Thursday, September 6, 2012

Writing group kick-in-the-pants: Week 1

If you've been reading here lately, you'll know I've been engaging in one of my periodic tussles with writing. I managed to get the structure of my pesky article sorted out and in the process, I got some good advice in the comments that can be summed up as 'just send the damned thing out for review, already'. Rationally, I think it's in pretty good shape, but emotionally I'm having a little trouble letting it go. (This I put down to a combination of perfectionism and the occasional crazed fear that the whole thing really is a load of pants.)

So, in the interests of moving this sucker along and getting on with a few other pressing projects (my PhD proposal not the least amongst them), I have committed myself to Dame Eleanor Hull's virtual writing group between now and December. To keep myself accountable, I'll also be posting updates and (hopefully!) progress here.

My stated goals for the 15 week writing cycle are:
1. Complete and submit the article I've been working on, which is based on part of my MA thesis and a conference paper I gave at Leeds this year
2. Complete a solid first draft of my PhD proposal (10,000 words)
3. Write the first draft of a conference paper for the ANZAMEMS 2013 conference being held in Melbourne next February. (This will be coming out of work I'm doing for my proposal.)

My goals for this week are:
1. Article - print out the current draft and review it to make sure all my tinkering over the last few weeks hasn't totally destroyed the central argument
2. Proposal - settle on an outline for the overall structure, review my main bodies of secondary literature and sketch out the historigraphical framework

Aaaand - here's what I've done so far (uh oh...)
1. Printed out a full draft of the article as it stands at the  moment (don't discount the progress this represents, given the paper-munting proclivities of my antiquated printer)
2. Started tinkering with/ re-writing yet another section of the article (but I re-read a primary source to check a detail and suddenly saw some more juicy points to be made with it)
3. Sat down to review my notes on the secondary lit but ended up watching a marathon of 'The Hills'  instead (damn you, shiny American youth and your trivial but oh-so-compelling personal dramas!)
3. Checked out beachy holiday spots to visit after the February conference (this constitutes 'research', right?)*

Okay, not the most productive start but I have until Sunday to make course corrections and check-in.

* By the way, any suggestions from locals or those familiar with Melbourne are welcome. Partner is thinking about coming with me and if he does, we will stay on for a week or so after the conference. Not sure whether to base ourselves somewhere like St Kilda or to hire a car and drive down/up the coast. I've heard the Great Ocean Road makes for a pretty amazing journey.

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