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Monday, March 7, 2011

1st meeting of the Writers Group

This is how it is going to work. In the comment box below, each participant will tell us the following.

Who are you? (Field of study, current status, etc...)

What is your long term project. Book, dissertation, series of articles, etc...

What is your short term project? (Chapter, articles, book review)

What do you want to get done this week, before next Monday?

My basic philosophy is to distinguish clearly between external obstacles to writing and internal ones. We have considerable power over internal obstacles, so we can work on those. We have less power of external factors, so we can either work to change those or circumvent them, or some combination of the two.

Not having a lamp to read by is an external obstacle to scholarship. Not bothering to buy a lamp from office depot to solve this problem, however, is an internal obstacle. If we only have internal obstacles, we are in good shape, because those we can learn to control.

Rules of the Group:

1. Don't be judgmental of yourself or others. Don't disparage someone else's field, project, work ethic. A fine restaurant doesn't need a sign saying "don't spit on the floor," so I don't need to make rules saying not to racist, sexist, or generally an asshole. A lot goes without saying.

2. Be honest about yourself. If you didn't get done what you wanted to, just try to figure out why and see how the next week works out. See if you can do better. Report on your progress every week even if you got little done.

(The members, so far, are Jonathan, Clarissa, David, Jon, Franklin, and Brownen. If you want to join you can.)


Jonathan said...

I'll get things started.

I am a professor of Spanish with several publications already to my credit.

My major project is What Lorca Knew, a book about Lorca and other Spanish poets in relation to intellectual history.

My current chapter of this book is also an article on MarĂ­a Zambrano which I am submitting by invitation.

My goal for the current week is to finish this particular article. I have some time on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday to complete it. I think I can do it in 7-9 hours total on those three days.

Clarissa said...

I think Blogger just ate my comment. So I'll leave it again. Sorry if it appears twice.

I'm an Assistant prof. of Spanish Peninsular literature. It's my 2nd year on the tenure-track.

My long-term project is to transform my doctoral dissertation into a book and publish a series of articles on XIXth century Spanish lit.

My short-term project is to write an article on a novel by Galdos.

My plan for this week is:
a. finish doing research for this article.
b. reread the novel.
c. create a plan for the article.
d. write 5 pages of the article.

The plan seems huge but I'm on spring break with no other demands on my time.

Jon said...


I am assistant professor in Hispanic Studies / Latin American Studies. My first book just came up and I am up for tenure right now.

My long term project is one of several books I have planned: the first in the pipeline is on American Ruins.

I have lots of things I need to do in the short term. First up are a couple of long reviews / review essays.

The main thing I want to get down this week is simply get started after an over-long hiatus. Writing anything would be good. Finishing one of the reviews (which I started but then abandoned at the start of what's proved a rather busy teaching semester) would be a bonus.

(The complication is that I am away from Friday afternoon to Tuesday early morning; however, I hope to have some time to work while I am away.)

Jonathan said...

Writing anything at all is always a worthwhile goal, especially when you are getting back after a period of not writing. Good luck with the tenure.

Bronwen said...

I'm a 4th year PhD student in Comparative Literature. I had my prospectus colloquium in December, and I have advisers in both English and Comp. Lit.

My major project at the moment is the dissertation, and it's the first project of this magnitude I've attempted. I'm writing about scale in post-1945 poetry, largely but not exclusively US.

My current short term project is to complete a draft of a first chapter. I think it will be about US reception and responses to haiku.

I'll be traveling for a funeral this week, but before next Monday I'd like to take my rough notes that are relevant and put them in order and in clearer prose and see what's missing and where I need to go from here.

fjb said...

I write criticism and essays. I've had peer-reviewed publications but also do less scholarly (sometimes much less scholarly) work. I'm a philosopher by training but am not presently pursuing teaching.

My most likely long-term project is a book on popular song forms. I would only write it without a contract, so it's contingent on writing a proposal. There are two other medium/long essays that I expect to write this year, and shorter pieces will also come up.

My short term goals are to finish a 3000 word review of two books on music, and to knock off a 400-500 wd music review. These have deadlines, and are the only things I have to finish before starting to work on the proposal.

My goal for the week is to finish both reviews. I'm 2/3 into the longer one; it's a double review, so I polished the section on one book and now have to write the 1000 words or so on the other. I have a rough draft (even if Jonathan doesn't like them) of most of it. The 400-500 word piece has to be written from scratch; it should take one decent or two mediocre days.

One obstacle is that I also perform music: I have a show this Saturday evening, there are two rehearsals before that, and some score preparation and arrangement that I'm responsible for as well. The rehearsals don't kill entire days, but make a dent. This and the writing can all be done by Monday, but not without willed effort and good time management.

fjb said...

I mean "would only write it with a contract," not "without" one.

Anonymous said...

I'm a graduate student in Religious Studies working on a dissertation about the relationship between prayer and place in America at the end of the 20th century.

My long term project is the dissertation and its 4 major chapters. I'm also hoping to revise some papers I've already written into articles ready to submit for publication.

My short term projects are completing proposal abstracts for the AAR (due today), revising the chapter outline for the dissertation, and catching up on my blogging. (I'm still doing research for the next bit of writing for the dissertation.)

Before next Monday I will have submitted my two proposals for the AAR, revised my dissertation's chapter outline, and published blogs about last week's Mapping Place conference and this weekend's Place in the World conference.

I can do these things now because I'm not teaching or taking courses at the moment--something I will be doing starting next month until late July.

Jonathan said...

Everyone's goals look realistic. Start your engines...

Bianca said...

After the encouragement of your last post, I going to take the leap and join in here.

I'm an assistant professor in my 3rd year on the tenure track. I've published several journal articles and book chapters and now need to finish a book manuscript for tenure.

The book manuscript is the major project but before I can get to it I have several smaller goals.

For the next week, I'd like to 1) write an abstract for an upcoming conference, 2)write a manuscript review that is due next Monday, and 3)re-read the half-finished chapter five of my book manuscript to remember what I wrote and start planning how to finish it.

Jonathan said...

Great to have you, Bianca. What is your field of study?

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

I'm a medievalist in an English department, at associate level. Very broadly speaking, I work on medieval romances and their manuscripts.

For the past year or so, I have been trying to clear a backlog of half-written articles so that I can then work full-time on a book that has been back-burnered for awhile. I've finished and sent out two things in the last 6 months. Next up is turning a conference paper from last year into an article. My goal for the week is in the comments to the next post.

Tanya Golash-Boza said...

Hi Jonathan. This is a great idea.
I am in my penultimate year on the tenure track. I have a joint appointment in Sociology and American Studies.

I have two long-term projects at present: 1) a manuscript on deportees and 2) a text on race and racism.

This week, I have three goals:
1) Finish a solid draft of Chapter Two of the deportee manuscript.
2) Finalize the introduction for a public speaker I will introduce.
3) Write and publish a writing blog.

I plan to do this by writing 90 minutes to two hours each day.

I'll check in at the end of the week.