Everyone works differently. Everyone plans differently. Everyone’s brain is wired a little differently.
That’s my disclaimer on this post. If you read it and decide it doesn’t work for you, that’s fine.
The handy, dandy picture is the actual word doc I made myself when summer writing group began. I edited it this week to reflect some new deadlines and may have blacked out people’s names or identifiers if working with minors. IRB baby. Gotta keep those nice folks at IRB happy.
You can click on the graphic to get a better idea of how I paced myself and how I managed my time. I’d like to take a TV TIME OUT to note a few things:
1. Prioritizing travel first. If you have conferences coming up or you know there will be a commitment, mark it down at the beginning.
2. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll get “all this work done” while traveling. Seriously. Just tell yourself you’re going to enjoy yourself and anything you can get done is like earning bonus points on that game you love to play.
3. See that lovely word “vacation” in there? SEE IT NOW!!!!! I was very generous and gave myself TWO WHOLE WEEKS OFF this year. A landmark amount of vacation. I’ll be checking in on email but for the most part, I plan to do a whole lot of anything that’s “not work” for those two weeks. I plan to have two more manuscripts drafted and waiting for final edits/read throughs, and formatting for the journals they’ll be going to.
4. I had other things to do besides write. I wanted to streamline it for myself. If it gets too cluttered, it makes my eye twitch. So, I stuck with my writing goals on this document. Data analysis is also on there since it’s moving toward manuscript land.
5. Things to remember: I have not worked a weekend all summer. Let us all just say AMEN! I’ve worked to feel less guilty. It’s a slow process. S L O W……
6. Personal goals are always good reminders. I prioritize things like swimming and doing things I neglect. Seeing them every day is helpful.
7. I added the fourth manuscript only recently since I realized that I’ll have data to begin analyzing. The word “long” next to it means it’s a long term project and a manuscript will NOT be submitted by the time classes begin. That’s unrealistic and not happening, even in academic fantasy land.
Last, but not least, I hope that it can help you map out your own writing goals. The four of us who participated in writing group over the summer each plotted our course differently. Some used Excel, another used pen/paper, I used Word. There’s really no right or wrong way to do this, but holding yourself accountable is the most important thing. I color coded mine with highlighters, making each manuscript a different color to help organize myself. It helped me see which paper I was spending more or less time on.
This will begin to look very different when I work up something for the semester. It will not be this ambitious because I’m teaching two classes. That alone will handicap my writing in more ways than one. I will likely set a goal to finish data analysis and begin writing so I can finish and submit my next manuscript over the long break. It will also be submission season for conferences during fall, so that will consume my time as well.
May the odds be ever in your favor as you map your goals. I know summer is winding down for us nerds but the new batch of freshman will be on campus before you know it!