I thought I had escaped winter unscathed. My son has been snotting on me since October but SPRING IS SO CLOSE.
It was not to be.
However, I did have a strategy success in spite of my cold: I save easy tasks for when I'm under the weather or when my brain is tired of hard thinking. So I did the oh-so-tedious but able-to-be-done-by-a-sickie task of proofreading my dissertation's footnotes to find any omissions in my list of works cited. While I'm not very concerned about typos in a dissertation, I feel that, if I cite a committee member, maybe just maybe their article should appear in said works cited (oops!).
One strategy fail: Sometimes I bribe myself into motivation by going to a coffee shop, but while trying to read in one, I was reminded that I can never comprehend academic work (especially in an unfamiliar discipline) with all that buzz going on.
I also made lots of longhand notes toward my current book project. I'm trying a new-to-me strategy of writing my main arguments in detail, like polished little abstracts. I don't usually begin projects with arguments in hand, but since this project is rooted in specific ones I want to make, I think refining those arguments could be helpful.
Reading This Week
Good article from Chronicle Vitae on scholarly writing. Key takeaway 1: if you want to publish in the trade (rather than with an academic press), frame your argument around "narrative as well as the human drama at the core of narrative." Key takeaway 2: be wary of transferring the repetition of lecturing into your writing.
And I love Kelly J. Baker's concept of a boom project: "If I’m writing a boom project instead of a book, I’m aiming for resonance, presence, and force. I’m aiming for impact and intelligence and empathy. I’m aiming to analyze those hard and overlooked truths of our world while maintaining my hope for change."