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MDC Academic Writing Club

post #1 of 136
Thread Starter 

Following on the conversation from the MDC Professor Mom's thread:

 

Dissertation writers, postdocs, profs with those pesky writing tasks that have no deadline, and yet your career depends upon getting them done.  Post daily your goals and accomplishments for making daily writing a habit with the backdrop of other demands for our time, be them teaching, lab work, administrative work, job searches, parenting, etc.

 

The point is to make daily writing a habit.  Keep the daily requirements small and manageable.  This keeps from overwhelming your day with the need to write, but keeps the essence of the writing project in your head.

 

Post who you are, make a code for dealing with the papers/chapters to keep notes, then make a day's reasonable goal (15-20 minutes or a paragraph, or editing a 2 page section...) then update when done.  Mini rewards help some people keep the motivation going.

 

So far, it looks like those interested are geofizz, realrellim, Carita, namaste (?), and Kaybee.  Sign on if I missed you.

post #2 of 136
Thread Starter 

Me:  Prof at Humongous State University awaiting a rubber stamp from the provost for tenure.  Two kids. No non-promotion raises next year, sapping all remaining motivation for productivity.

 

Most Pressing Writing Projects:

Grad Student's Core Paper (CP)

Rewrite HRingEOS paper (HR) <- promised to coauthors by January 1, 2011

Finish AlH paper (AlH) <- promised to coauthor by end of quarter (3 weeks)

Finish hol paper (hol) <- promised to coauthor by end of January 2011

Write Enst paper (Bam) <- will need to go out simultaneous with AlH

 

(plus, I kid you not, 6 more with the data analysis done)

 

Today:

So far - rewrote CP abstract, still needs work, rewrote first paragraph of CP introduction

 

To do:  tackle his discussion section, minimum of 20 minutes of focused attention on the discussion.

 

Goal:  Get paper back to grad student by the end of Tuesday.

 

Edit:  Managed lots of focused time on the implications of the CP, but not much in the way of discussion writing except for a wishy washy one paragraph that says "if things move really slowly, it takes a long time"  <Sigh>

 

May have to revise those goals...

post #3 of 136

Can I join?

 

I have a great book suggestion: How to Write a Lot -- it's short, sweet and has a good style. OK, the guy who wrote it probably has a lighter teaching load than I do, but it's got good advice. The hardest one (especially for those of us in more teaching institutions) is that writing time is as holy as teaching time. DO NOT SCHEDULE ANYTHING DURING YOUR WRITING TIME. Carve that out first, and make other things follow. Save the mindless grading/whatever until after you have done your writing.

 

Me:  Associate Professor at Very Large Urban University. Tenured. 2 kids. Put research agenda on hold while kids were little. Kids are now 6 and 9, and I don't have that excuse anymore! 2 courses/quarter teaching load, heavy advising load + committee work. No raises in sight until the economy improves. If I want to move up in pay, I need to get promoted to Full Professor, and I don't have the publications to do that. We're in the midst of hiring (while praying to all the gods that we're still allowed to hire) and so nearly all my free time is being tapped out by the search.

 

Most Pressing Projects

Start new research project on WM and Grammar acquisition

Submit Input MS (ASAP)

Write FoF paper (by end of quarter)

 

Today

Made writing goals. It's 3:28 and I have to go home and get dd to piano. That's all for today.

post #4 of 136

Thanks for starting this thread - I'm in!

 

Me: Assistant Professor, 3 years in on the tenure track, at a regional state university that expects quite a bit of research.  I usually teach 3 classes per year plus labs or lab management (for the big class).  I have two boys: 4 and 7.  My dh is also a prof and should have tenure soon. 

 

Most pressing projects:

Short paper (GT). Draft is complete but too long. I just got comments back from co-authors. Due Feb 28th.

Valley evolution paper (HolEv) that has not been started, but I've been thinking a lot about it.  Goal: Finish draft for co-authors by end of March.

Ravine paper (Rav) that I wrote a draft of a year ago but need to seriously overhaul and update before submitting.  Goal: Finish by end of semester.

Big Final Report (BFR) for a four year project that needs to be submitted mid-April. I plan to work on this during spring break primarily.

 

Goals:

I'm out of town tomorrow giving a talk, meeting with colleagues, and then visiting an old friend who's mother is seriously ill.  If I get home tomorrow night, then Wednesday's goal is to combine all of my co-author's comments on GT on Wed and finalize #s that are still written as X-Y% in the draft.  Otherwise, Wed's goal is just to update those #s and finish that one paragraph.

Immediate goal is to finish that talk!

post #5 of 136
Me: Part-time affiliate (a fancy term for adjunct, with all the usual lack of benefits and decent pay) faculty at a local college. This semester I'm teaching a classroom section of world music and two online sections of music appreciation. Two kids: 6 and 11 months. DH is tenure-track faculty at another local university and submits his portfolio this summer, iirc. I finished my dissertation two years ago and really need to publish something from it so I can eventually get something other than an adjunct job, or at least an adjunct job with better pay and maybe even benefits.

Most pressing projects: Article about the composer Toshiro Mayuzumi. After that, an article about Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock.

Tonight: listen to two Mayuzumi symphonies and write a couple of sentences about how each ties in to his Asian period.

This week's goal: write five sentences each night. Probably also look up a few extra references as well.
post #6 of 136
Thread Starter 

Yay!  People are joining the club!  Better yet, I think I figured out how to tie together the model for CP.  So, today I rework the discussion section of CP, 20 minutes of focused attention, to be completed by my 2:30 meeting that will put me in a bad mood.

 

Edit:

 

It took all day to get 20 uninterrupted minutes.  I got it on try #6, long after the afternoon meeting.  The paper was -->this close<--- to done when I noticed that my grad student's equation has nonsensical units.  I hope it's an easy resolution.  Grrr, yet the paper really is very close to done.

 

Tomorrow: My morning will be eaten away by kindergarten visits - I'm really anxious about the school's fit with DS, yet the public school around the corner is probably best able to work with him.  Afternoon: 

 

If (Grad student response = 1)

    finish CP paper;

Else

    pester grad student;

    reread review comments for HR and call coauthor;

    10 minutes focused attention on V to OH relationship;

Endif


Edited by Geofizz - 2/22/11 at 4:00pm
post #7 of 136

Me: Year 7, Associate Professor at very large state university, next academic year is sabbatical year. 4 kids - 8,6,2, 10 months. Merit raises only next year. Teaching Load: 2 in Fall, 1 in spring, 4 very needy grad students

 

Most Pressing Projects:

1. Edit grad student SK Paper (for the 5th time) Goal: by Monday Feb 28

2. Rewrite Appy Paper Goal: submit by Friday March 4

3. Work on rewrite of Erosion paper: Goal: Talk to co-author

4. Finish xsectn

 

Deadlines:

1. Read and edit 5 pages on Feb 23, 24, and 25 (15 pages total)

2. Read all the way through Feb 23 - decide what needs to be done by Feb 24

3. Talk to coauthor on Feb 23

4. squeeze 30 minutes somewhere on the 23 or 24 to work on xsectn

 

post #8 of 136
I only listened to one of the two symphonies last night, but I wrote at least five sentences about it.

Tonight's plan: listen to the other symphony and maybe one other work, and write about each.

Tomorrow's plan: listen to the third piece if it doesn't happen tonight, make a comment, and then write transition into the next section.
post #9 of 136
Quote:
Goals:

I'm out of town tomorrow giving a talk, meeting with colleagues, and then visiting an old friend who's mother is seriously ill.  If I get home tomorrow night, then Wednesday's goal is to combine all of my co-author's comments on GT on Wed and finalize #s that are still written as X-Y% in the draft.  Otherwise, Wed's goal is just to update those #s and finish that one paragraph.

Immediate goal is to finish that talk!


My talk went well, but I got back today instead of last night, so I had less time to work.

I went through co-author's comments on GT, revised the whole thing, and trimmed it down another 100 words.  I need to trim about 100-150 more words and redo my figure to be smaller. That is tomorrow's goal.  I will also update those missing #s.  Basically, I want GT done tomorrow!  Or Friday at the latest!

Off to get the boys.

post #10 of 136
Thread Starter 

Getting there, kaybee!  Real, 1 is better than none.  Great.
 

Lynn?  Namaste?  Check in!

Quote:
with him.  Afternoon: 

 

If (Grad student response = 1)

    finish CP paper;

Else

    pester grad student;

    reread review comments for HR and call coauthor;

    10 minutes focused attention on V to OH relationship;

Endif



Sigh.  All I got to was the "pester grad student" which took my whole afternoon.  Tomorrow is a topsy turvy day without enough childcare. 

 

Tomorrow

finish CP paper in light of the results of today's pestering.

 

I also *must* get a committee report written before a phone conference Friday.  It doesn't count as writing, but it takes the same brain space, and it has to get done.

post #11 of 136

Glad your talk went well kaybee

 

Deadlines:

1. Read and edit 5 pages on Feb 23, 24, and 25 (15 pages total) I did not do this today

2. Read all the way through Feb 23 - decide what needs to be done by Feb 24 I did not do this today 

3. Talk to coauthor on Feb 23 I did this - talked for 2 hours which is wht nothing else got done

4. squeeze 30 minutes somewhere on the 23 or 24 to work on xsectn 

post #12 of 136
kaybee--glad it went well and you're home.

Geo--good luck tomorrow. It's so hard to get things done without daycare. That's the single biggest issue I'm fighting with now--and the reason why now, at 11:30 pm, I'm just starting to do class prep/exercise/writing after 16 hours of wrangling whiny children who don't sleep.

Last night I listened to the symphony twice plus a couple of other works, but only managed on sentence--which I have yet to actually type out. redface.gif I'm going to do that right now. Then I'll listen to the other symphony, skim the two articles I downloaded, and write a few other sentences.

Hmmm. Perhaps I'll see if I can block out on an hour on Saturday to go somewhere and write while DH kid-wrangles.
post #13 of 136

I'm here!!!  I found you!

 

Me:

1st year Asst Prof, non tenure institution.  My defense date postponed indefinitely until I can get my act together, but will likely need to finish it to keep my contract which gets reviewed next year.  I teach 4 classes this semester one old prep and 1 new prep, just finished a search, balancing also a textbook search for a core class, a learning community proposal, a complete curriculum review - course by course, a proposal for a new major, and my 2 work-study students.  A miraculous spring defense (with revisions over the summer - my committee leaves during the summer, so its either spring or fall) would require a draft to committee by 1st week of April.  I'm not really counting on it, which is the sad part.  If I thought there was a chance, I might actually work hard for it, but I'm feeling rather lost and drowning right now.  Some progress would really help motivate me.  I have my first 4 chapters written.  I just have to add something to Ch 4, Finish some results and write up Ch 5.  Then conclusion.

 

Most Pressing Projects:

1. Finish FFW Reduction, write up, submit to prof with profuse apology on lateness:  Goal - Friday the 4th

2. Re-think measurable outcomes for Phy section, Code up framework: Goal - Wednesday the 8th

3. Validate code & write up: Goal Friday 11th

4. Get results & write up: Goal Friday 18th

5. Revisions and Conclusion - draft off Friday 25th

6. Proposal for LC: Deadline - March 31st

 

Tomorrow/This weekend:

We have a snow day - I'll have my daughter home.  I just want to catch up on prepping, but I am going to make the strong effort to spend 30 min each day on #1. I am actually pretty good once I get going and find my groove and place, I just need some activation energy.

Friday - 30 min

Saturday - 30 min

Sunday - 30 min

post #14 of 136

Lisa - I hope you can squeeze that hour on Sat.

 

Carita - I'm glad you found us, hope we can help by motivating you a bit

 

Deadlines for week of Feb 21-28:

1. SK: Read and edit 5 pages on Feb 23, 24, and 25 (15 pages total) I did this - edited 20 pages so I'm ahead of the deadline

2. Appy: Read all the way through Feb 23 - decide what needs to be done by Feb 24 I did not do this today either, maybe over the weekend?

3. Erosion: Talk to coauthor on Feb 23 I did this on the 23, I need to write down our conversation so I don't forget the modifications

4. xsctn: squeeze 30 minutes somewhere on the 23 or 24 - I did not do this and I will not get it done tomorrow, maybe on the 28?  

post #15 of 136

ok ok. I'm coming too.

 

Me: I'm a geologist in my first year of a tenure track job at a small state university. I've been here as an adjunct for 2 years. No raises whatsoever next year. Should the state assembly approve the governor's tax bill we loose collective bargaining and I take a pay cut of about 10% in my net pay. My position can be just 10% research and "research" can be pedagogy related.  I have two children: 8 and 5 and my husband is adjunct-ing at 4 different institutions this spring.

 

I'm beholden to my phd advisor for about 85 more hours of work (she paid me for them already and apparently expects to actually collect on that despite her lab being out of commission). I wish I could pay back the 2k she paid me -- I'm not sure I can do that easily. Though maybe I should call the dept. $$ person and ask.

 

Goals for me: get my paper out the door before I'm scheduled for jury duty at the end of May (and my husband leaves for grading AP exams/daycare ends).

 

Short term: I'm staring down a weekend with my kids (and am finishing up a week of school vacation).  Before Monday I need to:

  1. prep for class on Monday
  2. subsample some rocks for phd advisor. I promised I would give them to her monday.
  3. outline a plan for writing my teaching paper.
post #16 of 136
Haven't accomplished much more, but I guess my goal is to keep progressing at any speed. I've listened to more music, looked up some references, and just spent some time editing to make the section flow more smoothly tonight.

Tomorrow: listen to last remaining piece, comment, write transition to next section.
This weekend: Outline the remaining paper and start writing the next section.
post #17 of 136
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Tomorrow

finish CP paper in light of the results of today's pestering.

 

I also *must* get a committee report written before a phone conference Friday.  It doesn't count as writing, but it takes the same brain space, and it has to get done.


Thursday spent tinkering with an idea on how to fix the CP paper.  I've been up for an hour and a half to finish the committee report.  Done and sent to the committee.

 

Today is pretty booked, so I'm going to squeeze in at least enough time to see if I can fix my calculation of E to finish off the CP paper problems. 

post #18 of 136

Quote:

Originally Posted by kaybee View Post

I went through co-author's comments on GT, revised the whole thing, and trimmed it down another 100 words.  I need to trim about 100-150 more words and redo my figure to be smaller. That is tomorrow's goal.  I will also update those missing #s.  Basically, I want GT done tomorrow!  Or Friday at the latest!

Off to get the boys.

I am 99.9% done with GT.  I had the word count down to acceptable amounts and shrank my figure, but when I added in the figure caption, the word count went back up.  Once more through this weekend and it's being sent off Monday.  Phew.

 

I'll make next week's goals later.  The potential projects include:

1. Start HolEv paper

2. Work on Big Final Report (BFR)

3. Start working on a proposal that I forgot about (I3) that is due in early April.

4. Work on that supplemental funding request (NSF) that I also forgot about. 

Bah for forgetting begging for money things.

 

I was also reminded today by our center director that "our PI reports" are due on March 1, accompanied by a 21-page version of hers.  I just became a PI at this center like a month ago, and I'm trying to find out if I'm expected to turn in a 21 page report on Tuesday or not.  The person I report to has not answered my email yet.  This could suddenly make my next few days very difficult.
 

post #19 of 136

kaybee -that could make your life difficult.

 

 

I didn't make much progress today on these deadlines because I remember that I needed to ask the VP of research for a change of scope on an internal grant. That took up the 45 minute research time today.

 

 

Deadlines for week of Feb 21-28:

1. SK: Read and edit 5 pages on Feb 23, 24, and 25 (15 pages total) I did this - edited 25 pages so I'm ahead of the deadline

2. Appy: Read all the way through Feb 23 - decide what needs to be done by Feb 24 I did not do this today either, maybe over the weekend?

3. Erosion: Talk to coauthor on Feb 23 I did this on the 23, I need to write down our conversation so I don't forget the modifications

4. xsctn: squeeze 30 minutes somewhere on the 23 or 24 - I did not do this and I will not get it done tomorrow, maybe on the 28?   

post #20 of 136
Managed my five sentences for the day. I'm not sure if I'll manage to get a dedicated hour this weekend after all, but I'm going to make it a priority for sometime during the coming week. Monday evening maybe?

Goals for this weekend:
- grading
- find Mayuzumi piece on Naxos and listen
- write five sentences both days
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