Conferencing, next steps, and The Grant(s)

I’m back! As some of you may know, last week’s missing post was not due to my usual falling of the wagon or being overwhelmed, but because I was presenting a working chapter (!) at a national conference. I was very excited with the panel, and I came away from the conference with some new knowledge (lots of really interesting stuff going on in the world of psychological anthropology!), some great contacts, and some good, solid ideas about my theoretical framework. I’m cautiously optimistic that I can covert my 19 pages of ethnographic text into an article and submit it before I leave for the field on May 28. Then, I’ll convert the article into a chapter, but that will be down the line. I have a plan for the next two (three?) chapters, which will focus respectively on the DSM and ICD diagnostic manuals, the history and meaning of ECT, and managed care in Mexico, respectively. I’m planning some follow-up interviews when I’m in the field, though I must confess I don’t really know how or even IF I can get that writing done over the summer. At the very least, I know where I’m going. 

This week, though, I’ve been occupied with a grant. I’ve written about my love/hate relationship with grant writing; the truth is, I’m not getting tenure without a grant, even though at my institution, I CAN get tenure without a book. So, the grant takes precedence even though I would much rather be working on the book. Simple facts of life. At least the grant is coming together, I feel pretty good about what I have so far and the deadline is still a couple of weeks away. I’m hoping to get a finalized draft done today so I can split my time between my book chapter/article and another grant next week.

I’m going to Mexico for a wedding next week –perhaps I’ll write about trying to get work done while traveling? We shall see….

If you are on the tenure track –what are your grant vs. publication requirements at your institution? How do you balance your writing?

Off the Wagon (and using conference presentations to work on chapters)

Yes, I’ve been slacking. At least, I’ve been slacking about keeping up with my blog, and keeping up with my schedule. I did actually take time off last week for Spring Break (I needed it!), but I’ve also most definitely not been as consistent as I had been. And it all goes back to when I decided to “try” to not create a weekly schedule but rather try to create weekly goals. The result? Sort of, kind of ,meeting my goals (I did get an article submitted, and made some progress on transcription, which is still kicking my behind), but feeling otherwise out of control. And it made me totally ignore my blog, which makes me feel that I am not being accountable to myself.

So, I’m back to scheduling. And the truth is that even when I don’t stick to it completely, it’s been a boost to my morale and to my productivity. And yes, I don’t really feel great about the monthly goals I set out, but recently my good friend and mentor sent me a message where she remarked that things always seem to take three times as long to get written –and it’s true! Hopefully this doesn’t mean that the book is going to take me 36 months rather than 12, but I have to admit that before I started tracking I really didn’t realize just how long it took me to get things done.

Meantime, I’m working on a conference paper, but I’m doing something I actually am not accustomed to doing, and which I am very excited about. In the past, I’ve always written conference papers specifically for individual conferences: I answer a prompt, write an abstract, and then turn the abstract into a a 7-10 page paper. Of course, I always pick panels that have something to do with my research, but things usually end at the conference. This time, though, the paper I’m writing, and the paper I wrote for my professional conference in fall, are very relevant to the book –in fact, the subject I’m writing about (the process of transformation undergone by psychiatric patients in a public acute ward) is the backbone of an important chapter. So I’m taking the opportunity to write a real paper, building on my previous one, significantly expanding it, and reworking the thesis. The moderators will likely get a fairly lengthy manuscript (which I will then have to cut down to seven pages), and I am excited to get constructive comments back, because the writing will eventually (soon, hopefully?) become a chapter. It’s a bit weird for me, working this way, but I realize that this is how the process is actually supposed to work.

I’m also thinking that this manuscript will be submitted as an article before I complete the book. It will help to get comments back, and also help me keep my publications steady as I navigate the tenure process.

So this week, I scheduled, and I’m blogging. Here’s to doing this again next week!

On a lighter note, this is what happens to me when I try to work at home on the weekends….