Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm Writing!

I'm working on a book. The biggest challenge has been finding the time to write (I'm in a non-academic job, where I write reports all day. Which has been great for working through writers' block, but left me a little crispy when it came to writing at home).

I'd fret, and fuss, and fret, in an ever-escalating and occasionally paralyzing spiral of "I'M NOT GETTING IT DONE!" I would try to do an hour a day; that never worked. And then, about 6 weeks ago, I came across a blog post. Of course I don't remember which blog, but it was a revelation. It involved a conversation between two faculty members that, according to my quite-possibly faulty memory, went something like this*:

Faculty A: "I'm never going to get this writing done! I never have any time left, I just can't manage to squeak it in."

Faculty B: "Don't you have a writing day?"

Faculty A (and me): "A what?"

Faculty B: "A writing day. Where you don't teach, don't make appointments... you just close your door and write. Or, you know, two half days."


What a fantastic, simple, and I'm-glad-I'm-not-the-only-one-who-didn't-think-of-it, idea! Now, I have half a day a week scheduled for my writing time. Not only is it working, and I'm actually getting somewhere, but it's taken the crushing stress off my shoulders; the stress of not-writing-when-I-think-I-should-be. Less stress is a good thing. It's even a good thing for writing... Since scheduling time to write, I've actually been working on the book outside my scheduled time as well!

Right then. A little of what others have to say about writing books:

Over at Reassigned Time, Dr. Crazy shares her experiences in morphing her Dissertation into a book. She integrated the process into the writing of her Dissertation, with overt support from her adviser, and it was productive. Also helpful: The source of her dissertation inspiration (a flubbed question in her oral exam), focus! (also known as limiting your scope; maybe a century is kind of a long time...), avenues and venues for landing a book contract, and how important it can be to just ask (for assistance, guidance, etc.).

Dr. Virago at Quod She also provides her path from dissertation to book. Like Dr. Crazy, she envisioned it as a book from the get-go. What I love about this post is the nuts-and-bolts of decision making with regards to what to write about, structuring, when to cut off the tangent, when to run with the tangent, and an especially helpful bit about excising the excess (and what to do with the lopped-off-bits).

Girl Scholar at The Adventures of Girl Scholar, PhD gives her criteria for composing a book title. And recounts tale-of-woe of stolen title.

Finally, for this entry anyway, FemaleScienceProfessor answers everything you wanted to know about what should be included in an acknowledgment (book or journal article).

* If you are reading this, and this comes from your blog, please let me know so I can give credit where it's due!

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