Category Archives: weekly writing goals

Of professors, binge-writing, tortoises, hares, foxes and hedgehogs

So, there’s an Aesopian fable to be re-written, perhaps?  Not so much with tortoises and hares, but (Berlin’s) foxes and hedgehogs.  But actually, surely it’s possible to both a fox and a tortoise?  A fortoise?   Is it possible to argue this a fortiori?

Among university professors, for example, getting tenure is a major hurdle and milestone, and at most universities tenure depends heavily on having published some high-quality, original work. One researcher, Bob Boice, looked into the writing habits of young professors just starting out and tracked them to see how they fared. Not surprisingly, in a job where there is no real boss and no one sets schedules or tells you what to do, these young professors took a variety of approaches. Some would collect information until they were ready and then write a manuscript in a burst of intense energy, over perhaps a week or two, possibly including some long days and very late nights. Others plodded along at a steadier pace, trying to write a page or two every day. Others were in between. When Boice followed up on the group some years later, he found that their paths had diverged sharply. The page-a-day folks had done well and generally gotten tenure. The so-called ‘binge writers’ fared far less well, and many had had their careers cut short. The clear implication was that the best advice for young writers and aspiring professors is: Write every day. Use your self-control to form a daily habit, and you’ll produce more with less effort in the long run.
(Baumeister and Tierney, 2011:158-9)

Baumeister, R. and Tierney, J. 2011. Willpower: Rediscovering our greatest strength. London: Penguin.

 

Writing goals Week 2, 2015 (Jan 12th to Jan 18th)

Directly relevant to PhD

a) 2500 words on the coming of climate change awareness in Australia (1987 to 1990) – who, how, why; and the response from coal interests.

Indirectly relevant to PhD

b) 10 “All Our Yesterdays” posts allouryesterdays.net

“Don’t get it write, get it written.”

From week 1:

2500 words on “capsule biographies” of lobby groups“proxies” in the (Australian) coal wars –  DONE

Indirectly relevant to PhD

2500 words on “the Road to Toronto” – state, corporate and public responses to/awareness of climate change in the USA and Australia up to June 1988’s “Changing Atmosphere” conference .  If only to get the history jones out of my system.  SORT OF DONE (But not to my own satisfaction)

Writing goals Week 1, 2015 (Jan 5th to Jan 11th)

Directly relevant to PhD

2500 words on “capsule biographies” of lobby groups“proxies” in the (Australian) coal wars –

BCA, MCA, ACA (defunct), IPA, CIS, Lavoisier, Galileo etc

ACF, TWS, Green Party, Greenpeace, Australia Institute, Climate Institute etc

Indirectly relevant to PhD

2500 words on “the Road to Toronto” – state, corporate and public responses to/awareness of climate change in the USA and Australia up to June 1988’s “Changing Atmosphere” conference .  If only to get the history jones out of my system.

“Don’t get it write, get it written.”

Happy Days are here again (aka “don’t kick the Beckett)

I’m the “Potsie.” And I’ve got to figure out a way for happy days….

Potsie was the dweeb. Nice, but dim. And in the May 15, 1979 episode of Happy Days, he is about to flunk out of college, because he just can’t get things right. He can’t remember his anatomy.

But his friends (including the Fonz) realise he can easily remember song lyrics. So they get him to write his homework as song-lyrics. Problem solved.

(Warning. This song is dire)

So, I am going to need to write my PhD dissertation as activist rants/blogs and then convert it to academese…

Explicit writing goal, week 001 (Oct 5th 2014)

Reading through notes taken in induction week, there’s a wonderful bit of advice – the people who do well tend to be the ones who work hard (that’s easy) and who set explicit weekly goals (not easy).

Here’s my first weekly goal.  Ask me how it went…

I am going to write 3500 words which map out a narrative (which is more than a timeline!), with peaks and troughs/accelerations and slowdowns for the period 1988 to 2014 re climate change
– Longitudinal, periods over time, contrasts over time (what needs to be explained)
– Some of the “dirty politics” of what fossil fuel/allies lobbies have done.