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that time again

maura @ 10:21 pm

That’s right, it’s November, the month of writing. Like last year I’m planning to eschew NaBloPoMo in favor of the academic version: AcWriMo. I’ll try not to ignore this blag too much as well, though this has been a low-blagging semester already, so take that with a grain of salt, I guess.

Goals! It’s good to have goals. I’m not going to set a word count goal because I’ve got some deadlines that involve presentations and other non-strictly-writing work that I want to be able to accommodate. Really for me this month should be AcScholMo, because I’m going to count anything I do that’s related to my research and scholarship (as opposed to librarianing or service). This is the first semester since my junior faculty research leave has run out and I am frankly struggling to find time for my scholarship. But I really should be able to fit it in on most days even though there’s always lots going on. At the very least, I have a lunch hour. Right? Right. (She typed optimistically.)

So, my AcWriMo goals for this month include:

– prepping for our undergraduate scholarly habits conference presentation at the American Anthropological Association meetings in three weeks

– thinking on another conference submission due on 11/15

– radical revisions to the book proposal, because we have a new plan (yay for a new plan! related: getting a book contract is hard work.)

– creating a compelling one-sheet description of our book project that we can bring to the AAAs and use when talking with publishers

– once the proposal and one-sheet are done, implementing the radical revisions on the manuscript draft

– is working on the CUNY Games conference a scholarly thing or a service thing? whichever it is, the conference is in January so there will doubtless be lots to do this month

– if I have time, thinking on a possible new idea for a conference proposal that’s not due til January but will take some research to determine whether its truly feasible

There are a couple of potential stumbling blocks too. Thanksgiving, of course — it’s always hard to carve out time for scholarly work when we’re visiting family (and maybe I shouldn’t sweat that too much). Also the 4 days at the anthro conference. I should be able to get some work done on the plane, and with my research partner and I together for 4 days won’t we basically be working much of the time anyway, as we discuss the project nonstop and shop the new and improved book proposal around? Let’s go with yes, and if I end up eating flaming cheese* as we discuss the project then so much the better.

* Because the conference is in Chicago, and apparently saganaki was invented at the Parthenon, a Greek restaurant there. Which I think we went to during orientation week — can any faithful readers confirm that?

ANYway, I’ll check in every so often here, but also will tweet with the #AcWriMo hashtag. Game on!


a mid-month check-in

maura @ 4:36 pm

It’s just past the midpoint of this month, so I thought this would be a good time to publicly report on my AcWriMo progress. To switch up my usual style, let’s report on the bad news first, then the good.

The bad: I’ve definitely hit the meat of my goal, that is, if you add up all of the hours I’ve spent working on the book so far this month they will average out to more than 2 hrs/day. But I feel like I’m trading on a technicality when I say that, because what I really wanted was to do with my AcWriMo was at least 2 hrs of work on the book EVERY SINGLE day, and more on the days when I could. But this month has been nonstop in so many ways: it’s the busiest time of the semester even in years when there’s not a hurricane. Last week I worked til 8:30pm on two nights and I still feel tired. I’ve found myself doing a bunch of less-than-2-hr days and making them up on days with morning RT or using the conference travel (4 hr train trip each way!) last weekend.

The good: On the other hand, I have done an average of at least 2 hrs of work on the book each day, which is nothing to sneeze at. And I’m pleased to report that today I took the final, completed book proposal, all 133 pages (!) of it, which was lovingly printed yesterday by my amazing coauthor, and delivered it to the post office. It’s now en route to the University of Minnesota Press, woo hoo!

It’s a great feeling to have the proposal finally in the mail. Now it’s time to get back to work — Chapter 2 and Chapters 4-6 are calling my name. Having spent the past 2 weeks revising and formatting, I’m very much looking forward to getting back to writing. Shitty first drafts, here I come!


day 6: eating, dogs, redux

maura @ 9:58 pm

During NaBloPoMo years past it took 20 days to get to this point, but this year only 6, sigh. I’ve been chugging along with my AcWriMo goal of 2 hrs of work per day on the book and doing pretty well, if I do say so myself. Chapters 1 and 3 are in great shape, and the book proposal is almost finished, too.

But today I hit the wall. There were extenuating circumstances, of course: I had 2 classes today (one started at 8:30) and 4 meetings and stupidly did not leverage my early morning wakeup-style insomnia to vote early so waited an hour to vote after work (which was totally worth it, and not just because of the bake sale cookie!). But still, I’m a bit bummed.

Tomorrow will be better: I only owe myself 75 minutes, and I can totally add that to tomorrow’s 2 hr chunk, no problem.

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just around the corner

maura @ 10:15 am

It’s almost November,* which means that it’s almost NaBloPoMo — National Blog Posting Month, a bloggy spin on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). A quick check of my archives reveals that I’ve NaBloPoMoed every year since 2006, wowza! Through my graduate library degree, Gus’s elementary school years, my job search, and my first few years at City Tech. 148 posts in all, because while I overachieved in 2006 with 31 posts, for some reason I only managed 27 posts in 2010.

* Why is it November? I’m sure I’ve whined about this in the past, but as Jonathan pointed out yesterday, October would be so much better as it doesn’t involve the speedup to the end of the year with holiday prep and possibly travel during the month, and prep for holidays and possibly travel in the following month, too. Which is why he concluded that Halloween is the best holiday ever.

I still think joining in with others to publicly declare you’re going to get some writing done and then doing it is a good goal. But this year I really, really, really need to focus with laser-like intensity on the book, because that sucker’s not going to write itself. Lucky for me the nerds got it covered: after mulling over it for a bit, I’m going to join up with AcWriMo this November. As you can probably guess from the name, this variant is a way to get specifically academic writing and work done by committing to a goal every day.

I’m not going to set a word count goal because there’s lots of stuff we need to get done that doesn’t involve writing: pulling quotes and images, wrangling citations (oh, Chicago Author-Notes Style, how I detest you!), and probably some reading (depending on the chapter). I’m still trying to fit in daily writing but sometimes all there’s time for is a couple of pages in my journal or a blog post here or elsewhere.

Here’s my goal: (at least) 2 hours of work on the book every day, including weekends. I’ve been striving to hit that goal all semester, and while it’s easy to do on some days (e.g., the 2 days/week I’m taking 2.5 hrs of RT in the morning), I haven’t been able to consistently make it, so I feel like it’s still enough of a stretch. Not sure how I’ll publicly record it — I’ll probably start by tweeting daily and see how that goes.

And if I can do it? I hope that sets me up to keep going at that pace after November ends (possibly with a holiday prep escape clause).