Then, BAM - November! This is me on 11/14:
Now I know why November is #AcWRiMo - so easy to get caught up in other tasks! Tomorrow = reflection on the first two weeks, and planning.Let's review. I knew that it would be a busy month. I had decided to apply for a teaching grant (due 11/3) to buy materials for a new course. I'm traveling for a conference the weekend before Thanksgiving, and then again for the holiday, plus I agreed to do a guest lecture on eating disorders in a sports psychology course. And that first year self-report, due the 24th, which needs to be drafted early enough that generous colleagues can provide feedback. So I needed to get ahead of the game.
— Dr. Danielle Arigo (@DaniArigo) November 14, 2014
My #AcWriMo goals included a mix of necessary tasks and additional objectives, which I thought were reasonable:
- Complete teaching enhancement grant
- Complete first year self-report
- Finish and submit two in-progress papers
- Revise and resubmit dissertation manuscript
It started with the teaching grant application. Syllabus for a new course I've never taught, timeline, budget, proposal, and letter of support (which I wrote myself). Despite my head start, there was a bit of cramming the night before to make the pieces cohere. Fortunately, the eating disorders lecture occurred in the same week span as the same topic in my own courses, so there was only a bit of extra work there. Though I learned that four straight hours of teaching with no break = fatigue and the 10,000-step buzz from my FitBit by 1:00 pm. Conference poster is nearly done, I've made steady progress on the revision and first year report. And I submitted one of those in-progress manuscripts.
So where am I? The concrete achievements sound pretty good, except that the workload is catching up to me. I set a goal of writing for at least one hour every day, as I would really like to get into a daily writing habit. The first week went well; I skipped one day, but exceeded the total for the week. I realized that finishing the revisions for an invited resubmission is NOT reasonable, considering the work involved. So I edited that one to "address revise and resubmit invitation," which I can make progress on for the next few weeks.
But this week, I skipped three days of writing - my teaching days, which are exceptionally busy, and require either early mornings or late evenings to squeeze in writing. One hour isn't that much, so I could have done this. Though I realized that I really, really enjoy having nights off during the week. Right now, I don't think I'm willing to spend two or three nights per week working. I've done it for years and I'm tired. I could feel guilty about this, but I think it's reasonable. I think about Tanya Golash-Boza's commitment to a 40-hour week and wonder if it's possible to achieve it as a junior faculty member. So I have to think of another way.
Some options include:
- Spending less time on Twitter
- Breaking the hour into 20-minute blocks
- Closing the door after office hours, no matter who wants what
- Accepting that MWF are not writing days
I don't like the first or the last; I get a lot from the academic support and suggestion network on Twitter, and I learn about valuable research in my area. And I'm not a quitter. So this week, despite travel, I will schedule time to write each day and commit to sticking with it. Wish me luck.