Seeking Help (Summer Writing Group, Week 9)

I find in my writing that I wait way too long to ask others for help. I get mired in my stuck-ness and forget that I have friends and colleagues who would be happy to lend an ear or a readerly eye. At times I’ve gone weeks before I’ve reached out to other writers. They might offer some constructive feedback, encourage me with a cheery “keep going!”; whatever help they give, it’s always gotten me unstuck. Sometimes just asking for help makes all the difference. Last week I made it all the way to panic on Friday, managed to convince myself to send what I had off to my writing partner that afternoon, and on Saturday I had a productive writing session. I clearly need to learn to shorten the time between when I start to be stuck and when I ask for help. What’s your strategy?

What triggers you to ask for help? Who do you ask for help? What kind of help do you ask for?

Feel free to give us your mid-summer assessment in your comment this week, if you didn’t get a chance to last week. If you’re revising your summer goal, please check what’s listed next to your name and update it in your comment (see below).

Check in by noon Monday: 1) Goals, 2) Accomplished, 3) Analysis, 4) Goals for next week, 5) optional Next check in date, if you’ll miss a week or two or three. 6) optional Revised summer goal (please make it succinct so I can cut and paste it into the list)

Here’s what you said you’d try to do this week:

Amstr [complete dissertation]: 1) 15 pages of Ch. 3 revisions, 2) finish Ch. 2 draft, 3) re-read article version of Ch. 1, outline, make a list of things to research, 4) use work time to work, and work 2 evenings.
[journal article]:  Figure out how to explain this last set of results. I will do this by continuing to read at least 2 papers a day.
Contingent Cassandra
[full draft of J article by 8/24; make progress on P projects; continue freelance work.]: research and write current freelance piece, keeping good track of hours spent and observing work patterns.
[finish thesis]: write 2 hours every day
[finish and submit MMP and article]: polished draft with notes and formatted to journal style, printed out for final proofreading before submission.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
[progress on diss or article]: Writing an hour and a half a day four times a week. Assess and tweak goals for the rest of the summer.
[2 articles submitted; work on 1 of 2 articles]: finishing-up of EOCP results, analysis of one MC study, and planning of the last MC study; grade two student theses.
[draft of new chapter; edit article]: finish the primary source novel. (next check in: 7/13)
[complete book MS]: chapter 2 fully organized (next check in: 7/20)
[chip away at writing backlog]: SOME activity on ANY ONE of the following: first draft of the MSc paper, do an R&R, get a first draft of the NextBigPaper out to collaborators, do a re-rewrite of the intro to ComplicatedPaper based on the comments from co-authors that have come in along with a final polish and submit, write a plan for the next chunk of fieldwork. (next check-in possibly 7/13)
[good draft of main project; figures + results of side project]: 2/3 of Figures + captions. More work on the results.
[rough draft of journal article]: Read one article, write-out my argument(s) and evidence
[finish and submit journal article; start next article]: 1/2 Monday; 1 hour Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
[2 of 4: paper, 3 presentations]: reflecting my presentation, making a working plan for this July ~ November.
[revise 2 papers for publication]: 1). Finish revisions on article #1, 2). Work on structure of article #2
rented life
[2 solid book chapters]: Write for 10 minutes (min) on Mon-Thur. Research 2 job posting to decide on applying.
[complete diss; decide scope of new idea]: avoid the libraries, revise/proofread at least one chapter of the diss.
[draft of TS and analysis for BE]: Continue reading for LM paper, go back to the data for the TS paper so I can continue with findings section; write analysis memo for BE paper.
Trapped in Canadia
[2 diss. chapters; 1 turned into edited book ch.]: ? Finish the annoying book review. Complete Week 1 of WYJA.


48 thoughts on “Seeking Help (Summer Writing Group, Week 9)

  1. Last Week’s Goals: avoid the libraries, revise/proofread at least one chapter of the diss.

    Accomplished: Avoided the libraries, revised THREE chapters!

    Analysis: it’s amazing how not feeling miserable and/or guilty makes it easier to get work done. I managed to get through about 150 pages of my dissertation (about 30 pages a day, roughly) this week.

    Next week’s goals: finish this round of proofreading in preparation for sending the whole thing off to someone else for a good look.

    Next Check In: I may or may not check in next week as I’ll be travelling back to the States. I might check in, but just late, or not at all (or maybe even on-time as I kill time in the airports!).

    Revised Goals for Summer: Finish the Dissertation, have plan set up for one project for the fall.

  2. Hello, all,

    Goal: reflecting my presentation, making a working plan for this July ~ November.

    Accomplished: I did my presentation and I got lots of questions and comments. But I have not reflect my paper in detail. My revised work plan is still under construction.

    1) presentation:
    I had prepared for answers to some detailed questions, but actually, most questions and comments were in wider perspective, and I did feel I would need to consider these points deeply. So I learned a lot from my session, and this is good.

    2) revising plan:
    I am working on my new work plan. I am not going to change my summer goal: it is quite tough for me, but I do not want to withdraw any of them. If I plan well, I think they are manegeable.

    3) mid-summer assessment:
    I have been concentrating on this presentation, and I think it was not so bad, actually I am rather pleased what I have done. I am usually disappointed with my presentation, so this is unusual for me. Therefore, I am now very motivated to do other items on my to do list.

    Goals for next week: finalizing my new plan to November; writing up my presentation report.

    Seeking for help:
    well, I usually hesitate too long before seeking for help. I feel there are lots of things I need to do and can do by myself before asking for help. Why I always hesitate is perhaps I think people may see me as stupid and too dependent. I know I need help and some who are kind enough to give me some helping comments, or encourage me, but still I am very reluctant. I usually persuade myself over and over again that without help, my project would go wrong and even if they consider me stupid, still my project would be much better with somebody’s help.

    I ‘d appreciate if you could give some nice way of thinking that justify asking for help is necessary and I should do it, rather than being isolated. Wendy Belcher is always encourage us to make writing social. I agree, but still…

    • Congratulations on your presentation. I’m glad it was positive and motivating for you.

      You bring up a good point–sometimes asking for help isn’t the right thing to do. Perhaps a better question (than the ones above) is when should one ask for help? When is it too soon? When is it later than it should be?

      My dissertation advisor has actually been really slow in responding to my drafts, and I’ve found it helpful. It pushes me to do more on my own than I thought I could. So there is something in *not* getting help. On the other hand, it can be really helpful to have little bits of help getting unstuck. So what is the balance?

      It’s been helpful for me to have a writing partner, where we’ve agreed to read each other’s work at various stages. I never have to feel guilty about asking for help, because it’s a more-or-less even exchange over time.

      • Amstr, I think a writing partner would help me for much the same reasons. The balance with when to ask is difficult–I know I’ve gotten things done because I don’t have to check in all the time, but then again, I feel I need to re-introduce myself to the dissertation committee all over again.

      • EAM–is there another grad student in your program you might connect with? Someone that your advisor might recommend, if you’re not familiar with the current bunch? My writing partner is someone who’s been just slightly ahead of me in my program, and our common history and education helps smooth over any differences in current work situations. He is all the way across the country, but we’ve found sharing Google Docs to trade drafts (and use the comments feature) works really well.

  3. 1. Goal: Write an hour and a half four days a week.

    2. Accomplished: yes!

    3. Analysis: I got a kick in the behind from a colleague who is looking for book chapter proposals. One of my articles is a good fit, so although it is not a shoe-in, I am going to brush that one up in hopes of getting it approved.

    I also have been letting the creative writing simmer a bit; oddly, the two kinds of writing work a weird sort of synergy and feed on one another. It does make my brain hurt at the end of the day, though.

    4. Goal for next week: Write an hour and a half four days a week.

    5. Revised summer goal: Write book chapter proposal; keep writing at least four days a week.

    I wait far too long to ask for help. I am in the situation of the distant dissertation writer, so there is a lot of “out of sight, out of mind” with my committee and director. Of course, the longer I wait to contact them, the harder it gets, in a truly vicious cycle. My progress is very slow, and I feel as though I am wasting their time. I suffer from the embarrassment and the feeling of being outside the charmed circle; it has cost me years of progress. Amstr, little did you know this question would cut to the bone for me!

    The new day job is at a large public university doing what dozens of others in the US are doing–cutting back on the liberal arts. I did finally take the step of drafting an email to the two medievalists on the teaching faculty, hoping to find a sounding board. I will proof it one last time, and hit send tomorrow morning.

    This group has been great for the accountability, but I need the extra push from and help of a writing partner(s). I don’t feel he/she/they need(s) to be a medievalist, but I think there needs to be some common ground. Even the social sciences approach writing a bit differently from the humanities. I’m again reluctant to ask anyone, but I suppose, as you say, Amstr, having the two-way street is helpful–it all works out to the same amount of work and help in the end.

    • One other thing that’s been helpful for me: I told my advisor that I’d like to report in once a month, whether I had done anything or not, just to keep me accountable. I didn’t really care if he responded or not. It did wonders for keeping me on his radar (I’ve been long-distance for 4.5 of my 9 years), and it makes it much easier to ask for help and work with his schedule for feedback. (I can imagine there would be advisors this *wouldn’t* work with.)

    • I like amstr’s check-in approach. I finished my diss in a similar situation (in fact, one of my advisors, who joined the university after I started, had left the university by the time I finished; yes, he was pretty mobile, but I was also pretty slow, thanks in part to the department’s revolving-door staffing during the time I was diss-writing). I always felt uncomfortable “bothering” my advisors, especially if I didn’t have a finished chapter (my more involved advisor believed one could draft a chapter in a month, which didn’t help), but, in retrospect, embarrassed or not, I should have kept in better touch.

      I also agree that it’s important to find local writing partners, preferably ones at a somewhat similar stage, so the exchange can be truly reciprocal. I’ll be interested to hear whether you find TT faculty a good choice for that sort of exchange or not. I don’t think it would work at my university, since our course loads, and hence our writing paces (and requirements) are so different, and being in a writing group together would make the differences uncomfortably apparent (more for the TT faculty than the contingent ones). But what are the other choices: other staff who are also researcher/writers? grad students? contingent faculty? I suspect it’s as much a matter of the mix of personalities as anything else.

      • As I mentioned above, I haven’t found the “local” part really necessary. Google Docs sharing, email, chat, and the good ol’ phone make it possible to get and give really good feedback.

      • I’ll be interested to see what response I get as well. I am in a TT faculty position myself, so that may help somewhat. There are no medieval studies graduate students, no Ph.D. in French, and the no period other than modern in the English Ph.D.
        If I get an indifferent or negative response, I could see if there are some social science grad students willing to trade off. Wish me luck!

  4. Last goal: polished draft with notes and formatted to journal style, printed out for final proofreading before submission.

    Accomplished: partway through the notes, started formatting.

    Analysis: Basically I did mindless work on a couple of days when I was very tired/busy, and since Wednesday have been too occupied to do any more. I’m tired of field trips and touristing. I’ll be back to base camp by tomorrow night, but there are still at least two one-day interruptions coming up.

    Next goal: polished draft with notes and formatted to journal style, printed out for final proofreading before submission.

  5. Goal: read one article, write out argument(s) and evidence

    Accomplished: I read one article, re-read the main part of my dissertation that I’m trying to work with to turn it into an article, and re-read all the notes I’ve taken from lit review the last month or so. Today I realized I had found a totally different model of identity that will fit with my data way better that I use to frame my argument compared to what I thought I was going to do. And I also found a great model article (for structure) that I can use as well, something I was having a hard time finding. I have my argument and evidence roughly sketched out. I think I am finally ready to just start really writing!

    Analysis: I think (crossing my fingers) that I may be getting over the very worst of the morning sickness since the last couple days haven’t felt quite as bad. Hopefully that will mean I can make more progress weekday mornings now, since that is when I am usually more productive.

    Next Goal: Finish WYJA week 3, start week 4 if I can manage to read in the car on our trip. I will be away this coming weekend (in S. California for my sister’s baby shower), but I will try to check in if I can.

    • That sounds like real progress: finding even the beginnings of an argument *and* a structure can help a lot.

      Hope the trip goes well (and the morning sickness continues to wane). It sounds like your family is being quite fertile at the moment.

    • Have a great time at the baby shower! And congratulations on making it to the point where you have insight into what needs to happen in the paper. As CC said, that IS real progress!

  6. Goal: research and write current freelance piece, keeping good track of hours spent and observing work patterns.

    Accomplished: researched and wrote freelance piece; got a good idea of hours spent and work patterns. Also did some brainstorming on other projects related to the subject of the freelance piece (this one tied pretty closely to my interests and ongoing projects).

    Analysis: manageable goals do help, as do firm deadlines (I seem to be pretty good at turning out the freelance pieces on time, at getting revisions back to editors as agreed, and at turning out conference papers more or less on time). I also planned to spend a bit more time on research for this freelance piece than strictly necessary, since I knew it would help me get back into thinking about the general subject area of both the J article and the P project, and provide me with some additional background for both. In fact, I found that a major theme that runs through the J article also runs through the text that is the subject of the freelance piece, which I’d known about, but hadn’t read through (still haven’t, in fact, but I’m much more familiar with more of it than I was before). There might even be an article, or even, eventually, a book, in the connections; for the moment, I was able to add some notes to both J and P project files, and actually started a file for a possible new article. So, that was all quite productive. Getting myself re-acquainted with the J article (a goal for the week starting yesterday; see below) is going a bit slower; I like what I have, and I like the structure, but I seem to be having trouble getting myself back into it, probably, I suspect, because I haven’t re-read the primary sources recently enough. So, although I feel like I *should* be writing, I think that’s the goal for this coming week:

    Goal for the coming week (through Sat. 7/21): reacquaint myself with the J article-in-progress (begun); re-read J sources; start writing. Finish another freelance piece.

    Like Elizabeth Anne, I find the “getting help” question brings up some disturbing feelings about my situation. At this point in my career (post-diss, not on the tenure track), I don’t really have anyone to turn to for help, even if I were good at asking (which I’m not). I know there’s a writing group of TT faculty about my age, and in compatible fields, at my university, but, unlike newly-hired TT faculty who are good “fits,” I haven’t been invited to join (and, to be fair, it may be too established a group at this point to easily accommodate new members, but that wasn’t the case a few years ago). A few of my contingent colleagues write regularly (and/or are trying to get back into writing), but they’re mostly creative writers. As an introvert, I tend to be something of a “lone wolf” anyway, but I probably should be thinking about looking for a writing partner, or a writing group, preferably made up of people in similar enough situations that the “class” issue (TT vs. non-TT, or at least 2-2 vs. 4-4-2 load) doesn’t end up being the elephant in the room. Maybe that should be one goal for the national meeting I’ll be attending in the fall (which also offers some structured networking/advice-getting sessions, which I plan to attend).

    • Contingent Cassandra, I just wanted to encourage you to ask the writing group if you could join. I started a writing group last year and the main concern was having people who could be honest about their progress with one another, i.e. who weren’t scared of one another; so I think that you at least won’t be a threat since hopefully you won’t be reviewing the TT people’s renewal contracts, or gossiping about their lack of productivity…! Anyhow, as the founder of one of these groups (though it’s actually now defunct, since in the end I think people got too concerned about reputation) I would have been very very happy if someone who was genuinely interested in using such a group to advance themselves asked to join. It might be the case with that group too… maybe you could figure out who’s the “leader,” ask them privately, see if they could ask the group if they’d be comfortable with you joining…

  7. I need to check in late tomorrow with a goal. Moving plans shifted around on my a LOT, but we’re all in, but internet not getting set up til tomorrow pm (disconnecting tonight). Accomplished: Nothing toward goal.
    New goal: TBD.
    Thanks and sorry!! OBE I guess!

    • It was our 3rd move in 13 months! Living room is mostly unpacked and other rooms are getting there. And now I have internet!!

      So long story short, nothing was accomplished because the complex asked us to be out sooner than we planned and we had to ask them to let us in the new place sooner in order to make that happen. Most of my time was spent doing what I could while husband was at work, and yesterday little brother came and helped us finished. Frankly, I went to bed too tired and sore most nights to be disappointed in not making progress. And now I can finally unpack my desk.
      New goal: Read 1 chapter. Try again with the 10 min a day writing. (Starting Tuesday, tomorrow). unpack.

      Thanks for letting me be late!!!

  8. Goals: 2/3 of Figures + captions. More work on the results.

    Accomplished: I worked on some figures but didn’t quite hit the 2/3 mark, and I worked a little on the results. I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped this week.

    Analysis: It was a hard week experimentally (new protocols, having to ask for help, hunt down materials, etc.) so I didn’t have much energy left over for writing. I’m also at a weird juncture where my last 3 (or so) experiments will determine a good deal of the content of my paper and the interpretation of previous data…so I’m finding it harder to write than expected w/o these results. Hopefully they’ll come quickly!

    Goals for next week: 2/3 of Figures + captions. More work on the results.

    Reminder to self to have something to show the adviser at the beginning of next week.

    ooo. Asking for help. Does it count if I have a sticky note on my desk that says “Ask for help” ? (The two other reminders on that note are “Do stuff” and “Talk to People”.) It’s not something I’m good at. I guess it boils down to fear — fear of being unmasked as a fraud, fear of looking stupid, fear of annoying people, fear of being told my work isn’t awesome, fear of having to do a lot more work to make something good, fear of rejection…I could probably keep going. I think that I typically have to be confident that I’m stuck — or facing a deadline — to ask for help. I’m fortunate to be in a lab setting where I have access to post docs and grad students as well as a husband/wife adviser team (who are quite involved). My plan for the papers I’m writing now is to ask people with a range of skill sets to proof them (i.e. detail people who will pick out my grammatical errors and scientific errors, big picture people who will help critique the more “big picture” sections of the papers, non-science people to get a feel for general readability, etc.). I think I’ll have to feel pretty good about my papers to ask other people read them though.

  9. Summer Updated Goals: EOCP full draft sent to collaborator, MC paper results section done, MUL data collected, MC5 fully prepped.

    Last week’s goals: finishing-up of EOCP results, analysis of one MC study, and planning of the last MC study; grade two student theses.

    Accomplished: Almost all! I did not grade the student theses.

    Analysis: I think that having specific tasks, that are doable AND give me clear evidence that I’m moving forward, is helpful. My main revelation this week was HOW MUCH LONGER it took to do these than I thought it would. Finishing up the results section took two days and about 10-12 hours; analysis took two days and many hours, maybe another 10? And planning of the study– again, many more steps are needed than just “plan study”– I looked up relevant articles, but I also have to skim the articles, find the measures they used, and decide which ones to use.

    But the successes of the week were: Because I had specific goals, I stopped myself from “going on” beyond each one, which would have prevented me from spending time on other goals. When I started feeling “Oh goodness, there is so much more to do on this…” I stopped myself, saying “Look! You’ve met your goal already. Hurrah! Let’s stop and work on the next one.” Since working for too long on something gives me tunnel vision, encouraging mostly-useless perfectionistic re-analyses and re-writing etc etc, it was very helpful to a) have a sense of accomplishment, and b) feel that I could and must break myself off.

    The lesson for me right now is to put more planning into goals. They need to be part of a greater plan with a specific end-date that has urgency for me. I need to believe in my goals, that they are not only doable but MUST be done. So, I just spent almost an hour putting down specific steps for finishing two papers, and fitting them into calendar weeks. Sadly it seems that I might not be able to get my MC paper off before the end of the summer, but it’ll be OK; and especially after seeing how much TIME things took last week, it’s a useful reality check– there’s no need to beat myself up about all the different projects I thought I should have done by now, because realistically, even if I had been working on them better this summer, I would not have completed them. I just need to actually keep working on them step-by-step.

    Goals for next week:
    EOCP: 1st paragraph of Discussion, look up & skim new articles for Intro topics
    MCP paper: MC3 write-up finishing, Analyze MC2 and write-up or collect more data, prepare for MC1 analysis.
    MUL: Look up manipulations, prep for data-collection help.
    And some teaching/committee work.

    • I like your self-talk in your analysis above. Sometimes knowing when to stop working on something is key. And it sounds like you have a better sense of how your time will go this summer. Congratulations on all the progress!

  10. 1. Goal: Finish primary source.

    2. Accomplished: Yes! I finsihed it! And I typed up a handful of quotations, even as the children were hanging on my arms.

    3. Analysis: Yesterday morning was my morning to sleep in (Hubby and I alternate). And, instead of sleeping in, I got up and worked. Having just come back to the Rockies from the East Coast, it was easy because my time clock thought 6:00am was really 8:00am.

    Getting Help: I feel okay about this. Like others of you, I am a far-flung dissertator. My uni is in Wales, and I live in California, and I work full time at a community college where folks in my department are not doing research. At first, I was relying only on my supervisor, but last year I formed a partnership with a faculty member at the nearby four-year university where I got my MA (she wasn’t there when I was, but we got to know each other in a book group). She was TT until this year, and now she’s tenured. Her time period and region are totally different from mine, but she’s a lit person, too, so it works. Even though we’re at very different stages, we’ve been able to help each other.

    When I’m doing a chapter or article, I like to work on my own until I feel as if my basic argument is clear and that I’ve got some structure. This is usually when the chapter is at about 17-20 pages. At that point, feedback is great because I can find out if the argument is clear, if the structure is working, and what needs more attention. I usually ask my writing partner for help before I send off to my supervisor. I also, of course, like help during the polishing and proofreading, and, for that, Amstr is on my go-to list! (Thanks, Amstr!).

    This year I also submitted an article, and the peer review feedback (one positive, one extremely negative), was VERY helpful. I think the value of this kind of help might be overlooked by neophytes like myself.

    4. Next goal: Read and annotate one article that I’ve been itching to look at.

    5. I’ll check in next week!

    6. I’m going to review my overall goal to this: Short draft–10 pages–of new dissertation chapter.

  11. Goal:

    I need to do some mid-term assessment Monday; I can’t post much about that now. I definitely need to change work (procrastination) patterns.
    1/2 Monday; 1 hour Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.


    Monday: 15 minutes reflection/assessment
    Wednesday: nada
    Thursday: 1 hour 10 minutes
    Friday: 40 minutes, in a couple small bits

    Analysis: An analysis of what worked/what didn’t
    I didn’t hit my goal, but I got closer than I have in a month. I don’t know exactly what made the difference, but things just felt and worked better on Thursday and Friday. I was squeezing in some editing at times when I wouldn’t normally have tried (25 minutes before kid’s dentist appt, 15 minutes before an appointment of my own). As much as I want to blame my problems on character flaws, I think a med change at the beginning of the summer contributed to the writing funk and another med change last week helped re-ignite my writing energy.

    Taking some time for reflection and assessment helped too. I may even have a realistic writing goal for the *fall* planned!

    Next Goal:
    1 hour MWThF; get through the editing for organization
    Get to bed on time. This probably means avoiding the computer after dinner.

    Revised goal for rest of summer:
    Finish and submit current article-in-progress and submit a different, rejected ms to a new journal.

    • Congratulations on what you got accomplished this week! Sometimes using those little bits of time can make a huge difference. (I learned this when I was working on my dissertation with 2 children under age 3 and no outside childcare.) Those little bits of time can really add up. And congrats too on the fall plans!

  12. Goal: Read at least 2 papers a day

    Accomplished: I only read 4 or so papers last week.

    Analysis: I was sidetracked by being asked to learn a new method in the lab. This required me to be away from my desk and busy for most of the day.

    New goal: Keep reading. At least one paper a day. This should be do-able

    Asking for help? I’m really bad about it, for all the reasons other people have listed. It’s all fear based. I shouldn’t be afraid anymore, I’m in a much better work environment than I was while in grad school, but it’s still scary. Thanks for this prompt, maybe it will be the push I need to finally ask for some help!

    • Finding people you can trust to ask for help is key, I think, but that means taking risks to see how it works. Sometimes having someone in your field but not at your place of business can be good too–connecting with someone at a conference, for instance.

      And 4 papers is better than no papers!

  13. Goal: Continue reading for LM paper, go back to the data for the TS paper so I can continue with findings section; write analysis memo for BE paper.

    Accomplished: I read 8 articles and took notes for the LM paper; I edited the findings section of the TS paper but have not made it back to the data yet; I’m halfway through a very long analysis memo for the BE paper.

    Analysis: The reading is going well but, as is always the case, I’m finding more readings and so the task seems never ending right now. Editing the TS findings was helpful but I need some time to get back to the data. The analysis is going very well for the BE paper but it is a larger task than I anticipated. Overall I think I had a great week because I am right in the middle of the heaviest grading point for my online class (last week and this week will be the worse). I also took 2 whole days off of work completely, which is something I rarely do but has helped a lot.

    Next Week’s Goal: Continue reading for LM; start reading for another paper; look at the data for the TS findings; finish the analysis memo for the BE paper.

    Asking for help is something I rarely do but know that I should do more. I have been cultivating a few colleagues that I can bring my work to but it is hard to burden them. It is an ongoing struggle.

  14. Sorry to be checking in so late.

    Last week’s goal: : 1). Finish revisions on article #1, 2). Work on structure of article #2

    Accomplished: Nothing

    Analysis: Had a bad allergy week coupled with some blood sugar problems that may or may have not been related to hormones. So I spent a couple of days just try to recover and regroup.

    I did manage to check a couple of projects off my list though they were not related to my writing projects. I finished a book review that was overdue and I finished writing a grant for a local non-profit. I’m hoping that that productivity will help me jump start this week.

    So next week’s goal remains the same: 1). Finish revisions on article #1, 2). Work on structure of article #2

    Asking for help? I’m not always good at asking for help. Fear is probably a big motivator. I tend to get tongue-tied. I’m at heart an introvert though I can become in the classroom. Funny, I encourage my graduate students to seek help often from me, from other professors, but I’m not very good at doing so myself. Hmmm, perhaps I should work on that.

    • Oops, typing too fast. In that last paragraph, I meant to say that I’m at heart an introvert, but can become an extrovert in the classroom.

      • Maybe we’re sisters. I tend to be more introverted but in the classroom I’m an extrovert and enjoy it (though it’s tiring).

  15. I’m a bit OBE over here–my full, fun weekend was full and fun, and my planned Sunday afternoon writing time was hijacked by a desperately needed nap which was interrupted by an exploding water heater. But of Thoreau could write in a tiny shack by a lake, I should be able to write with no hot water.

    Goals: 1) 15 pages of Ch. 3 revisions, 2) finish Ch. 2 draft, 3) re-read article version of Ch. 1, outline, make a list of things to research, 4) use work time to work, and work 2 evenings.

    Accomplished: 1) YES, 2) just about–I need to do a final proofread and make my conclusion not so terrible before I send it off to my advisor, 3) nope, 4) pretty good–did the evening work.

    Analysis: I was too optimistic about my weekend work time, and then the water heater. I’m thankful for kind neighbors who let us use their shower, and another who capped a water pipe so we can at least have running cold water.

    The draft went fairly well after I got moving on it. I’m sure I’ll have much to revise about it, but I think I have something coherent to work with. Once I send it in, I’ll be over halfway through the dissertation draft!

    Goals for next week: 1) 18 final pages of Ch. 3 revisions, 2) proofread Ch. 2 and send to advisor, 3) re-read article version of Ch. 1, outline, make a list of things to research, attempt to write a bad introduction, 4) use work time well and work 2 evenings.

    • Thoreau went home to dinner at his mother’s every night (and she did his laundry, which means he didn’t have to worry about procuring hot water, which required significant effort in those days). So — brilliant man and writer, inspiring and thought-provoking in many ways, but not actually an example of self-sufficiency. Or, to put it another way, to be like Thoreau, you need to *have* a supportive mother (or, perhaps, wife), not be engaged in being one.

      Sounds like you made very good progress, water heater or no water heater. I hope the repair/replacement/cleanup process isn’t too time-consuming.

    • oh, exploding water heater sounds like an adventure! Yay for good neighbors! Congrats on the work you’ve gotten done despite the busyness.

  16. I managed to post this to week 8, not week 9 – oops!

    Back again! For six days. But I have writing goals, so I will declare them here.

    goals three weeks ago: SOME activity on ANY ONE of the following: first draft of the MSc paper, do an R&R, get a first draft of the NextBigPaper out to collaborators, do a re-rewrite of the intro to ComplicatedPaper based on the comments from co-authors that have come in along with a final polish and submit, write a plan for the next chunk of fieldwork.

    (next check-in possibly 7/13)

    achieved: none of those things. There are a few notes on the plans for the next bit of fieldwork… mostly in my head

    analysis: I always think I will do more than I can actually do. However, this time, the main problem was that I EXPECTED and PLANNED to be able to not go out in the field every day, intending to have writing time at the field station some days, but this just didn’t work out – partly because I am a wimp who dislikes confrontation. Wheneevr I did have an hour or so when I might have worked, I spent it escaping into a novel or sleeping or playing cards with the rest of the field team – I needed to take care of my mental health, and so that was probably the right thing to do, but oh, so much writing needs doing!

    goals: I am back for five full days. My goals are to complete some refereeing, write research plans for my summer students and for the next piece of fieldwork, and make progress on at least two of the items in the last list

    next check in: I intend to check in this Friday coming but if not it will be 3rd August.

    I’ll assess my progress so far then. Too depressing to think about now, to be honest…

  17. Sorry I missed checking in for the week. Major OBE – house hunting trip was less than successful and a couple of days after I got back we were at the hospital with really sick toddler. She’s all better now, but it was scary and the week’s goals are so far on the back burner that I can’t even see them. Better luck next week right? Same goals, hope to be closer to getting them accomplished.

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