a window to fill the left half of the screen, and one to do that for the right side of the screen. So it’s easy for me to pop a PDF into the left half of my screen, and a Zotero note window into the right half, and plug away. I like Zotero because you can make things taggable, searchable, linkable, and to keep everything paired with the original source, without having to import the file into the program. Once I’ve taken all of my notes, I have a better idea about what’s important in the story, and I can start dropping the text I’ve already written into Scrivener, where I can start playing with the structure. It’s not the most efficient way to write, but it got the job done.

Claire Bond Potter

Confession: I have not been writing this book in chapters. I have been writing it in chunks.

We always imagine other historians sitting down, calmly and coolly at their desks, putting all the documents in the right order, and starting to write. I actually did that with my first book, but there was a secret: I was working with FBI files, and they all had numbers. The numbers more or less sequenced the narrative for me. I could then use colored post-its to mark out various themes (“gender,” “the state,” “kidnapping,” and so on.) Even when I went to archives not organized by J. Edgar Hoover — the Department of Justice, the FDR LIbrary — there really wasn’t that much to collect, and it all went together pretty easily.

Not this time. My files (paper and virtual, since I switched midway through the research) are just crazy. There are the…

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AIDS Image Quilt

ImageQuilt of AIDS activist art made using ImageQuilt Chrome Extension.
ImageQuilt of AIDS activist art made using ImageQuilt Chrome Extension.

Inspired by this ProfHacker post, I made a quick ImageQuilt based on a Google image search of “aids activist art.” The interface seems relatively easy, and it could make for the basis of an interesting assignment—maybe one to talk about curation or visual rhetoric. If you were teaching about how to construct effective web searches, you could make ImageQuilts based on different search entries and have students compare the resulting quilts.