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Writing and Research and Projects, Oh My

Summer is often a time when academics in the U.S. set big goals and make great strides on their writing and/or research and when staff and administrators work on major projects. Do you have writing, research, and/or project goals for the summer and, if so, how’s it going so far? 

Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, Northwestern University

July 2, 2019
 
 

Summer is often a time when academics in the U.S. set big goals and make great strides on their writing and/or research and when staff and administrators work on major projects. Do you have writing, research, and/or project goals for the summer and, if so, how’s it going so far? 

Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, Northwestern University

It’s like you read my mind!  I am slated to give a conference presentation on a long-term campus project in July and an address on my scholarly research in October.  Today is the first day after commencement, and I have that old familiar panic. Summer is here! I must achieve everything, right now! No time to waste!  As an administrator, the campus project takes precedence over my own research, but when I start to contemplate it, a little voice in the back of my head whispers, “What about the annual report?”  Better check responses to my student survey; oh wait, my email just pinged…. 

 

Lee Skallerup Bessette, Georgetown University

I’m already getting emails for extension from my contributors for a book on affect and alt-ac work (deadline July 1!). When the series editor asked me when I thought the manuscript would be ready, I wanted to say, by the end of the summer. But I’m older and wiser now, so I said the end of 2019. I hope to give feedback to all the writers and then ask them for their final versions mid-November. And then I also have to write the introduction. I’m also working on three other manuscripts in various stages of completion. Oh, and as staff, I don’t get summers off, so…

 

Melissa Nicolas, Washington State University

I am in the midst of unpacking from a move for a new job. The stress of moving (even though I am happy about the reason) and the pressure of looming deadlines is giving me writer’s block—this is actually the first thing I’ve written in several weeks! I wake up in the morning and think “OK, I have the whole day to get stuff accomplished,” and then I struggle to prioritize. Unpack a box or read manuscripts for my co-edited collection? Find a dining room table or prepare the conference presentation? Hang a curtain or outline my book? And if I pick my own writing project, inevitably the book/article/file I need is still in a box somewhere, so I have to unpack a box. It’s like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie for academics!

 

Bonnie Stewart, University of Windsor
This is really my first “academic summer” on the tenure track and I’m already behind on one set of revisions and one writing deadline ... so I think that means I fit in and I’m doing it right? LOL. ;) In all seriousness, I’m realizing how quickly non-teaching time can get eaten up with project management and administrivia...plus my kids finish school Thursday which means I’m likely to immediately fall deeper down the hole of being behind (but more likely to spend time in the sun!). Basically, I have two main goals for the remainder of the summer - the first is to design three new courses from scratch, and the second is...not to panic about all the other stuff that likely won’t get done while I’m designing three new courses from scratch?

 

Anna CohenMiller, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

Ah, the allure of the summer! Sunshine and relaxing days. And this will be the case for me in some ways, visiting a sunny location abroad (for fun and business), but also combined with major academic goals. I started with one major goal – drafting chapters for my research methods textbook. Then added in another, an article to finalize with students. Then thought, why not one more? I can just finish that other one too that has been sitting on my desktop…and that’s where it starts, the allure of summer, of sun, of writing, and of completing projects. 

I think of it a bit like a typical concept of spring cleaning – looking through the piles of papers and projects – and organizing and cleaning them out. It is incredibly satisfying to get through a project, to finalize it, to update/clean/organize the physical (or mental) space. In this way, while I have major goals for writing (book chapters and article finalizing), I think most importantly is spring, well, summer cleaning of my virtual project space. While I have these major aims, I want to also reign in my expectations on completing them all. For me this means trying to figure something much, much smaller that I can designate to determine my “success.” For instance, I can set an achievable goal within the larger aims. I can write daily. I can read daily. And I can treat myself to sitting outside with a cup of coffee daily. 

So, as we move into the summer month(s), I wish you all well in the steps you want to achieve, whether in relaxing into some time off, checking projects off your list, and anything in-between from the large to small.

 

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