We all know that the “summers off” that we are often accused of having are anything but. This year, due to travel restrictions because of my immigration status, I’m not even going to get to go back to Canada for DHSI (BOO!) or visit friends and family. On the bright side, I’m organizing a THATCamp in Lexington (there’s still time to sign up!) and presenting at DH2013 in Nebraska (which is a really big deal). But above all, I have to get my Dany Laferrière book finished.
I’m really thrilled that I am going to continue to work with Academic Coaching and Writing over the summer. The Virtual Writing Room really helped me establish a daily writing routine, as well as break some of my worst writing habits (you can read about it over at my An Academic, Writing blog, which I will be continuing over the summer as well). This summer, though, I’m going to be working with Amy Benson Brown, who has just been hired as the Director of Academic Writing. She was working at Emory University, and has published both academic writing and poetry (which, I’m going to pick her brain about). She also loves to swim, so I think we’ll get along just fine.
One of the biggest challenges to getting this book done is that part of me has already moved on to my next project (affect, social media, collaboration, and Digital Humanities). The same thing happened to me when I was trying to finish my dissertation; I had already started to think about my Dany Laferrière project. Speaking of my dissertation, I’m also still in the process of trying to turn it into a manuscript for publication. So that’s at the back of my mind, too.
Apparently, I have a hard time with “focus.”
This is one of the reasons I’m so happy to have a system of accountability and to be working with a coach; I tend to get so busy that I don’t take a lot of time to slow down and reflect on the process, allowing for modifications that could make me more productive. I wish I had more hours in the day (don’t we all), but being able to sit down once a week and talk about my writing has been wonderful. I wrote my dissertation alone, I’ve written most of my published articles alone, and I never even considered that could be another way to do it. Who knew I could be MORE productive?
And when I get tired of writing, there are other things to fill my time. Every year I say I’m going to revamp my ENG 100 class, and this year, I really mean it. Last summer, I was quite successful at reading novels “for fun” and I’m hoping to do the same this year, too. My Kindle is currently overflowing with books, as are my bookshelves. I’ve actually agreed to review some novels for a journal back in Canada, and I’m really looking forward to that. Why? Because I can feel less guilty about reading them as it is “for work.”
And maybe this is my biggest goal for the summer: feel less guilty. When I take time with my kids, or my husband, or for myself, I feel guilty that I’m neglecting my work. And, of course, vice versa. I’ve put (as I’m sure many of us have) put a lot of pressure on myself to be productive in order to appear “successful.” I know I need to slow down, I just have no idea how. Maybe I can expend some mental energy trying to figure that out this summer, too.
What are your summer plans?