Starting Summer (Writing Group 2012): Week Zero

Welcome to Week Zero!

As you’re planning for summer writing, think really hard about what you wish you could accomplish this summer, and what you can really accomplish this summer. There’s little sense in ending the summer depressed because you didn’t accomplish an impossible goal. Be generous with yourself. Have high, but reasonable expectations. Some of us might have things we have to accomplish this summer, so think creatively about how you can get those things done. Can you map out your plan with help from Wendy Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks or another guide? Is it better for you to have two projects going at once, or to complete one and then move on to the other? What will you do if you feel yourself falling behind the progress you need to make?

As with previous versions of this group, the goal here is not to accomplish everything we wish we could, but to set achievable weekly goals which lead to solid, regular progress on our projects. (Possible group motto: Less guilt, more writing.) We’ll have a week in the middle of summer to reassess what we’ve done so far and to recalibrate larger goals.

Consider the shape of your summer. How will non-writing events change your available writing time and energy over the next 15 weeks? For instance, I’ve got a crazy May because of extra kid activities near the end of school, and I’ll have a crazy September with my youngest starting kindergarten. I’ve also got brief vacations at either end of the summer. So my summer might be shaped like a stretched out bell curve–a ramp up in May and early June, solid work in June and July, with a tapering near the end of August. I’d expect to have smaller goals in the beginning and end of summer, and more demanding ones in the middle. What about you?

Check in this week: be sure to report your goal for the summer if you haven’t already, and state your goal for the week. If you’re still in recovery mode after the end of the semester, make it a planning week, or just take a much-needed break and do something fun. Just comment that you’ll post your first goal next week.

Starting May 18, check in with the following:

  1. Goal: The past week’s goals
  2. Accomplished: What you accomplished during the week
  3. Analysis: An analysis of what worked/what didn’t
  4. Next Goal: The next week’s goals
  5. Next Check In (optional): Your next check in date, if you’re planning to miss any number of weeks

Feel free to spread the word. I’ll continue to add people to the group until June 1. If you’d like to be added, just leave a comment below.

Roll call:

Amstr [complete dissertation]
[journal article]
Contingent Cassandra
[complete book MS]
[finish thesis]
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
[progress on diss or article]
[2 articles submitted; work on 1 of 2 articles]
[submit article; misc small deadlines]
[draft of new chapter; edit article]
[complete book MS]
[chip away at writing backlog]
[submit article; materials/methods + research sections of thesis]
[rough draft of journal article]
[something ??]
[tentative: finish and submit journal article]
[2 of 4: paper, 3 presentations]
[2 book projects; various MS]
[R&R MS; submit MS#2; outline review article]
rented life
[article & old project submitted; prelim new project]
[2 chapters/book proposal]
[complete diss/book proposal]
Trapped in Canadia
[finish 1st draft of diss]


37 thoughts on “Starting Summer (Writing Group 2012): Week Zero

  1. I’m going to spend the week trying to work out exactly what I should be working on. I need to write another article or two, just to get more out there, so I’ll be looking at taking a bit out of my thesis. I also want to start work on turning the thesis into a book – which could be hard, given that it came out in two almost separate halves (tied together under the term ‘identity’).

    I’ll also be looking at “Writing your Journal Article in 12 Weeks” – to see if it will help.

    • I hope the planning goes well!

      A colleague of mine recommended William Germano’s Getting It Published to help with book proposals. Germano has also written From Dissertation to Book. I haven’t looked at either one.

      Does anyone else have recommendations?

      • Thanks for those suggestions – I’ll see if our library has them. One of my markers also gave me suggestions for ‘when it becomes a book’, as separate from the changes to pass it in the here-and-now. I should definitely not let those go to waste!

  2. This week is about organizing and outlining the introductory chapter, which is also a writing sample on which a clock is ticking.

  3. Thank you for hosting this summer writing group, amstr, and nice to see you everyone! I hope we will make the most of this precious opportunity.

    I am going to concentrate on my Leeds paper till July, then move to the next presentation in the end of August. Also I am going to prepare for an essay due in early October.

    First, I am planning to send my revised draft of my Leeds paper to somebody in the end of May or at least early June to comment on that (then I will have several weeks to revise it) so I am concentrating on this till the end of May.

    Amstr recommends Belcher’s book(WYJA), and I am with her. The book helped me enormously when I was trying to write a journal article last year. This time I am going to work on with this book again, with lots of shortcuts, though.

    Goals this week: working on Week 2 & 3 of WYJA; writing at least 15 minutes daily.

  4. Summer Goal: Thesis completion, will be happy if it gets submitted in the Fall, but I want most of my part of the work done.

    Intermediate Goal: I have 4 papers to write, so I’m going to concentrate on the first two for a while. They are the spawn of one large paper that is being split up into more digestible parts, so a lot of the written work already done will be revised and divided up. We’ll call them the Data and Divisions papers for this discussion so I can remember which they are.

    Week 1 Goal: Get Data paper revised to a readable level. That includes fixing some figures, and coming up with a decent page-size summary figure (truly the bane of my existence).

    • I like how you’ve defined what you need to do to get to “readable level.” It’s easy to have a vague goal and not get more specific with it; that scenario often leads to little work getting done. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your summary figure.

  5. Summer schedule has unexpectedly changed, so I won’t be able to participate in this session of the writing group after all. Thank you for the kind welcome though, Amstr, and I’ll be interested to read about how you all progress. Good luck on your projects!

  6. This week is def. a planning week for me. I have some personal decisions that need to be made and gotten out of the way (or at least started) before I can really get into writing. Plus I really need to 1) recover and 2) revist my original project and see what’s going on with it. Summer Goal coming soon! For now it’s recover, read and plan.

  7. This week (and most of May) will be writing-lite as we’re pushing to finish experiments and come to agreement with several collaborators on the structure of our paper(s). June and July will likely be full of writing. 🙂 This makes May a good time to do little bits of my thesis to keep it moving.

    This week’s goal: Write up two sections of materials & methods for my thesis.

  8. This group has already been useful, in that it forced me to sit down and take a hard look at how much time there really is available this summer (especially given the fact that I’m currently just finishing the spring term and about to begin an intense 5-week summer term). Based on that, I’ve decided on an already-somewhat-whittled-down goal for the summer.

    So, goal for the summer: finish at least a full draft of the J article by 7/21 (something I could submit to a journal would be ideal; a truly complete draft that I can cut down for a scheduled fall conference presentation, then revise for submission, would be good, too, though, and might be the wiser course in terms of sending out the strongest manuscript possible). Spend the rest of the summer (c. 1 month, with some interruptions from travel and some course-pressure) on the P project, including some combination of research that requires out-of-town travel (there will definitely be some of this; one trip is already scheduled for late July), working on the article-in-progress, creating an associated web page, and/or doing a proposal for a scholarly edition of a related work. Obviously, the P project is the bigger, more multifaceted one; that’s one reason I’m starting with J. Except for this week, when I have some work on an earlier part of the P project to complete (which will probably also pop up again now and then between now and July; the good news is that at the end I’m pretty much guaranteed a published article). So,

    Goal for this week: reply to editor’s changes in P article-in-revision/editing (done today! hurrah!), complete two related ancillary tasks. Oh, and get grades in and materials for the summer course up on the LMS.

    Thanks again to Amstr for hosting, and best wishes to all for a productive summer.

    • Oops. “course-pressure” should read “course-prep-pressure.” And I meant to add that the summer term ends at the end of June, and I haves scheduled a week-10 days off (at home) between then and the 4th. So there’s about 5 weeks of working on the J article while teaching (online) in there, and 2 additional weeks just before the 21st, after taking a bit of a break and spending a few days reorganizing/regrouping, during which I can really focus just on finishing the article. I hope that will work. If I ended up stealing another few days-week out of the P project period to rest and regroup before the semester starts, I wouldn’t feel bad about that, either.

    • It sounds like you’re being realistic, especially about the rest you’ll need in order to sustain your teaching, writing, and researching. And congrats on already accomplishing one of your goals!

  9. I’ll be doing week 1 in the “Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks” book (Thanks, amstr!) My in-laws are arriving on Tuesday for a week, so hopefully I’ll finish that in the next two days!

  10. I have two papers to present in June. One is already drafted (P&P) and the other is still in the analysis phase (LM). So my goal for the first half of the summer is to get both of these papers ready for the conference. I’m not sure yet what my goal will be for the second half of the summer.

    My goal for next week is to write two more analysis memos for the LM paper.

    • Sorry I’m a tad late (stupid migraine) anyway – my first step/goal is to finish polishing up my proposal for this particular paper/presentation. Second step/goal after that is to either go through the last of the secondary sources for this topic taking notes, OR to go back to my notes on the primary source from a related paper and copy over whatever is applicable. Reading back through that is for later in the summer when I’m traveling, since I have them on kindle.

      • I just finally went looking for my pseudonym from the writing group before the one before this one and found that I had chosen Adelaide – but since I obviously couldn’t remember it (well truthfully it’s the only pseudonym I’ve got at the moment, now that I don’t generally post on the Internet anymore like I did in forums and the like in college) I decided I’d go back to my first real pseudonym I ever used on the Internet – Aria – in honor of the very good friends I made under that pseudonym back in the day, and whom I do still miss even if I’d never find the time to spend that much time on a discussion board discussing a tv show anymore…

    • tracynicholrose–I like the idea of dividing the summer into halves. Sometimes a 15-week stretch seems very long. I’m going to have to re-look at my summer and figure out some intermediate goals. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Hey, everybody!

    First, I need to spend more time developing this current chapter draft–getting it from 23 pages to about 30 pages, and cleaning it up a bit. I’d like to do that within the next week so that I can send it off to my PhD supervisor, whom I’ll be visiting at the end of the month.

    I have two other goals for the summer: write a new chapter draft and revise an article.

    The problem are these: I’m going to be on the road most of the summer, and as much as I wish otherwise, I rarely get much done when we’re on the road. We’re leaving around June 25th, and I’m hoping to get something significant finished before we leave. Then, on the trip, I can tinker with the drafts. The other problem is that I have college service work to do this summer (writing a handbook) that is related to the college crisis. I’m not sure how I’m going to fit everything in.

    Either way, I’ll be clarifying my goals after visiting my supervisor. For this week, my goal is to clean up my chapter draft and add five pages.

  12. My summer goal is to complete my thesis draft. In it’s current state, I’ve got an intro (done and with advisor), Ch. 1 (article form; 1/2 length), Ch.2 (article form; needs 2000 more words), Ch. 3 (needs 2000+ more words), Ch. 4 (nothing yet–will be mostly a synthesis chapter), Conclusion (nothing yet–will likely be 5-6 pages). I’m likely to get interrupted sometime during the summer with a book article that’s with the editors now. I’m hoping that doesn’t throw me off too much.

    My first big goal is to get Ch. 3 finished so I can send it on the rounds to writing partner and advisors. I’m setting a word-count goal–2000 words–and I’m hoping that will take me to the end of the chapter. If not, I’ll get to finish it up next week. I also have notes to take on two articles that I read a while back.

  13. This week is going to be a planning week for me. I’m moving back to the States next weekend, so I need to pack and do the million necessary little things that will make this move happen. I also need to reevaluate my summer writing plan to incorporate finishing two articles and I have to (gulp) meet with my supervisor to discuss said revised summer writing plan before I escape Canada.

  14. My goal for this week is to a) Sit down and plan for the summer as a whole; and b) Write rough drafts of both Intro and Discussion for my “EOCP” paper (both very short, should definitely be less than 1000 words each).

  15. I have mapped out my summer projects. I’m hoping this will be the summer of productivity, but also the summer of rest.

    For this group, I plan to revise a paper I wrote for a graduate seminar several years ago. While I need to update it, it’s still relevant (“evergreen,” as Belcher says in WYJA). It also fits well with the research agenda that I outlined this past semester for my first year review. So this week will be a transition week, providing some much needed rest and some much needed planning time. So my goal for the week is to simply identify what needs to be done and make a plan for the remainder of the summer.

    • I’m late to comment this week as I just returned from a conference – a really wonderful conference that made me realize why I love my discipline. So, with renewed enthusiasm, these are my summer goals and my goals this week (or the couple of days that remain).

      My big goal for the summer is to learn how to write in a balanced way. I realize that, even now three years out of the dissertation, I’ve never really developed a regular writing routine, instead interspersing periods of guilty doing nothing with awful over-working. So, for me, at least 30 minutes every day, no matter what, is going to be key. The 30 minutes minimum is important for me as I will be in the field (Southeast Asia) conducting research for June and July, and because for these next two weeks I will be packing up my home here and driving my belongings across the US. I vow to write every day, knowing that this will be a challenge.

      My goals – to get a book chapter written (its from the dissertation, so rewritten really) and out to readers by 15th June – with a view to getting the whole book proposal (already written) out by 1st July.
      Then, working on an article to be submitted to readers on 26th July. The article is already drafted, but needs more work.
      Then, another article (a rejected piece – although now I see that the reviewers were right and I think I know how to fix it) to be submitted by the end of the summer, 1st September.

      My goal this week – work at least 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week.
      My task – review books and consider how to structure mine. Confirm which chapter I will be working on and make a clear list of the tasks necessary to complete it. Choose and scan material to take with me to the field.

  16. I am having a bad week and it’s only Tuesday. My “real” goals for the summer are to finish and submit both the MMP and an article version of my recent conference paper. I think this is realistic because they are companion pieces. But my goal for this week is to do something, anything, useful and work-related every day from here on out. We spent all day yesterday at the vet . . . very much Not Good, and the head-state is Bad.

  17. Sorry I didn’t check in until now. I was at Kalamazoo, and got back and six hours later started my two weeks of 40-hours-in-committee-meetings. I’m revising my goals for the summer: finish the dissertation, and figure out if the idea I got at Kzoo for a paper should either be a full blown essay or just a note. I have to put off the book proposal because I’m pretty sure I’ve been semi-scooped, and I’m going to need some time to figure out how I’ll need to reframe my project, and I’m going to put that off until fall, after the dissertation has been defended.

    Goal for this week: work on latest revisions for chapter 5 now that I have comments back from my advisor.

  18. Since I am still being wishy-washy about which project to pursue, I am planning each of them this week to see what works best. I am twelve-month faculty, so my summer is like every other semester, except parking on campus is easier 🙂

    Part of me thinks that doing the detail work (textual notes and commentary) on the diss would be easier to fit into that, but part of me wants to do the article that I got the grant monies to do. How much of that is the magpie “ooh, shiny new idea” is what I need to figure out this week.

    Goal for the week: outline the article; list what is left of the diss and fit it into a realistic schedule; think; rinse; repeat.

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