dr. b

dr. b has written 89 posts for not that kind of doctor

#summerofwriting Week… 12?: Bad Blogger, Good Writer

Hello. Hello! I know I am the worst at remembering to blog. But for once, I wasn’t avoiding blogging because I felt guilty about not writing. I was… wait for it… actually writing. Actually, actually writing.

Here were the original goals for the summer:

  1. Finish the book manuscript.
  2. Write a promised book chapter.
  3. Write two conference papers.
  4. Blog for Book Riot weekly.
  5. Submit to relevant CFPs that cross my path over the summer.
  6. Complete the research for an additional book chapter.

And here’s where I’m at:

  1. DONE. That’s right: as of 2 o’clock this morning, my first draft is done. I now have four weeks until the deadline to revise the manuscript. It’s 60, 945 words. I love it like a child I birthed.
  2. DONE. It even is kind of not terrible, I think.
  3. DONE. And now, delivered. Congress was amazing this year; indeed, I think it really lit the fire under me. I want back in to the research world and I really don’t mind filling all my spare time with work to do it. I never thought, after the burnout I felt finishing the PhD, that I would say that. Four years later, here we are.
  4. This one I did not do. Instead, I made the (I think very adult) decision to take a Book Riot leave of absence for the summer while I attended to the book. I did blog a little about BEA, and I have kept up at Graphixia.
  5. I haven’t done this. Instead, I’m planning to suck up all my fears and put together two papers this fall term to send out to journals. (I am nauseated just thinking about it.)
  6. I bought the books for this project. Does that count?

All in all, I feel pretty good about how things are going with this #summerofwriting. Oh, and did I mention that the book is drafted? THE BOOK IS DRAFTED.


#summerofwriting, End of Week 2: Not bad. Not bad at all.

This week, I wrote a lot.

In fact, I wrote my two papers for Congress (and their attendant Keynote presentations); at 3000-odd words each, that’s 6000 words of productive academic prose this week. Finally covering some ground!

I also blogged this and this and this and this.

I’m away for the next two week, first at Congress and then in New York City for Book Expo America, so I don’t anticipate a lot of writing time. But I have packed an absolutely massive stack of articles to dig into so that I can start thinking about the next project in line: a book chapter due the first week of August.

And then. Of course. There’s the book.

But I’ll get there. Slooooooooooooooooooooowly.

You know. If I don’t get distracted by…


#summerofwriting, End of Week 1: Slow Start, Not No Start

I really want to post about ALL THE WRITING I did this week, but I can’t. Because I got distracted.

  1. First, I jumped head-first into a proposal for a new project at work. I don’t regret this, because I think it’s a really good project, but still — that was, all in, about 2000 non-writing-related words I committed to paper. But I’ve done all I can reasonably do on it until some other wheels start to move (keep your fingers crossed for me as it’s a really good idea!), so I’m trying to put it to the back of my mind.
  2. Meetings. Many meetings. Too many meetings. My brain went to a lot of meetings.
  3. Reference letter season! Hundreds of words on reference letters. I want you all to succeed, darling students, but damn.
  4. Then, we decided we’d plan to rent a cottage somewhere for a week in August. Did you know that researching cottages is Way. More. Fun. than writing conference papers or my book? I have looked at dozens and dozens of cottages. (Speaking of which, if you have a lead on a  small and cozy Sunshine Coast / Bowen Island cottage that is overlooking the water, is cat-friendly, and has reliable wifi, for god sakes let me know in the comments, would you?)

But the whole point of blogging is accountability, right? And next week is a whole new week that I haven’t completely wasted yet. To be fair, I didn’t completely waste this one (I did well on the blogging front, submitting two posts to Book Riot and one to Food Riot, and I did write 600 words for one of my conference papers), but I do have to get my head in the game, pronto.

Me in week 2. Honest.

Me in week 2. Honest.

#summerofwriting Day 1: Zombie Blogging (Again)

I seem to only resurrect this blog when I need public accountability about my writing, and then I hide from it the rest of the time… Hmm…

So today is May 1, and that’s the launch of my #summerofwriting. This is the first summer in a while that I’m not leading a field school to Wales, so I want to take full advantage of it. I’m trying to refocus myself from the phenomenal amount of energy I spend on pedagogy and service during the fall and winter semesters to really focus on my academic writing for the four months of summer.  That’s the goal, anyway.

Actually, the goals are more concrete than that:

  1. Finish the book manuscript.
  2. Write a promised book chapter.
  3. Write two conference papers.
  4. Blog for Book Riot weekly.
  5. Submit to relevant CFPs that cross my path over the summer.
  6. Complete the research for an additional book chapter.

Which is a lot, I know. But I’ve broken it into weekly goals:

  • 5000 words of academic writing / week.
  • 1000 words of blogging / week.
  • Check UPenn for CFPs once / week.

At the start of this term, I’m looking at having already written about 23,000 of the 60,000 words I need to complete my manuscript draft (that’s 23,000 of completed prose; I’m not counting notes, etc. in this total). So I have a long way to go and some other projects to get in my way. But the commitment is the hardest part, or has been for the last few years.

Today, I reread Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (for my CACLALS paper) and made a few pages of notes.

#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.