Quick check in

So, last week I planned on reading a book for review, planning an article, and writing for my novel. None of that got done, as my new job was physically and mentally exhausting. However, I’m working on being less mentally wiped out at the end of the day this week, and also putting my article planning front and centre. Other writings can take a back seat this week.

Tune in next week, to find out if I got anything done. What might help with actual action is the fact I’m visiting my ex-supervisor for dinner next weekend, and would like to have something physical to discuss with her.

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Happy 2013

Happy New Year!

This year is looking very exciting, and quite different from previous years. On Monday, I start a new job as a casual librarian in TinyTown, about half an hour’s drive from the centre of MainTown. This is a very basic job, and I’m back to almost minimum wage, but I am starting a new life, and indications are that I will move on up the ladder at a reasonable rate.

This ‘reasonable rate’ is, in part, aided by the fact that, in March, I will be starting a post-grad diploma in Museum Studies, and both papers I am taking this year can be applied equally to libraries and museums. Because, in the second half of last year, as I was questioning my worth, and my studies, and wondering how I could try and make a go of finding a job outside of Academia, the thing which most appealed was something to do with museums. This would mean not entirely invalidating my PhD, and would also mean I get involved in actual things, objects, items one can touch and hold. (Combine museum stuff with libraries, and what do you get? MANUSCRIPTS!)

The two papers I’ll be doing mean a bit of study, which is why I’m pleased that my library job is casual – as in, ‘on call’. I hope that I’ll get enough work from the library job, while having enough time to do the studies. (Cue doom-y music!)

And, to further add to the year, I’m volunteering at the BigMuseum in MainTown. This gets my foot in the door, gives me valuable experience, and helps me to see what areas I want to work in. Also, it will give me something to do when the library doesn’t need me. My first task is pretty straight-forward – filing donation letters – but the point is, as with the library job, that I’ll be there, getting experience, making contacts, and, as the woman I’ll be supervised by said, I’ll be on-hand for the next object-handling course, and once I’ve done that, they can get me into collections work. Whoopeeee!

The question you might be asking, at this stage, is “Why are you telling me all this? Are you still going to be using this blog for writing-related stuff?” Obviously there was a lot of soul-searching which went on off-stage, as it were, while I decided that the image I had of academia, and my place in it, was a wild fantasy, at least 30, or more probably 50, years out of date. The relief of not having to fight for an academic placing was great, but the minute I thought “I don’t need to work on writing articles to get me a job”, I had lots of ideas about articles. So, while you can take the academia away from me, I don’t think you’ll take the academic. I’m still a medievalist, and still intend to write about things which interest me, and get articles published. (And I’ll still need deadlines, and people to be accountable to.)

So, to get started, here is a list of writing projects for this year:
1) 800-word book review due by 15th March;
2) 6000-word article due by 1st April (first draft), for a conference in June and publication;
3) 2-3000 words a month on my novel (which has been in _vague_ planning form for years now!).

Thus, I had better get cracking. This week’s goals are:
1) Read the book;
2) Plan something more concrete for the article;
3) Write for an hour a day on the novel.

The overall goal is to get into the habit of writing for two hours a day. There is no real excuse for not doing this.

Look forward to weekly updates!

Easter Monday

A fantastic Easter holiday, wherein I have finished all the marking before the break, so I have nothing to do but work on my own stuff. I have managed to finish (or at least, send off) the article I was working on, so the aim for this break is to put together a really interesting post-doc project, which will blow the minds of the people offering the post-doc, so they won’t care that I don’t have anything concrete on my publications list. Really not possible, but this is, once again, too good a post-doc, in just the right field and global location, not to try.

Also on the list of things to do in the next few months: write up a book proposal (which should tie-in with the post-doc project), and try to salvage another chapter for article-revision. If I have more things out there, something might get published, one day…

(And in other news, I’m working on a couple of Victorian/Edwardian walking-skirts for winter.)

One More Week

I have one more week to finish writing this article. This is not good, considering I have a fair bit of writing to do, and more reading of secondary material. However, I will be stuck at home on Monday, so I’m planning on making a big push then. I also have about 60 papers to mark before Wednesday – but they’re only meant to be about 300 words.* Why is everything always due at once? Oh, wait, that’s life. Current word count: 3,386. Aiming for: 5,000. Really shouldn’t be hard!

*I do know that one of the students wrote about 1,000 words. I’m not sure quite how to deal with this. Can you punish people for writing too many words? Given my problem with writing enough words, I’m not sure.

Teaching and teaching

I survived teaching Japanese school girls over the Christmas/summer break, and now University is back up and running. I’m so relieved not to be teaching ESL – you can’t imagine. I love teaching, and I love the range of students you get with English language stuff, but the topics are SOOOOOOO boring!

So, now it’s straight back into the English department, and I’m not sure how much better this semester’s teaching is going to be than ESL. I’m tutoring (TA-ing) the basic paper on critical reading and writing. The articles which the students have to read and discuss range from the banal to the boring, with a few interesting things thrown in. And many of the writing issues we’ll be dealing with will involve teaching native speakers about how their language works, and what is and isn’t allowed in academic contexts (a point which I think I might be more conservative on than the convenor of the paper). When I last taught this course, I swore I’d never do it again, but that time I had a ridiculous load, as I was supporting my husband through the end of his PhD, and I didn’t understand the point of the paper. I think I have a much better idea about the paper’s purpose, and will be starting to introduce things like ‘What is a sentence?’ from the beginning. The lecturer is better, too, though that’s not hard.

Teaching is also only going to occupy Wednesdays and Fridays, so I should be getting a whole ton of writing done on Mondays and Thursdays, with a fair bit on Tuesdays as well (though much of Tuesday will be spent sorting things for the following week). Maybe, by the end of this year, I’ll have something published? I really need to use this semester to get more written, because I’m getting no replies to job applications. I know I’m really fortunate with the teaching load – it’s light, but pays well enough that I don’t have to go looking for other stuff this semester.

Goal for the coming week: Finish editing the articles for the book/journal, so I can discuss them with my fellow editors next week.

Let’s try again

Okay, so last week didn’t end up being much better -writing wise. Put it aside, and move on.

This week, the focus is on getting the rest of my notes written up into full sentences. Then, when I get back to uni next week, and get library access again, I can start some of the secondary research. I suppose I also have to finish reading a rather annoying book, as well. That can be next week’s problem.

Shattered

This was not the news I wanted to hear. I emailed the place I most recently applied to, to ask if they had received my application, as I had not had any response. It turns out that my application had got through, but when they had transferred info to their database, an ‘n’ had been left off my name, so the email they sent out went to someone else (who apparently has an email, because it didn’t bounce). So, hopefully this university will be able to communicate with me now, but who knows how many emails from universities I’ve missed, because of either auto-correct (Word hates my name!) or mistakes in transcription. It’s too late to contact most of the other universities – they’ve gone on to campus-interviews. I feel sick to my stomach. I’ve been trying sooooo hard this year, and now my name may be the cause of this great, booming silence.