the grid

the grid

Thursday 31 December 2015

Inter-Iteration Check-in and Chat

Image result for candleHello everyone!  I hope you've found some peace and happiness in the hurly-burly of the holidays, however you celebrate them, and are feeling some optimism for the coming New Year in at least some aspect of your life and the lives of those you love.

This post is going up as a place to exchange greetings and chat about whatever wants sharing.  As a possible topic, how about we share some of the 'gifts' we've gotten from the TLQ group or from other sources of writing inspiration in the past year (new ideas, reframings, tool kit additions), and if you're jonesing for a bit of structure, why not set yourself a goal or two for the days between now and the official start of the next iteration of the TLQ group, which starts on the weekend of 9-11 January, 2016?

I'll kick off with a few 'gifts' I'm delighted to be taking forward into the new year:
  • using coloured highlighters to divide up editorial comments on my work (my own or those of others) into a small number of categories (e.g. syntax, grammar and spelling, communication of ideas, content and arguments) then look at each in turn - however tempting it is to go after easy fixes, fixing all the grammar/spelling is a waste of time if later changes of content or structure delete those sentences! - I'll definitely be sharing this one with my students, as colouring in is something of a treat, and this is a useful way to get them to start thinking about how to use feedback...
  • I need to keep reminding myself that writing makes me happy.  The bad feelings, the anxieties and stresses, they are ALL about stuff which happens outside the writing - whether that's the politics of building an academic c.v. or disagreements with co-authors or imposter syndrome.  Finding words to explain ideas and putting them on paper makes me happy and if I can find and hold onto that feeling, I will get more written.  What happens to it once it is written is a different story...
  • stickers are encouraging, new stationary is non-fattening, legal and happy-making, and dinosaur note-paper makes writing thank you letters a joy (maybe I should write my second drafts on dinosaur-embellished paper too??).
  • and you, my dear writing group, are one of the best gifts a woman can have - friendship and encouragement and understanding and wisdom shared - so here's to a new year with a lot of great writing in it!
Image result for a toast to us

Sunday 13 December 2015

Last Check-in for 2015!

Well, this semester/term is, as they say, a wrap. I'm not going to repost session goals here since most of you responded to those last week (thanks, Karen!). But it would be great if you want to do one last check-in for the "compressed" goals you set last week. I might even try to see if I can think of the one (or two or three?) most important TLQ goals that I want to meet for the holiday break (family, healthy, reading/writing?), just so I maintain my mindfulness.

(There are some of you that haven't checked in recently. Feel free to offer your last check-in on session goals here. I will read all of the responses!)

I want to thank you all for letting me host this group (and thanks to Karen for co-hosting with me). I've gained so much from this process . Because I was hosting, I made sure to read all of your updates, and I've learned so much from your thoughtful comments and insights. I didn't always feel that I had a lot of wisdom to offer, so I really feel as if I gained more than I gave. Many thanks.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell and Daisy have kindly offered to be co-hosts for next semester. Thank you! Elizabeth and Daisy, if you email me at, I will investigate how to add you as authors for the blog. Shall we start the weekend of January 9th? Or is that too soon? I'll let you two decide.

I hope you all have a good break in which you are able to give a lot of time to the TLQ things in your lives that really matter.


Last week's TLQ goals:

1) nightly check-ins, including writing down food
2) order shades
3) declutter bedroom
4) exercise 4x

1. Do Table for Other paper
2. Send Other paper to collaborators for final revision
3. Revise CR acc to manager comments (this is a very astute research guy, so the comments will definitely useful) 
4. Do letter to editor for CR paper
5. Do letter to editor for Other paper
6. Submit CR
7. Follow up with all four archives people

Contingent Cassandra
1)continue to sleep and eat as regularly as possible (this is really vital, since I'm battling both periodic stomach upsets and a headache that seems to be stress -- rare for me -- rather than the beginning of the flu or something similar, or so I hope. Anyway, there are signs that I'm operating at the limits of my physical capacity, and need to be careful, since I don't have time to be too sick to work.)

2) keep up with most urgent household/garden/financial tasks as necessary (bills that have to be paid, laundry as necessary, getting some bulbs back in the ground before a hard freeze). 
3)professional project follow-up as possible/necessary (really need to get back in touch with instructors of an online class I'm taking to negotiate what I'll do to finish up; also need to do some follow-up on new and old projects, but that may have to wait until next week).

Finish data/methods/results sections for 3 paper while I'm at the lab and have people to ask...

Earnest English
1. Get a lot of end-of-quarter handouts done for the week.
2. Plod through marking.
3. Keep calm for the service things on deck this week. Lots of relaxation and sleep and calming teas.
4. Work on holiday stuff.
5. Remember to send Snarkmaster a complaint about lack of communication in two ways by end of the week.
6. Figure out next steps on Family Project.
7. Move like water. Nothing, even telling Snarkmaster off, however stress-relieving that might feel in the moment, is worth killing myself over.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Continue to polish some of the posts (I have 32 in draft from the past week!) and get two out in the world.

Relax between doctors’ appointments and let the mind wander.

Corral all the copies and iterations of PMM so that I can set up short, medium, and long tasks to fit the time in the break until next session.

Spend twenty minutes every evening readying for the next day, whether meditating or free-writing.

1) Prepare all syllabi for next semester
2) Write fancy, new DH assignment for next semester
3) Do some additional reading and note-taking in preparation for revising what is now Chapter 3.
4) Ask hubby if I can have a two-day writing retreat in January before term.
5) Make good progress on primary source (one of the many big novels I haven't read yet).
6) Finish Christmas present shopping, wrapping, and (when necessary) shipping.
7) Make Christmas cookies with the kids?
8) Make at least one doctor's appointment.

1. Christmas presents ordered/bought/sent/listed for final purchase interstate.
2. Value sleep, move like water, think in the body.
3. Create short, focused to do lists each day.

1. the stockings and Christmas cards must be done.  
2. scary project data needs to be coded and a plan made for analysis and write-up
3. gather references for scary and put them into reference manager software

Get all the new teaching for this semester prepped
Make decision about attending conference
Make some small better health decisions by putting myself first occasionally, even if that's just by shutting my door for ten minutes whilst I eat my lunch, or buying a more expensive but tastier and possibly healthier instant food for my quick evening meal (e.g. a fresh soup from the chiller cabinet rather than a tin).

Saturday 5 December 2015

Week Twelve: Compression

We're now one week away from the end of this session of TLQ. For me, it felt like life started accelerating in October and just kept speeding up from there. With only a few weeks left of semester for some of us, and into the last month of the year for all of us, now seems like a good time to think about what to do with the limited time left. What goals need revising? What goals are worth pushing on? How do we compress what needs doing into the remaining time? And are there things that we need to let go?

Below I've listed last week's goals first, and then the session goals.

And if anyone wants to volunteer to host the next session, maybe comments are a good place to start that discussion.

Academic Amstr
1) write 5x
2) nightly check-ins
3) exercise 5x, bunny hutch 2x
4) write down what I eat

1) health: continue exercise habit, continue to develop good eating habits
2) creativity: write at least 2x per week
3) career: get letters of rec in my file from advisors
4) household: declutter garage, office, and master bedroom; order and put up shades
5) community: once or twice a month, get together with a neighbor or fellow school parent
1. Do final check of CR data, then send to senior manager for comment
2. Finalise other draft this week and send around to co-authors
3. Submit other draft
4. roughly draft proposal submission for new funding
5. Email collaborator SN about long overdue paper and when we might do it
6. Email request to 4 archives

My goals for this session are ambitious, but necessary for reasons I can't go into here. The first is around physical health, and the second is work-related: to be productive, in a way that increases my potential opportunities.
So,I plan to answer the question for each and every week of this session, have I put my personal health and wellbeing ahead of work?
My second goal is to submit three papers. It is ambitious, but knowing what I do now about national science organisations, I think this will make a real difference to a number of things. and, I have a number of papers more than half written, so I think it should be possible, and I will feel greater wellbeing once I have a sense of work being finished.

Contingent Cassandra
1) follow-up on a new professional project (at least the most urgent bits) and conference follow-up as possible (the latter is postponable)
2) continue to try to get regular sleep
3) complete urgent cooking chores (mostly processing fresh food/last garden produce before it goes bad)
4) complete most urgent household chores (especially laundry)
5) deal w/ most urgent financial tasks, and plan when to tackle more TLQ-ish ones

1) continue progress on household/financial projects [I actually got one big chunk of one of the financial projects done during our intersession, so I've got some momentum on this]

2) continue self-care, especially regular exercise (walking and weight-lifting) and sleep and eating regularly (healthily, if possible, but some days just regularly would be an improvement).

3) do something to get back in touch with writing and research. This might include building on conference presentations (one just completed, one scheduled) on DH class to write a pedagogical article; starting a DH project to accomplish a planned (very early planning stages) book; and/or finishing up another article that has been in progress at least as long as this group has been meeting (so it's about time). The first two options are the most likely to fit into my schedule, and I'll be happy if I do a bit on even one of them. 

Survive end of classes, get all the things done before going away for lab work.

1) Finish data work for three collaborative papers (CP)
2) Draft two of my own new papers for a new field area (NP)
3) Major grant application
4) Exercise
5) Reading project
6) Deal with Old papers as needed

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell 
I have an online writing class that I have neglected, and I plan to catch up on the first week’s lessons.
Polish and publish 2 blog posts.
Final edits on DH’s paper.
Call all the doctors listed on Monday’s schedule for questions and plans.

Re-establish the habit of writing 5 out of 7 days. Those of you who have been in earlier iterations of this group know that I suffer from what my bereavement counselor calls grief exhaustion. Virtually all of my abilities dried up and went away.
Rebuild my organizational skills. I’ve been assured that my brain fog will go away, I hope sooner rather than later.
Add some movement and mindful eating to my day. I had gall bladder surgery at the beginning of September, and need to improve my eating and exercise habits, or lack thereof.
Concentrate on my PMM article. I need to update my literature review for this article, which will lead to some edits in the article proper.

Earnest English 
1. Take ridiculously good care of self with lots of relaxation because of Big Service Event taking place this week and next.
2. Grade regularly.
3. Continue sneaking in some reading.
4. Smile. Move like water. It's almost over now.

I've got a very difficult quarter coming up with a ridiculous number of preps and overfull classes, a number of big service commitments, some research work I really want to get done in a very slow and plodding way, and some health issues that I really must take seriously so exercise and stress reduction are crucial. Before all that starts, I have a small chapter to write and at least one major home project: making the home office/library more livable by buying bookshelves and unpacking boxes. Meanwhile I also want to keep up with our family projects -- somehow! Really just thinking about all I have to get done by the end of the calendar year makes me want to crawl back into bed. So I have to just keep my head down and keep working, but without stressing myself out because of the health concerns!

1) Complete Christmas list and shopping (ambitious!)
2) Get new debit card
3) Make hair appointment
4) Make at least one doctor/dentist appointment.
5) Submit book order forms which are way past due.
6) Read important secondary source book, along with an additional article or chapter or two.
7) Make cookies for 4-H event and remember to attend said event.

1) 2nd draft of Chapter 2
2) 2nd draft of Chapter 3
3) submit article based on Chapter 1
4) Draft introduction
5) Take regular five-minute breaks to exercise, and also take long walks, swim, and do yoga (a combo of at least 5 per week)
6) Go on a 3-4 day writing retreat

Do something research/writing related every day and keep track of it
Finish the book review
Work on abstract due mid-month

1. Make significant progress on manuscript revision
2. Continue weekly meditation
3. Finish remaining outstanding projects (2 book reviews, conference presentation, miscellaneous service things) and make deadlines (for what is not already past due!) 

1) Survive week with teaching and grading done on time
2) Wrap some Christmas presents
3) Make up mind about whether to pull out of the upcoming conference. 

a) tie up all the summer writing projects that made it off my desk (that's write and give two conference talks, do minor revisions for two articles and a revise and resubmit for a third, contribute as needed to a multi-author paper and complete the writing and submission of a smallish research grant. Oh, and a Research Service project in my field). I'd like to also make some progress with the things that didn't quite ever get off my desk, which are several articles and grant ideas in various stages of incompleteness, but these will probably have to wait until January.
b) look after myself - keep up and improve my exercise habit, eat well, go to bed before midnight, declutter, all the usual stuff

1. Set up pre-break meetings with all postgrads with a focus on having a clear sense of their direction for the next month.
2. Wrap up remaining writing commitment.
3. Set up meeting for next year's online unit planning.
4. Self care by focusing on filling up on nutritionally-dense food and 3x online yoga class/self-directed practice.

1. Complete P1 events and have a first draft of a paper relating to it
2. Improve self care in sleep, exercise, and eating
3. A smooth run into Christmas

1. final push - gemstone paper will be submitted
2. christmas crafts - I have a lot of stocking shapes to cut out!
3. acronym report - need a plan!

1. Submit a paper (Gemstone or acronym)
2. Conduct scary research once ethical approval is received (hopefully for the planned start).
3. Make 100 hand-crafted items (including squares for my latest knitted blanket and Christmas cards)
4. Get into the habit of regular time periods to focus on my research projects and papers. At least 4 hours (a half day) per week.

1) Finish the draft of the paper.
2) Do three minute-exercise three times a day. 

1) Revise Chapter 2 of my book and finish the first draft.
2) Write an article related to Chapter 1 of my book.
3) Do three minutes exercise at least 5 times a day.
4) Write at least for 15 minutes every day. 

This is my year before I go up for tenure, so I'm feeling the pressure of getting things done. My mentor and dear friend has sent me a timeline of what he wants from to help me get my stuff written (since I need external accountability), and he wants a full length article by October 15th. Uh, so the research for the article is nowhere near done. I've read like 2 things. So I guess the next two weeks I'll pound out some research and then turn what I have from the conference paper into a full length article to send to him.

It's all imperative that I eat right, sleep, and workout during all of this, otherwise, I won't make it. 

1. finish complete draft of HA paper so it can be sent off (either to friendly readers or into the world, depending)
2. keep up w/teaching, prep, and grading without overdoing it (i.e., no prettying up PPPs)
3. make time each week for each kid, partner, and self (lunch walks, play w/kids, museum visit)

1) Grade assignments that are way post due
2) Spend an hour a day on my own work
3) Rearrange living room/office area to eliminate chaos

1) Finish editing Behemoth
2) Write 1500 word review essay
3) Write 1000 book review

1. Keep making progress on references
2. Work on big deal thing - draft letter

I was on leave last year, finishing a book manuscript. I'm in to the "almost final revision" phase, based on comments from an editor. By the end of the session, I want to have submitted my manuscript to a publisher. That means one more round of revisions, and also fixing footnotes. In the midst of all that, while serving on a boat-load of committees, I am giving three different papers (four, if you count one in early January). Three of the four are based on the book and not too difficult, but still, they will be interruptions. I'm also trying to get back into the exercise routine.

Sunday 29 November 2015

Week Eleven: Gratitude

Greetings, fellow TLQers. I'm so sorry that I was MIA for the group comments this past week. I went on a writing retreat, and I so enjoyed focusing only on the writing and the me-time that I just couldn't pull myself out of it very well. Then I got home and company arrived.

Anyhoo, I enjoyed reading all of your comments, and there seems to be some real progress with some of the stubborn goals. Reading your responses to last week's topic was also interesting, and it seemed that, for a lot of you, the best response (as opposed to reaction) has been to disengage. Most of you talked about stepping out of debates, not managing the chaos, spending less time at the office, etc. This was very interesting to me, and these responses all seem like great ways to have more TLQ time.

As as U.S. participant in this group, I have been celebrating Thanksgiving (a holiday with a fraught history, of course), but the giving thanks part is something I value. So, in keeping with not being very original, I want to invite you to mention something from this past week for which you are grateful. (perhaps, especially, something related to your TLQ goals). I am certainly grateful for all of you.

And I want to put out a little cheer for JaneB and those last 8,000 words! Good luck!

allan wilson
1. Finalise CR draft 
2. Finalise other draft and send around to co-authors
3. Eat purposefully
4. Do not overwork beyond my work hours.
5. Say no to at least two things.

1) TRQ teaching stuff
2) nightly check-ins
3) exercise 5x, bunny hutch 2x
4) write down what I eat

Contingent Cassandra
1) conference follow-up, and also follow-up on a new professional project that began this week
2) make use of Thanksgiving break to catch up on sleep and perhaps exercise a bit
3) cook a bit if time (Thanksgiving is at a restaurant, so I don't need to cook for that, but my soup stores could use replenishing)
4) catch up with neglected household chores
5) deal w/ most urgent financial tasks, and plan when to tackle more TLQ-ish ones

1) Run 3 times (Ongoing goal)
2) Program development editing that has sat on back-burner for 2 weeks
3) Professional organization writing and editing that has sat right next to 2 above...
4) Make travel arrangement for lab visits

Earnest English
1. Have a nice Thanksgiving with Absurdist Family.
2. Call dealership to schedule tires, etc.
3. Call cardiologist and get that scheduled.
4. Grade a significant amount and hopefully get mostly caught up on two classes.
5. Continue some reading for Big Project.
6. Address next step for Little Project.
7. Finish Tiny Article.
8. Get Big Service Thing ready for Monday.
9. Move like water. Smile and laugh.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Write for 30 minutes 4x on creative writing or blogging. Still using the manicure as a carrot!
Walk midmorning 7x, and mid afternoon 5x. 
File the stuff left over from decluttering my desk for 20 minutes 5x. 
Organize my next day 7x. 
I hope everyone has a productive, calm, responsive and not reactive week!

1) By Wednesday, insert all notes/quotes into chapter, and get footnote citations in order since I won't be able to take ALL of my books with me on the writing retreat.
2) Exercise 3x, including yoga while binge writing.
3) Make Christmas gift list.
4) Find checks/call bank.
5) Make persimmon bread.

Do something research/writing related every day
Print out first chapter of revised book project and determine its status
Finish the book review, finally
Read two chapters/essays for book project
Catch up on grading

1) be reasonably nice to me, sleep, accept done as good enough
2) Write 50000 words of NaNoNovel by the end of the month (I'm cross with it right now but I know I'll feel bad if I don't finish and the exercise of writing it is therapeutic and makes a nice transition from work at the end of the day - and I only have 8k to go)
3) Spend an hour revisiting my paper list, setting some small goals, and picking One Thing to work on in December (I already have the PERFECT thing to do over Christmas - I've been asked to write a book review for a fancy Beach Studies journal of a 'general audience' book in a field I teach occasionally, took a specialist course in as a grad student, and find very interesting, but which is not my research area - and it has lovely arty photographs of coastlines in it. It's due 1st Feb, so reading it over Christmas will be my 'conscience box' (as we used to call it in grad school - the box of work you lugged around with you whenever you went away, to work on 'if you had time')).
4) recommit to 5 portions of fruit & veg a day (that's slipped some days, when I get... lazy isn't the word. There isn't really a word for finding the thought of actually chopping up a carrot insurmountably arduous, and daunting, but it happens. It's sort of part of being depressed?).
5) go to the gym once.
6) not be too jealous of US-ians getting Thanksgiving off!

1. Finish and submit gemstone paper
2. Write next tool for house project (needed for next week so need to get a move on)
3. Tackle the plan to finish acronym report.

1. Work on footnotes, plan work for trip to UK
2. Send off prospectus
3. Submit grant for internal thingie
4. Start work for surprise external application that will take a lot of time.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Week Ten: Respond, Don't React

There's been  a lot of difficult stuff going on - in the news, in our various institutions, in life generally. One piece of advice I picked up in the context of parenting was 'respond rather than react' - the idea being not to be caught up in the situation but to instead consciously choose to respond in line with your own values and priorities. Easier said than done, I think! Any tips or tricks to share to help create the setp back that allows you to respond are welcome. And/or report in on your motivations as well as goals from last week. How did that strategy go for you?

1) TRQ teaching stuff
2) TRQ holiday stuff
3) exercise 3x; clean bunny hutch 2x
4) nightly check-ins.

Contingent Cassandra
1) work on conference follow-up
2) try to keep to reasonable sleep/eating/exercise if possible routine despite very full days
3)keep up with most urgent household/financial tasks

1) Run 3 times
2) Finish data processing
3) Drag out 75% done paper that is languishing in file system and figure out what it needs to be finished.
4) Literature review, at least make some notes...

Earnest English
1. Make a list of Thanksgiving fixings to give to Absurdist Partner.
2. Figure out a couple dates to tell our babysitter so we can hopefully get a night out together in Nov-Dec. My real goal is actually two nights before the end of the year.
3. Call back the doctor so I can get my cardiology tests scheduled even if they are several weeks out.
4. Schedule taking in my car to get the winter tires put on and anything else that's supposed to be done even if it is several weeks out.
5. Be excessively kind to self.
6. Don't freak out on colleagues and chair.
7. Get big administrative thing and big service thing done on Wednesday.
8. Keep grading.
9. Sneak in a little escapism, well-filling, or relaxation every day.
10. Nothing is worth killing yourself over. Move like water.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Write for 30 minutes 3x only on creative writing. Manicure as carrot!
Walk midmorning 7x, and mid afternoon 5x.
File the stuff left over from decluttering my desk for 20 minutes 5x.
Organize my next day 7x.

Good Enough Woman
1) By Wednesday, insert all notes/quotes into chapter, and get footnote citations in order since I won't be able to take ALL of my books with me on the writing retreat.
2) Exercise 3x, including yoga while binge writing.
3) Make Christmas gift list.
4) Find checks/call bank.
5) Make persimmon bread.

1. Writing conference paper - need a complete draft by the end of Thursday. Linked motivations - declutter time/garden.
2. The gym trial I was thinking of isn't going to work with upcoming travel, so I'm going to try out online yoga videos. If I do 3 sessions a week in the trial period then I will subscribe.
3. Making a complete list of all Christmas presents. This is a kind of reward in itself as I do enjoy Christmas planning,

1. Prospectus in the email
2. Go back to book ms, work on footnotes
3. Second set of book orders
4. Contact person who will help with special class project for next semester.
5. Exercise 4 times.
6. Read a book before bed. (I'm wondering if a positive one will work better than the "no iPad" one.)

Friday 13 November 2015

Week Nine: Let's Motivate.

Hello, fellow TLQers. A lot of you have been doing a great job with your goals, and all of us have done a good job with some of our goals. But many of us have specific goals that we consistently do not meet. For me, I've had a difficult time doing the writing lately. I keep reading and reading and not writing. I'm also not working as quickly as I want to.  Some of that's because of outside interference, but some of it is my own fault.

So I started thinking about incentives. What could I offer myself to really get myself going? This also connects to Amstr's comment about internal/external motivation. Some goals seem to have their own reward (more sleep, for example), but we still avoid them because we're seeking other rewards (e.g., late night "me time") that override the inherent rewards of the goal itself.

So this week, maybe we can think about those stubborn TLQ goals and how we might motivate ourselves just a bit more. I'd like to encourage you to attach a very specific incentive to at least one goal for this week and maybe another one for one of your session goals, too (since we're more than halfway through!). It's difficult for me to identify incentives that are sufficiently motivating but that are also affordable in terms of money and time--and that I won't give myself if I don't actually reach the goal.

For example, I'm thinking that if I submit my chapter draft revision by November 24th (which because of interruptions this week could be very difficult to achieve), I can go to Target and spend $100 dollars (I want almost every sweater in that store right now). Or maybe if I submit an article by December 1, I can go to an afternoon matinee. I don't know. I just know that I need to give myself a kick in the pants or I'm going to have some regrets later down the road. (If you have a date-oriented goal that spans more than one week but not the whole session, you can keep it at the bottom of the goal list for each week so that it will track forward.)

I hope you all have a great week! November is a tough month; it tends to just slip away and dump us into an even faster-moving December. Let's make sure that we don't lose track of our intentions.

If you missed check-in last week, just jump back in!

1) TRQ teaching stuff
2) make a list for holiday prep with deadlines
3) exercise 4x; clean bunny hutch 2x
4) nightly check-ins.

1. Finish data entry -NO
2. Draw some graphs related to project ppw -NO
3. Finish the CR draft, which I now feel much more motivated about because I can see an end to it.-NO

Contingent Cassandra
1) do most urgent conference follow-up, and plan additional, including thinking about/investigating whether and where the presentation might become an article (preferably a fairly short but peer-reviewed one)
2) keep to reasonable sleep routine, and try to work in at least some exercise (especially gardening, since the deadline for fall cleanup at the garden plot is looming)
3) cook & freeze some food, and/or stock reasonably healthy pre-made frozen food
4) catch/keep up with most urgent household/financial tasks (I'll return to these with more focus once the garden is put to bed for the winter).

1) Data processing for two collaborative projects
2) Run three times (take 2)
3) Read extra new papers and write literature review for new project.

Earnest English
1. Keep up a decent grading pace, which unfortunately includes the stress of telling my family to leave me alone (repeatedly because 7-year olds don't get it).
2. Some kind of relaxation work each day, whether that's escapism (watching shows), working on the relaxation workbook, or tuning in to some kind of creative well-filling activity.
3. 30-minutes daily on Tiny Article. It will get done by Friday. Yes, it will. Even after two sessions, it's much better than it was, so don't stress about this. Don't think about it. Just do it.
4. Magnesium. Take it daily.
5. Do leg lifts and crunches while watching shows at night.
6. Continue to prioritize eating at regular intervals for good energy all day long.  
7. Don't expect anything of yourself after long teaching days.
8. Instead of stressing, see what service you can scoot over or enlist help with. (Had a great conversation with a colleague who is sweetly worried about my health who asked why I don't go and get out of one service commitment that is pretty much languishing. She's right.) Don't get involved in big arguments because chest pains suck.  
9. Nothing is worth killing yourself over. Move like water. --> recite mantra at will.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Write for 30 minutes 4x to finish some of the blog posts I have simmering.
Walk midmorning 7x, and mid afternoon 5x. I plan to add dog walking to the mix.
File the stuff left over from decluttering my desk for 15 minutes 5x.
Organize my next day 7x. I’m going to try to extend this habit to the weekend.

1) Outline Chapter 1
2) Add in 30 pages worth of Moleskin notes/quotes to Chapter 3
3) Read at least 5 chapters/articles
4) Find checks or contact bank
5) Keep up with exercise
6) Settle on some course changes so that I can start working on syllabi for next semester (sad face)

1. Write every day
2. Finish book review
3. Read one chapter or article for book project
4. Catch up on obligations for conference planning

1. Continue work on conference paper - 2x1hr sessions, 3x15 minute sessions
2. Move grant application along - get rough draft of idea to coherent stage and out for feedback.
3. Spent time outside each day
4. Do something kind for my body each day - stretching, bath, whatever.

1) self- care and domestic environment care
2) get the grant dispatched
3) do proofs for the Crunchier papers
4) have a plan for the following week assuming partial voice

1) Again, finish the first draft of the article. 
2) Do three minute-exercise three times a day. 
3) Think of working hard, and taking care of my health at the same time. 

1) Finish the 4 grading projects
2) take the notes I have and apply to revamped intro
3) Go to bed earlier

1. (Really TRQ, but) Finish the piece for next week's conference
2. Get book order in before deadline
3. Reexamine the prospectus.
4. Keep up with exercise.

Friday 6 November 2015

Week Eight - Dreaming of Sleep

This week's topic is a little bit silly, but does pick up on the common theme of sleep as an important part of self-care. if you had a genie at your command to magic up your ideal sleep environment, what would it be? Ten million threadcount sheets? A chamber ensemble playing lullabies? A cone of silence?

1. Finish data entry
2. Draw some graphs related to project ppw
3. Finish the CR draft, which I now feel much more motivated about because I can see an end to it.
1) write 2x (I have a critique group deadline coming up)
2) exercise 4x, clean bunny hutch 2x
3) plan out food for the week on Monday, grocery shop
4) declutter office for 1 hour total
5) nightly check-ins

Contingent Cassandra
1) finish preparations for conference talk
2) make the most of/enjoy the conference
3) get enough sleep along the way to facilitate the above, and return home ready to regroup for the rest of the term

1) Cook real food most nights!
2) Run 3 times
3) Project planning, and don't forget this time!
4) Reading project - do with 3 above for planning purposes, 2 birds and all...

Earnest English
-order book on destressing and relaxation
-have some down time every day
-make sure I get enough sleep and take good care of my health (am going to the doctor today, so I'm working on this!)
-get to grading asap, but in a reasonable and not totally-stressed out way
-work a bit on Tiny Article due in Two Weeks in small bits (it would be great if I could sit down and schedule this, but I don't know about that)
-pick a book related to Big Project to be my go-to book so I can feel productive instead of spending my time looking for a book and then reading something I really don't need to read (like a magazine) that doesn't get me anywhere (in terms of feeling productive)
-try to remember that it won't always be like this
-remember that nothing is worth killing myself over, especially bozo colleagues with antediluvian ideas that are unjust. move like water.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Next week’s goals: Write for 30 minutes 3x; 20 minutes 2x.
Walk midmorning 5x, and mid afternoon 5x.
Declutter my desk for 15 minutes 5x.
Organize my next day 5x.

Good Enough Woman
1) Outline new theory/history chapter that I think I'll need for the thesis, and draft at least 1000 words.
2) Read 7-10 secondary articles, chapter.
3) Read primary sources for 4 hours.
4) Mine my Moleskin notebook (at least 30 pages of it) for material to insert into chapter.
5) Night check-in, keep up with exercise
6) find checks or call bank

1. Write for tiny project every day, not worrying about word count.
2. Draft incredibly overdue book review.
3. Listen to/work with guided meditation.

1) self-care
2) grant application
3) Get ahead on NaNoWriMo
4) teaching prep for 2 weeks' time
5) half an hour of domestic environment self-care a day

1. Get all the planning done for daughter's birthday (actual birthday next week)
2. Paperwork for gym so I can start trial membership next week
3. Brainstorm grant application pitch and send off for feedback.
4. 1000 draft words on co-written conference paper (can build on earlier 15 minute writing sessions)

1. start typing in the data for scary project
2. find and read journals for gemstone paper and project
3. start getting ready for the Christmas crafts by tidying the work space and working out what I need to buy (hopefully nothing).

1) Again, finish the first draft of the article.
2) Do three minute-exercise three times a day.
3) Think of working hard, and taking care of my health at the same time. 

at least 8-8.5 hours of sleep at night.
And until this article is done, 20 minutes of writing a day toward it (revising or new words). Meditate at least 10 minutes a day. And really just make it through the home stretch without falling apart. 

1) Grade four major assignments--I am way behind
2) Clean house--I am home so I can do it
3) Put my ideas on paper for Behemoth

1. Finish planning courses for spring
2. Start drafting conference thing (it's a round-table, so not really a paper)
3. Pick up the prospectus for the book and finish the GD thing.
3. Keep up exercise
4. Ipad. Should not be in my bed with me.

Friday 30 October 2015

Week Seven: The Power of Words (along with links to pro tips about writing and creativity)

(I know Karen's life has been crazy, what with the pox and everything, so I figured I'd jump in here to do this week's post.)

I was struck by Earnest English's recent comment in which she said how much she hates having to tell her family to leave her alone. Her comment made me think of how much guilt I have felt as a mother and wife. It also reminded me of something I read in the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. In the book, Payne talks about a therapy session with a mom during which he asks, "What's the first word you think of when you think of your role as a mother?" Her answer is worry. Payne goes on to talk with her about ways to turn that word into something else, something more positive.

As I read, I thought, my first word is guilt. And then I thought, how messed up is that? It's not joy or love. It's guilt. My husband doesn't feel guilty about about working or surfing or going on vacations with his friends. Why should I? (I know the answer to that question--I'm a woman--but still). At that moment, I decided I should let go of the guilt. I would tell my daughter (who, since age two, has complained about my work schedule) and the rest of my family that we should all focus on joy, even when we are apart, even when we are working/schooling/etc

I started trying to let go of the guilt, and mostly, for a while, I succeeded. I thought and talked more about the joy in life. Instead of apologizing about my work, I talked about the joy it brings me and the good it does for others. I even wrote joy on a chalkboard in our kitchen. Then something happened (an argument with hubby on top of a guilt trip from daughter) that derailed my plan, and I fell off the joy wagon.

Things have been easier this semester because I'm on sabbatical, but it's going to get even worse in 2016 when I'm working full-time while trying to finish the PhD thesis. Once again, I'm going to have to be intentional about what words will define my relationships with my family. And I need to be thoughtful about what words define my relationship to my teaching and to my colleagues and to my research/writing.

Not all of us in this group are parents, but most of us are caretakers--of elders, of church members, and of ourselves. And we have relationships with our research/writing/teaching as well. It is possible to think differently--more positively--about our relationships to TLQ and the people in our lives who affect (or are affected by) our TLQ?

Also, on a somewhat but not totally related note, while reading Y.S. Lee's blog (she writes young adults mysteries), I came across her post about how she protects her creative time, along with a link to another YA writer, V. E. Schwab who quotes 18 writers on their daily writing habits. No pressure to read these, but I thought they might be inspiring diversions if you need such a thing, especially if you don't have any interest in thinking about the words that define your work and relationships. But beware: These posts have good advice about how to be productive, but they might also make you despair that you do not live the "life of a writer" and that you have a full-time job and dependents to care for. Read with caution.

If you didn't post goals last week, feel free to post older goals or to just start fresh.

allan wilson:
1. Exercise 4x
2. Finish data entry
3. Finish CR draft without input from collaborator

1) nightly check-in (plan the next day, plan food, plan exercise)
2) stay consistent with exercise (4x) and cleaning the bunny hutch (2x)
3) write 3x
4) 1 hour total decluttering
5) make afternoons available for family office hours; do one special activity per kid this week

Contingent Cassandra:
1) Conference prep (this is sort of TRQ-ish, but if I include looking up possible publication venues for an article based on the presentation, it fits my TLQ goals for the session).  
2) keep to a regular sleep schedule
3) walk (let's try at least 2x again)
4) deal with most urgent household/financial matters
5) make & freeze one more pot soup if time

1) Keep it together mentally and make new schedule work
2) Shorten reviewed paper
3) Project planning for next phase of new work
4) Continue reading project revival

1) Nightly check-in to plan exercise and work.
2) Complete half of revisions for Chapter 1 based on friendly-reader feedback.
3) Exercise 4x (2x swimming)
4) Spend 1 hour per day reading primary sources
5) Spend at least 3 hours writing proper text for Chapter 2
6) Take Tuesday off to swim, have a nice lunch with husband (if he's free), visit the bookstore, and maybe catch a matinee (or maybe just read) before dinner with family. #heaven
7) Call to arrange a room/studio for writing retreat (I'm rethinking the camping plan)

Earnest English:
-The big thing I have to do this week is not get totally backed up with big grading. I'm getting 20 portfolios on Tuesday, so I need to be really big and adult about this and get four done on each day I don't teach. If I get five done on each day I don't teach, then I can have one day off from grading over the weekend. I really need to do this. I have such a problem getting papers back. This is not TLQ, but it's absolutely my goal this week.
-continue taking magnesium
-make sure to eat decent food in addition to the leftover cupcakes!!!
-get decent sleep
-don't take on anything else until you catch up on service: figure out who to delegate things to!
-nothing is worth killing yourself over. move like water.

1. Move like water (thanks, Earnest English), Breathe.
2. Do what needs doing when it needs doing, to a good enough standard, no second-guessing.
3, Find small moments for quiet and embrace them (instead of procrastination activities that just leave me feeling more panicked than before).

1. do more printing for scary project and hopefully collect another data set.
2. finish anonymising the house project data set.
3. three hand-crafted items for Hallow'een.

1) so I will put first sleeping well, general self-care and aiming to make transitions into appreciative pauses - whether that's a walk around the ground floor of work, making a cup of tea and enjoying the first few mouthfuls on the back step, or just taking a minute to notice that the task I just finished was well done and to enjoy its being done, I can definitely do with more of them.
2) get ready for NaNoWriMo! I may be insane, but I'm going to try it. I'd like to spend 0.5-1 hour a day faffing around with some bits like redrawing the sketch map of the town my characters spend a lot of time in, making a list of the names of all the side characters from the last two years worth so I don't reinvent them again (I have three M---- females who got horribly mixed up last year), and making a very few notes about plot things I might include. Generally gently wander around the edges of the pool before leaping in next Sunday!
3) Have one solid attempt at the grant again, see if I can find a different hook for the project, and rework the budget (again)
4) Finish some refereeing
5) spend one hour on some TLQ writing which is not Repeater or the grant - there are several options, just pick the one I fancy.

-The most important thing that I need to do this week is get that damn article drafted. It's a mess. And not nearly long enough, but I've got to put it together. Like EE, I've got to work on sleep. My sleep doesn't feel good right now but I think that's stress, lack of activity (and I'm normally pretty active, so my body is rebelling), and stress. So yeah, there we go. I would like to work on being in something other than survival mode because I don't like that feeling, so perhaps that's a goal, too. I think actually having the food already done for the week which means good meals which will help with a lot of stuff physically and mentally will benefit me this week.
-Also, I need to knock out the lit analyses on Thursday when they come in so they are out of the way, and get totally caught up on grading for the grad class. And I really want to enjoy Halloween this year. Last year the kid had the flu, tonsillitis, strep, and a double ear infection all at once on Halloween, so we didn't do a thing but sleep. Hopefully, knock wood, this year will be better for her. 
1) clean house today--it is a definite must do
2) cook for week--another must do because I work late every night
3) Write 5 days of lecture on Ancient Greece
4) Write 5 days of lecture on Absolute/Constitutional Monarchy
5) Spend 1 hour on behemoth--aiming for 3 days

1. Return ILL books that are due, after adding stuff to footnotes about them.
2. Get through next steps of course planning so I can do book orders. And do this before it becomes TRQ!
3. Start thinking about my contribution at the next conference, which is really off in another direction from what I've been working on.
4. Return to exercise
5. Go back to not using iPad in bed