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….


Happy Monday!

Starting a new system today: Mondays are officially “Blogging, work-from-home, grant-writing days.” Let’s see how it works.

So far, I can’t complain about my productivity. I submitted my article (finally!) and got another chunk of sound transcribed. This week, I would like to really dive into the transcription thing, and I’m hoping to have at least one interview done, hopefully two, by Friday. In the meantime, my colleague and I are working on an Op-Ed together which we will probably send along to our university’s press people today. It’s exciting and fun, even if it doesn’t “count” for tenure. Of course, that means I don’t have a lot of time to spend on it.

Today is further complicated by the fact that I am reading and commenting on a student’s thesis chapters, which is a time consuming endeavor. So, I will this post brief. At least I have blogged for the week, which I wanted to do, and I have closed my facebook window.

BTW, yes, not going on social media does help my productivity.

My goals this week:

  • Write Spanish version of my IRB proposal for the summer’s field work.
  • Write themes for the ten sessions we’re designing.
  • Finish grant application for Endangered Languages Fund.
  • Transcribe 1.5 interviews
  • Begin Grant application.

Wish me luck…

Accomplishing nothing, accomplishing everything?

Happy Friday! With the insanity of last week (several important work-related events converging and messing up my mojo), I didn’t create a schedule or even a list of what I wanted to accomplish. I knew I wanted to revise my article based on my friend’s suggestions, but I also wanted to make some progress with the book.


I can’t say I wrote a whole lot, but I got an idea about interactions. I discovered our department transcription kits are so outdated that I can’t run them with my computer, so I had to order a new kit that I hope to put to good use next week. Meantime, I read. I read a fascinating article by Cori Hayden on pharmaceutical publics and the Similares pharmacy chain in Mexico, and found a reference to Andrew Lakoff’s Pharmaceutical Reason, which I was unfamiliar with. I have no real excuse for not being familiar with the book, save that I’m so busy that I don’t have time to read everything. BUT, this book, an ethnography of the mundo-psi of Argentina, is great. The subject is fascinating –the globalization of biomedical models of psychiatry and the resulting practices and contestations that take place in Argentina’s heavily psychoanalytic mental health field. It is almost the book I want to write, but set in a very different place. But it’s gotten me thinking about the many hours of observation I have collected, and the insights that those micro-level interactions might bring when subjected to further analysis.


Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty good. Even though I’m mostly reading and not doing a whole lot of writing.

Next week –I’m transcribing. Which usually leads to writing :).

See you on the flip side…

Sunday, January 13

Happy Sunday! I’m starting to see the usefulness of sitting down at the beginning of the week to plan out the next few days. I hope to see continued productivity as we begin the third week of 2013.

My first attempt with scheduling was moderately successful. While I would never expect myself to follow a schedule 100% to the “T,” I do think that this schedule was conducive to my productivity. This week, I will not be posting my hour-by-hour schedule online (that would be creepy), but I will write about what I’m doing differently:

  • Scheduled three additional hours for my class.
  • Scheduled more hours for the article manuscript and fewer for the book. My rationale for this is that I would like to submit this article by the end of the month, and as long as I am making some progress on the book manuscript (at least 15 mins a day), I should focus my energies on the article for now.

In terms of my writing itself, I would like to use the chat rooms more frequently, as working with the :50 minute chat and a timer helped me block my time and increase my productivity.

There is something in my schedule I didn’t change, that I’m worried about. I still have my day starting by dropping off my son at 8:30. I had a very, very difficult time sticking with this last week, and I’m worried about sticking with it in the coming week. The problem is that if I want to continue swimming (which I do), I have to be able to start my day early. So I’m going to try again. Hopefully, pre-setting the coffee pot and having my lunch ready to go the night before will help me get out the door when I need to.

The other question mark is my spouse’s schedule, as he may be starting an internship as early as this coming week that will throw our schedule into complete disarray. Either way what that will probably mean for me will be starting my day earlier.

My goals for the week of 1/14-1/18





  • Write a chapter outline.
  • Continue drafting chapter.
  • Code
  • Research


  • Begin writing analytical framework.
  • Continue drafting.
  • First completion deadline: 1/18 (submit preliminary draft to colleague for review).


There is one goal listed here that I fear may be overly ambitious: I have a preliminary completion deadline for the article of 1/18, because a colleague familiar with CDA, which I am using for the first time, agreed to read a draft and give me comments. I would like to get the article to her as soon as possible so that I can revise and submit by end of the month, but I’m not sure there is any way the article will be complete by the end of the week. I made substantial progress on Friday, that I am hoping will continue tomorrow, but I am concerned that I am biting off more than I can chew.

Then again, I haven’t really pushed myself.

Stay tuned….

Scheduling vs. Reality

This week has been moderately successful. I can honestly say that I achieved the following:




  • I chose a chapter to work on.
  • I started drafting the chapter.
  • I coded.

  • I wrote a statement of argument
  • I coded
  • I reverse outlined the chapter that is forming the basis of the article.
  • I wrote a new outline for the article.


I did not achieve the following:




  • Write a chapter outline.
  •  Complete the new analytical framework.


I also did not stick with my schedule as well as I would have liked. My first challenge was simply getting started as early as I wanted to: It was hard for me to get myself and my child ready and out the door as early as I would have liked, which meant that my day started later than I wanted it to. Days where I intended to code I found myself drafting, hours where I had scheduled myself to draft got swallowed up by my online class. As I prepare my schedule for next week, I definitely need to schedule more time for my online teaching responsibilities.


I would like to make use of a cool resource as well. is an online forum for people who are struggling to finish their dissertations or other writing projects. Among their many offerings, they have chat rooms where people can meet and check in with each other every specified period of time. So when I log into the “50” group, we check in with each other on the :50, chat for ten minutes about what we’ve accomplished, and then get back to work. I only used the tool one day this week, but when I did I found it to be tremendously useful. I am going to make it a goal to use the tool more next week.


I also am trying to figure out a way to finish the article I’m working on without sacrificing valuable time that I should be devoting to the manuscript. I have an annual evaluation coming up, and listing the article as “submitted” would be a positive mark on my CV, so I am especially incentivized to work on it right now. Perhaps in next week’s schedule, I will give myself more time to devote to the article.

Next week, my goals will be:




  • Write a chapter outline.
  • Continue drafting chapter.
  • Code
  • Research

  • Begin writing analytical framework.
  • Continue drafting.
  • First completion deadline:1/18 (submit preliminary draft to colleague for review).


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weekly Schedule

It seems that a good way for me to use this blog to organize and track my writing progress is to post once at the beginning of the week, outlining my goals, and once at the end, reflecting on the progress. Last week, despite its brevity, was fairly productive. Classes start this coming week, which means that things are going to get busy and my responsibilities will become more diverse in terms of teaching, advising, and administrative work. Last week, I used to write in 50-minute increments, with some success (more on this in my Friday post). This makes me think that careful scheduling will be key to a productive week. My biggest fear is not being able to stick to it (hence why I talked about flexibility and kept things very unstructured last week). Now, though, I’m thinking that if I don’t make an effort to schedule the hours of my day, one activity will flow into another and I will wind up falling behind and feeling overwhelmed. So, this week, my schedule looks like this:


Day 8:30-10 10-11 11-12 12-1 1-2 2-3 3-4 4-5
  • Drop off child
  • Faculty Meeting
Transcribe and/or code Transcribe and/or code
  • Log into online class
  • Email
  • Facebook
Manuscript Manuscript Class prep Class prepPick up child
  • Drop off child
  • Swim
  • Email
Article Article Log into online classMeet w/ TA OH OH Teach TeachPick up child
  • Drop off child
  • Swim
  • Email
Manuscript Manuscript Log into online class Online class work (or manuscript) Transcribe/code Transcribe/code Pick up child
  • Drop off child
  • Email
Grant-writing Grant-writing Lunch w/ colleagues Article OH Manuscript Pick up child
  • Drop off child
  • Swim
  • Email
Writing group Writing group Log into online class Transcribe/code Transcribe/code Exec. Committee meeting Pick up child

Looking at this, I realize that I don’t have as much time as I thought. I think I will try to time myself while I work and work ten-minute breaks into my routine. This week, I can’t swim on Monday because of a faculty meeting. I’ve tentatively scheduled it for Tuesday, though I recognize even now that committing to physical activity is harder than committing to write for me. This schedule does a nice job of breaking things down, though, and will hopefully help me maintain productivity in the coming week. At the end of the week, I’ll have a better sense of whether this is realistic or sustainable, and decide whether I will continue to schedule myself in this way.


Happy writing!!!

Goals for the Week of 1/7-1/11

Book Manuscript Article
  • Choose a chapter to start working on.
  • Develop a chapter outline.
  • Begin drafting chapter.
  • Transcribe & Code
  • Continue working on analytical framework.
  • Write Statement of Argument.
  • Finalize coding and run analysis.
  • Create a reverse outline.