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.