dr. b

dr. b has written 85 posts for not that kind of doctor

#AcWriMo Day 29: A Teeny Weenie Update to the Word Count


Just 844 words — an article review I had promised to do for today.  Baby steps, babies.  Baby steps.

So, you know, I only have to write 10,000 words tomorrow to meet my goal. Hahahahaahahaaha.

But!  Guess what I realized?  My first goal?  To write 500 words per day?  That one I met!  Even if I wrote nothing tomorrow (and I have a good writing day planned, so I don’t anticipate I will write nothing tomorrow), I have written 518 words, on average, every day of November. That’s AWESOME.  Compared to where I though I was when November started?  Yeah, I’m smugly self-satisfied, goshdarnit.

#AcWriMo Day 24: Spider-Man Snuggies and Other Tales


I’ve had a really good day, just me and my MacBook and my Spider-Man snuggie. This is what grown up people look like when they work, right?  And though I’ve had two good days — maybe because I’ve had two good days — I’m flipping tired, man. This is what I have to say about my work right now:


Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooh my god wake me up when November ends.

(Funny story: every October 1 I delight myself by wondering aloud, “Did anyone remember to wake up the guy from Green Day?”)

I don’t think I will get a lot of writing done this week — I have a lot of assignments to mark and return before classes end on Friday — so I needed a productive day. (There’s basically no chance of my meeting my #AcWriMo goal.  I’m okay with it.) And it was a good day. Today’s work:

  • 3008 words on the book.  BOOYAH.  EAT IT, BOOK.
  • 437 words in response to another CFP.  I might need an intervention staged ASAP.

Now. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to treat myself to decorating our apartment for Christmas. Because we’re one month to Christmas Eve, baby!

#AcWriMo Day 23: Some Writing and Some Not-So-Writing


How do other people manage the grading bonanza that is November alongside #AcWriMo?  Cuz I think I’m failing!  There has been writing in these here hills, but not enough of it, really.

So there’s been:

  • 571 words to a CFP that looked so amazing I couldn’t pass it up, even though I haha so do not have time for more CFPs.
  • 1303 on a shot in the dark sorta kinda thing.
  • 2467 on the book.

So my original #AcWriMo goal would, it appears, be a little pipe-dreamy.  But one has to try.  And really, this process has taught me that I need to move the book to the front of my mind, which means I need to keep a word count goal around — something a lot more reasonable — once #AcWriMo wraps.  I think 10,000 words / month on the book is a reasonable goal to hold myself to — that’s 2,500 each weekend even if that’s all I get to, which fits the pattern I’ve been on so far.

Someday I might blog about something other than the book…


#AcWriMo Day 11: 561 Uphill Words



A short post, today, just really to update the word count.  I hit my goal, but only barely, and am now very sleepy.

Me, today.



#AcWriMo Day 10: Damage Control (4,037 words)



Ok, well, first I was the worst at everything for like six days, but THEN I RALLIED which is ALL THAT MATTERS.

Oh man such a bad writing week.  In that, like, I didn’t manage to do anything.  (Not fully true.  I went to see Joe Sacco speak with the Graphixia crew, and I joined a new gym, and I saw the new student production at the college, and I caught a film at the indigenous film festival in town… but like I didn’t do anything I can claim as academic writing, basically.)  And after such a strong start, too!  But we don’t wallow in mid-#AcWriMo: we bounce.  And today, I bounced — I bounced like hell and wrote 4,037 words, and all of them on my goddamned book (which is basically the albatross from Rime of the Ancient Mariner except that I didn’t so much shoot it as invite it to come live in my house for reasons that now totally escape me [pro-tip: don't decide to develop your dissertation into a book until like a year has passed and you've assessed how burnt out you are; TRUST ME HERE]).

But dudes, 4,037 words.  4,037 words!  If I did that every day, which is totally a rational thing I could do…

… I would be done this goddamned project before the end of the month.  If only I didn’t have, like, a full-time job or whatever.  (I didn’t mean that, universe.  Don’t decide to teach me a lesson, ok?)

Tomorrow is a stat holiday here so I have an afternoon to write more.  The plan is to at least get back on track, if not leave myself a little bit of padding.  We shall see.

#AcWriMo Day 4: Writing Is Rejection Salve If You Can Just Get Your Ass to the Computer


Today’s goal was to finish my portion — or at least the heavy lifting of my portion — of a collaborative article I’ve been working on with a colleague.  556 words later and I think I’m there.  There will me more to add, finesse, tweak, and change once we’ve met and combined all the portions, but overall I feel pretty great about getting that sorted.

And I needed to meet a goal — even a little one — and feel positive today.  I’m dealing with some pretty profound academic rejection at the moment, and I was thinking this morning how valuable having #AcWriMo goals are to me right now.  I probably would not have written anything today given my druthers.  500 words is not a lot of words to set as a goal, but crucially it’s the exact right amount to sit my ass down at the computer and write.  I can make two pages happen on sheer will power and caffeine, even when I’m feeling like I might need to pack the whole thing in.

In other words, today my writing was kind of like this:

… but that’s ok, because the act of words on the page is always the first step.

#AcWriMo Day 3: 596 Words and a Fresh Conference Proposal


When I woke up this morning, I saw that ACCUTE had extended its deadline until Wednesday, so I thought I’d take the extra time and submit a second proposal I’d been considering.  It came together rather quickly, and I read three other articles that will work well for some other projects.  A pretty productive evening, especially for a Sunday.

Tomorrow I finish my work for this week on the collaborative article and (gasp, horror), reread the chapter of the book that I’m currently working on.

And here’s the message I need to be told, um, 1000 times every day:

#AcWriMo Day 2: 577 Words and #30dayscomics


I’m absolutely certain I wouldn’t have written anything today if it hadn’t been for my fresh commitment to this blog and my decision to do #AcWriMo.  Evidence of that might be that it took until 9 pm for me to focus and just do some writing.  (In my defense, I’m still sick and I did mark 10 papers today.  But, you know, I also read half of the new Bridget Jones, so one must consider one’s priorities.)

So today, 577 words on the collaborative journal article I’m writing with a colleague, which is great because it puts me most of the way to the 750 words I’ve promised him for Thursday.

I’ve been reading a lot of the criticism of #AcWriMo today (because when in doubt, don’t actually write, just fall through the Twitter rabbit hole), and I’m reading a lot of critiques of the idea of judging productivity by word count.  I have to say that it’s the only thing that has ever been motivational for me.  I am super impressed by people who can say “I will write for three hours.”  If I say “I will write for three hours” then I can promise you I will have Google Docs open for that three hours, but I can’t promise much more.  I’m more accountable to words.

Words, words, words.

Oh, not at all speaking of words, I’m also trying to do #30dayscomics.  I’ll post the #AcWriMo-relevant ones here.  Here are my first two.


#AcWriMo and the Resurrection of the Zombie Blog

It’s #AcWriMo, ladies and gentlemen, and while I typically scoff at the whole #NaNoWriMo and it’s off-shoots (probably because I have been conned into reading one too many unedited drafts from these viral phenoms), this year I’m all in.  I’m thinking:

  1. I need to reset myself.  I have slipped into the mindset that I am only a teacher, and while I love teaching, there are so many goals I can’t achieve for myself if I don’t double — triple? quadruple? — down on the writing.
  2. I need to prioritize my academic writing time.  I love my book blogger life but, again, unless I drastically undergo a life change, my academic writing is where I need to be placing my energies (not that I will stop book blogging during November — just that I need to reacquaint myself with some of my other projects).
  3. I have a collaborative article due December 6.  No time like the present to hustle out my last 1500 words for that project.
  4. I need accountability.  Hence resurrecting my zombie blog.  Hello, all of you.  I am still a member of the academic community and I’m going to act like it!

My hope is that #AcWriMo will help me commit to some good habits so I can get more interesting things done.

My personal goal is a minimum of 500 words / day with a total word count goal for the month, over a number of projects, of 25,000 words.  Some of what needs to get done includes:

  • one chapter of my book.
  • this collaborative article for a book project.
  • another collaborative digital humanities project.
  • proposals for CFPs I’ve been staring at for far too long.
  • proposals for conferences for ACCUTE and CACLALS.

These are in various stages of done-ness.

Today’s goal was to finally submit my ACCUTE proposal for Congress 2014.  500 words later, and it’s done.  Not bad for a day spent in bed on doctor’s orders!


the starting is the hardest part

I sensed that my blog avoidance was deeply rooted in my research avoidance.  I didn’t realize kicking one off would help restart the other.

After I blogged yesterday, I spent most of the rest of the day and evening thinking about what was keeping me away from the book.  I’ve owed my editor an email for an embarrassing amount of time, and part of what stops my hand when I start to write back is this sheer panic I feel about the book and its structure and its shape and all the rest of it.

When I finished the dissertation, my committee was very positive about it being publication-ready.

But I’m an idiot.

I decided I needed to write a sweeping approach to my entire field.  The dissertation was too small.  Too minor.  It needed to be more! Bigger! Important!  IMPORTANT!!

So I conceived of basically an entirely new project and that’s the book project I’ve been “working on” since I started teaching full-time.  I don’t know what the hell I was thinking.  I think I might need to scale things back or I don’t even really know what I need to do, honestly.  But I need to do something-ish.

Today I wrote like 900 words about structure and framing, and then I emailed my editor.  Those things felt very something-ish.  I feel like a time of reflection and really uncomfortable realizations has been hard but productive, and I’m ready (ish) to soldier on.