At the end of October I set up (rather ambitious) goals to take part in AcWriMo2018 (Academic Writing Month). I was inspired by Katy Peplin, PhD who organized a bunch of us with the hashtag, slack channels, writing retreats, and more wonderful (FREE) resources. Check out her website at katiepeplin.com, or on twitter at @KatyPeplinCoach and @ThrivePhD for all kinds of great advice, coaching, support, and encouragement from grad school through to writing that manuscript. If it wasn’t for seeing her tweets and info about AcWriMo, I don’t think I would have done near as much as I did. That, combined with the support and checking in of friends and colleagues, digitally and through twitter, got me through the month with almost all of my goals completed!
Here are my goals, as stated November 1:
|12 blogs- 6000 words|
|1 professional blog – 1000 words|
|Research notes – 250 words, 5 days a week (can roll over) – 5000 words|
|Book proposal – ? – submit by 30th|
|Statement for conference – 500 words|
|Co-authored article (maybe) – 5000 words – email with potential co-author on an outline/timeline for this|
|Total Words: Over 17,000|
Here is what I completed:
|10 blogs – 6433 words|
|1 professional blog – 806 words – Available here: https://www.mummystories.com/single-post/KatieStringerClary|
|Research notes – 5321 words – I am surprised I met this; and didn’t think I did until I just added them all up|
|Book proposal – 3493 – SUBMITTED TO SERIES EDITOR!!!!|
|Statement for conference: Instructions didn’t come through, but I did submit to 2 other conferences, and have another in the works!|
|Co-authored article – have some plans in the works, but no words to show for it really;|
|Bonuses: see details below – appx – 2500 words|
|Total: Over 18,533 words|
Honestly, getting up to write this this morning I didn’t think I’d met all of my goals, and I still felt pretty good about myself. Now that I know I’ve done it (even if not in exactly the way I had planned) – how exciting!
The big thing was the book proposal, and I’m so thankful to all of you who looked over it and made incredible comments and just let me bounce ideas off of you and think out-loud via text. More to come on that in the future. I know blogs don’t really “count” for anything, but I made them a goal to get myself just writing words and typing things out and getting them out of my head; and it worked! They were also a great way to feel like I was accomplishing something when other projects were stalled. The submitted blog was originally going to be something completely different until I woke up one morning thinking about the incredible Mummy Stories project by Angela Stienne. It was so fun to research Neskhons, the mummy who started me down all these various paths, and I hope he manages to make his way into my book. Research notes were the hardest part of the process, since I’m working through my outline and manuscript at the same time. I still read some great articles and got ideas out into a doc, so that is what is most important.
The Bonuses I got done worked out to be: 2 abstracts for presentations at a Death Conference, abstract for a chapter proposal submitted, proposal to museums conference submitted, kept caught up on grading, discussions and putting out feelers for an edited volume with an amazing group of women, making progress on a collective of death studies individuals working towards radicalized death studies, got Zotero all set up for the new project, posted all of my student blogs (check them out at www.ccupublichistory18.wordpress.com), and just generally keeping up with the holidays and end of the semester.
So final thoughts on this: no way would I have gotten as much done as I did without community and support from friends and colleagues (shout out to Twitter, for real). Having people just text and say, “are you writing today? let’s do a pom,” or listening, or sharing stupid gifs made a word of distance. Second, actually writing out these goals (and rewards, which I haven’t gotten around to yet – tragedy!) and making a plan – DUH. I tell my students this all the time, and finally got around to practicing it, and lo and behold it actually works. Third: keeping a chart and spreadsheet to calculate that these goals are happening, other things I did, reflecting on the practice. Like I said above, who knew I actually met these goals! My spreadsheet did, and now I do, too.
Now: to keep up the momentum and keep setting and sticking to my goals. Get it!