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:
And here’s where I’m at:
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.
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’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…
I really want to post about ALL THE WRITING I did this week, but I can’t. Because I got distracted.
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.
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:
Which is a lot, I know. But I’ve broken it into weekly goals:
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.
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.
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:
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!
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:
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…
A short post, today, just really to update the word count. I hit my goal, but only barely, and am now very sleepy.
I AM THE BEST AT EVERYTHING.
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.
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.