#SummerOfWriting

A few posts back, I mentioned that I had some writing goals for the summer. Here’s an update.

But first, I’d like to reflect on something. The inspiration for this goal setting came from @mittensprings and, more generally, things like AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month) which challenges folks to set writing goals for a period of time and be held accountable via the internets. Most of what I’ve read regarding these things usually includes a word count. You’ll notice my goals have no word counts. I’m lousy at that. Someone’s selling some little bit of software that allows you to track your word counts, and it includes revisions which would be extremely helpful in my case. But breaking down my writing productivity into word counts doesn’t make sense for me. I’m more able to gauge my ability to get stuff done by actually, well, getting stuff done, i.e., finishing a project. Academic writing, for me, is long and complicated and doesn’t make a lot of sense along the way. I write drafts and outlines and chop things up into numerous copies of files and stitch them together in awkward ways and leave smart-ass notes to myself that I (usually) remember to delete before letting others read the draft which almost always gets completely gutted a least a couple times before I finally feel happy with it. I’m content measuring progress in terms of drafts and completed projects, not individual word counts.

Which brings me to what I have to report regarding this summer’s goals.

  1. Four complete book chapters: I honest don’t remember how many I had finished when I set that goal. Which is horrible. I think I’ve completed two since then. I’m going to say I’ve completed two since then because I’m pretty much on track to finish two more before mid-August. I’ve got a completed draft of one propped up precariously on my computer as I write this, covered in red-pen marks. And I’ve got half a draft of another chapter somewhere on the old hard drive. So I’m going to go with “half-way there!” (Besides, I have drafts of the first four chapters already done, sent off to the editor, and received back with feedback, so I’m feeling good about overall book progress. This is me. Tooting my own horn. And hopefully not jinxing myself.)

  2. A conference paper. And 3. A journal article. I’m lumping these together because they’re intimately connected. First, of the journal article, not only did I finish the damn thing, I sent it off to a journal. It is now in proverbial peer-review land. So I am in proverbial “let’s not think about it” land. The conference paper, in hindsight, was a lame-ass goal to make for myself. The paper I’m planning on presenting is a shortened version of the one I just submitted to the journal. Which means “writing” in this case is more “editing,” a task in itself but, c’mon Scott. Really?

On the other hand, I had a really good idea for another paper based on the same body of research. I did some initial research and analysis and drafted an outline of that one. I’d like to believe that I can squeeze in some writing on that between now and mid-August, but the remaining book chapters and conference preparation are higher priorities. So we’ll see.

So. That’s the update. How goes your own summer research and writing?

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