the grid

the grid

Sunday 2 December 2018

September-December: Week 13

I want to begin by offering condolences to oceangirl101. Quite a few members of this group have ailing parents or have lost parents, and we are so sorry about your mother. We are thinking of you and glad you are part of this group.


This week's topic:

A week or so ago, I came across this tweet:

Apparently, Amanda Brooke wraps up gifts to herself that she can open every time she gets 10,000 more words done on her book project. This seems kind of brilliant. In general, for many people, December is a time of gift giving, and often when I'm out shopping for others, I find a few things that I would like for myself. Normally, I'm not much of a shopper (except for books), but this time of year, I can be seduced by little fun things (like a necklace I found last weekend that has a pendant made from a piece cut out of an old library card). See these things I want also makes me think about rewards.

Do you plan to reward yourself for any of the things you've accomplished this session? Do you have reward strategies in place when you work? I'm wondering if for our next session, I should use Amanda Brooke's strategy and purchase and wrap my rewards ahead of time, labeling each of them with one of my session goals. That might get me going! How do you reward yourself, and do you need any new strategies?

December can be a difficult month, so I hope you're all able to find some shiny bits to keep you going this week!

P.S. Speaking of keeping us going, do we have one or two people who might be willing to host TLQ next session?

Bardiac (held over)
1. Work on the paper. Write two pages (what's left of the week is short)
2. Practice!

Daisy (held over)
1) Finish all the half-done things from last week!
which includes:
1) Get the major figures for Northern Paper finished
2) Do point form discussion sections for each figure
3) Write my section for cool joint paper

1. Health: the usual.
2. Research: finish the introduction to the translation.
3. Teaching: one set of short assignments; comment on grads’ drafts.
4. Life Stuff: bills etc for December, get siding fixed, book a trip with Sir John.
5. Admin: order books, program review contribution.

1) Clean my stuff and kids' stuff from garage as much as possible.
2) Clean linen closet. (Buy some new towels as a reward?)
3) Chip away at research papers (at least 4-5 per day, with extras on Wednesday) while doing other daily TRQ grading and prep. Try to finish research papers by 12/3.
4) Walk at least twice.*

heu mihi
1. Language x5, write x5, sit x5, exercise x4.
2. Gen Ed & HFA reviews (this all needs to happen, so it will).
3. Catch up on emails, for Pete's sake. Both accounts.
4. Finish NaNo.
5. Plan revisions to Silence.

1 Submit Archives abstract
2 Submit Road abstract
3 Two hours on winter blog posts
4 Finish reading current review book

JaneB (not sure if you wanted these carried forward, but here they are just in case)
1) keep NaNo-ing
2) self care - water, sugar minimising, NO WHITE BREAD or pastries, movement, sitting
3) an hour of TLQ writing or writing related work on top of care-and-feeding of ProblemChild2


1. Run at least once before TG and once after (if possible)
2. FL work x2 or 3
3. Read something for fun
4. Do something artsy again
5. Collate responses to book and organize notes in preparation for working on it again after TG

1. Focus on F32 aim 1 paper
2. Abstract for APA
3. Make plan for K letters
4. IRB close out/renew
5. LOR for 2 of my mentees


  1. I'll be back to respond to this week's delightful prompt, but wanting to come by to send love & light to oceangirl101 and to offer organizing for the next TLQ.

  2. Christmas shopping gets very "one for rabbit and one for hare" at times around here (especially in book shops) - even though the parent story is an Easter one*. I do like the progress markers you get if you do NaNoWriMo - but I like writing first drafts in general, having the words pile up is its own reward. I find the many following drafts harder to measure and to enjoy.

    Since I tend to set habit or process goals more than page goals, because of the nature of my work environment and of the needs that fall into the TLQ sector, direct translation into concrete things meriting awards is tricky. Not impossible though - and might be a way to get around the sheer weariness of that academic truth, the reward for work done is more work. Oh which note... grading to do.

    Last week wasn't great, and I only reported in yesterday with a not-a-report, so...

    carried over goals:
    1) keep NaNo-ing ISH - reached 52,000 words, fell over, did not continue. Could have hit 60,000 and finished the story if I'd kept up the pace, but between an eye infection and some really uphill-through-treacle bad mood/low energy days, that just didn't happen. But I wrote 50,000 words in November so...
    2) self care - water, sugar minimising, NO WHITE BREAD or pastries, movement, sitting mixed. But did all of them on at least one day, so not a FAILURE
    3) an hour of TLQ writing or writing related work on top of care-and-feeding of ProblemChild2 I don't think so. Sent several long emails and had a writing-related Skype call though. And the paper that went back and forward to many journals came out at the end of the week! So, you know, small progress...

    the coming week:
    In some ways this week is going to be easier. Not in all - I have the stress of trying to organise a public outreach event for next weekend, at a middle of nowhere venue I've not been to, and without all of the resources I need, but at the actual event I will have the able assistance of former-PDF (the Middle Of Nowhere, chosen by the FlatProject team who are based at the far end of the country, happens to be roughly half way between former-PDFs current job and Market Town where I live, so somehow we got nominated to do the event). But teaching is winding down (I always run out of get up and go, and plan my modules whenever possible to give students an assignment due in the last week of the teaching semester (exams happen in mid January for our trimester 1) to keep them working steadily and so they get a partial mark before the exams, and then have minimal classes, mostly of the "drop in if you have questions" or "groups 1-3 give presentations" type, in the last week to ten days of official teaching time. Some classe4s do teach up to the end of the trimester but it creates student whining, and since not everyone does it, going with the majority and not doing it is the easy option (plus, no get up and go and great tendency to get sick...).

    This week's goals are therefore:
    1) write this year's "christmas letter"
    2) wrap all the gifts I need to mail, and mail some of them
    3) self-care: the usual
    4) prepare for the event (actually TRQ, but...)
    5) draft talk for end of semester conference
    6) grade the two small sets of work I have in right now (draft essay, interim report).

    *(It's from one of the "Little Grey Rabbit" children's books by Alison Uttley. Hare goes to buy Easter Eggs from the shop and tries to count how many he needs to get - "one for rabbit and one for hare and one for squirrel and one for hare and one for hedgehog and one for hare..." and so "one for hare" has entered family vocabulary for this phenomenon)

    1. I've started doing stockings for both me and Sir John, so the "one for rabbit, one for hare" approach works very well with small stocking items!

  3. Just diving in because I need to get at it.

    1. Language x5 [x3], write x5 [x4], sit x5 [x3], exercise x4 [Yes].
    Mixed, in other words. Last week was very busy with meetings and the like, though, so I hope to have more space for the daily this week.
    2. Gen Ed & HFA reviews (this all needs to happen, so it will).
    It needed to happen, and it did.
    3. Catch up on emails, for Pete's sake. Both accounts.
    Pretty good on work emails. I have one social email that I've just developed this massive block around answering, for no good reason whatsoever, and I need to just DO it already.
    4. Finish NaNo. -YES in that I passed 50k, but the story is far from over. I need to keep working on it and not just let it die.
    5. Plan revisions to Silence. -YES, pretty much, although it turns out that the editor didn't send me the reader's annotated copy of the paper, which seems to contain a few suggestions, so I'm waiting on that while I work on what I *can* do.

    This week:
    1. Language x5, write x5, sit x5, exercise x5.
    2. Write 2500 words of Novel.
    3. Student work: Grade the papers that come in today; follow up with three or so Problem Students.
    4. Keep on slogging towards the semester's finish line....

  4. I am so bad about rewards. See here (with special guest appearance from JaneB!):

    HOW I DID:
    1. Health: the usual. EXCELLENT: I think I skipped one day each of stretching and walking/cardio, but did something every day. And no food mistakes. :-)
    2. Research: finish the introduction to the translation. NO. I think I advanced the document by about 1700 words, plus wrote the draft of an abstract for an unrelated conference paper. It's progress.
    3. Teaching: one set of short assignments; comment on grads’ drafts. YES! Gold star here.
    4. Life Stuff: bills etc for December, get siding fixed, book a trip with Sir John. NO; sent several e-mails regarding the siding; picked up dry cleaning and cat meds.
    5. Admin: order books, program review contribution. YES to both. That is, I ordered books for one class; still have to do the other.

    Health: the usual.
    Teaching: start grading undergrad final papers as they come in; order books for spring gen ed class. Half an hour of spring class planning.
    Research: finish the introduction! Polish the conference abstract.
    Life Stuff: haircut, deposit/bills, Xmas shopping, trip planning, find an account number.

  5. I love the idea of creating a set of gifts to celebrate landmark goals. When I was writing my dissertation, I bought myself a book for every chapter I completed. These days, though, I buy myself books without even thinking about it, so I will need to deny myself some luxuries for motivation.

    Earlier today, I saw a blog post about a writer who decided he’ll send money to Trump for any day he doesn’t get his writing done. Negative motivation can be very, very encouraging indeed.

    Last week
    1 Submit Archives abstract: Yes
    2 Submit Road abstract: No
    3 Two hours on winter blog posts: No
    4 Finish reading current review book: No

    Having decided that I don’t have to grab onto every seemingly bright and shiny thing, I noticed that I wasn’t really enthusiastic about putting together an abstract for Road. So I decided not to do it. Then I found a call for papers this fits easily into the kinds of things I often write about and I can focus on a topic I find deeply engaging but haven’t written about previously.

    Since it’s the last week of class and the grading push is on, I’ll set minimal goals for this week.

    This week
    1 Finish reading current review book
    2 Write winter blog posts
    3 Work on VSE abstract

  6. Thanks so much everyone for your support. I am struck by how everyone, well I guess especially women, are so open about talking about the loss of their parents and their Moms. It has helped me to feel less alone to hear others tell their own stories. My mother's friends have also been a blessing in sharing their special thoughts of my Mom. She was a special person. My goals for the next two weeks are to get through all the estate organizing and getting the house on the market stuff so that I can return to my own home for Christmas. Not sure what my Christmas will look like but its been so hard to be here at my Mom's with my sister that the thought of being able to leave soon is keeping me going.

    1. I hope you are holding up and making good progess. I'm sure Christmas will be hard no matter what, but being back home will, I imagine, feel like a small blessing.