Paper finished!

Woo hoo, I did it!! I just sent my manuscript off to my co-authors. I am so freaking excited that I wrote this whole thing in just under one month. I kind of can’t wait to get started on the next one.

Even more exciting, I managed to do this during a really stressful time. We have a major annual deadline this week – and the report that is due on that deadline is primarily my responsibility. That report is now pretty much finished (Hmm, I wonder if I should add it to my November word count? That’s another ~30,000 words), and I submit it on Wednesday. THEN on Thursday I am giving an hour-long seminar on my research to a rather large group of people. I also reviewed 10 grant proposals for a private foundation and reviewed one or two manuscripts for journals, interviewed candidates for an administrative position, traveled to a workshop, and traveled for a family Thankgiving, all in the month of November.

The down side is that now I know I will never again be able to convince myself that I am too busy to write a paper. I’ll have to find more interesting ways to procrastinate.

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Seven facts about me

Remember blog memes? They were fun, but then fell out of fashion… but here’s a nice classic, simple one I saw the other day on Scattered & Random.

The Rules:
  • Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog – some random, some weird.
  • Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog. (Naaah, I’m not going to do that.)
  • Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

The Facts:

  1. I used to write a different blog. If you don’t know what it is already, I’m not going to tell you.
  2. I have eight pets.
  3. I make the best Manhattans ever.
  4. I am an inch taller than my husband and enjoy wearing 3-inch heels when we go out.
  5. My salary is 50% larger than my husband’s. We both enjoy that.
  6. I refuse to buy a house and instead plan to buy a boat someday. A big one.
  7. When asked if there are any foods that I don’t eat or don’t like, I can’t come up with anything besides “brains.” I’m sure there must be something else, though.

Two weeks

It’s been two full work weeks since I began this month’s writing project… and I just printed out a nearly-presentable draft. I have to fill in some missing information here and there, make a new table, write the figure captions, write an abstract, and re-run one statistical test on SPSS because I forgot the non-significant p-value… but it’s just about done. I am stunned.

To be fair, this project has been in the works for years, I have written about it in multiple grant proposals, and I have presented preliminary data in talks several times, so I have been thinking about it for a long time. So the writing flowed much more easily than some other papers I have written in the past. But two weeks? This is unprecedented for me. Am I getting better at this? Was I wrong when I thought I couldn’t produce publications at a fast rate… or did I just get lucky this time?


Holy crap, I think it’s working

I have been making excellent progress on this paper I’m writing. Yesterday I decided I was done with the shitty first draft, and today I have moved on to writing the second draft. I am already up to 40% of my goal word count for the month. I’m actually very excited about this, and I am finding working on this paper and seeing the word count increase very addictive. My plan now is to have a complete draft ready for my co-authors by the end of the month.

The annoying thing is, I already know that it works when I make myself spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day on a project. I know this. I know it, and I forget it ALL THE TIME. I quit doing it for whatever reason, and then it is months and months before I make myself start trying the 30-minutes-a-day thing. I don’t know why I can’t ever remember how well it works. Sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating to be this dumb!


Grant-reviewing peeve

Every year I review grant proposals for a private foundation which once gave me money. Aside from the usual writing problems, there is one particular problem I see over and over and it drives me crazy. Dear grant proposers, here is a little rule of thumb that I hope you will find helpful:

DON’T CALL YOUR RESEARCH METHOD “CUTTING EDGE” OR “NEW” IF IT IS OVER 10 YEARS OLD.

Seriously.


It’s all about your perspective

Upon spending close to an hour today preparing and setting out food for a gathering at work, I had two thoughts:

Thought 1: “This is bullshit. I have a PhD. If they had hired a man for this position they would not expect him to do this.”

Thought 2: “Hey, I’m getting paid $36/hr to put cookies on a plate. That’s awesome.”


On writing and timing

I am pleased to report that the writing has been going pretty well. I am up to 3738 “shitty first draft” words, 14% of my goal for the month. I have also been successfully implementing the “Pomodoro” method of getting work done.  It’s ridiculously simple, and I’ve used it many times before, and it works really well – and yet somehow I always fall off the wagon at some point. Anyway, the way it works is this: You set a timer for 25 minutes. During that 25 minutes, you work on one task. At the end of the 25 minutes, you get a 5 minute break. Repeat. [You can get a really cute – and free! – Pomodoro timer for your Mac here.]

Ridiculous. And effective.

I have made huge progress on 4 different projects this week, all things I had been avoiding, simply by assigning myself the task of spending at least 25 minutes on each task each day. Sometimes I get motivated to do more than 25 minutes, but I just set the timer again and only do 25 minute increments to avoid getting burned out. I really enjoy switching between the four projects – I get bored and overwhelmed if I spend too much time on one thing, and it’s so fantastic to see such concrete progress across so many things simultaneously.