My second year is well underway, and it’s turning out to be a little more intense than last year. I have more classes, more students, more committees, and less time until my mid-tenure review. So I’ve been thinking a lot about how to ramp up my research productivity without burning myself out. I’ve got some new projects underway that are still in the early stages, but I also have some old ones that I really need to just finish already. Which means writing. And editing.
I wrote last year about the writing group for new faculty I started. We have some new blood this year with the new faculty, but interest from my colleagues has definitely waned as the grading and the meetings piled up. I still go, because I find that block of time out of my office really valuable, but it’s a little less fun without a larger group. So I’ve been trying to replicate a little bit of that experience online with Shut Up and Write Tuesdays, a group that “meets” via Twitter on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, with different time slots appropriate for different time zones (or circadian rhythms). It’s not quite the same, but I find even a slight amount of accountability better than none.
I’m also signed up for the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity’s 14-Day Writing Challenge, from November 7th through the 20th. You commit to writing thirty minutes each weekday, and participate briefly in some online discussions with other academics in the challenge. I did this two years ago and loved it, and was shocked at how easy it was to meet these daily writing goals. But I could use a refresher, and you don’t need to be an NCFDD member to join the challenge for free.
So I am writing, at least. But I’m feeling stuck: I have this manuscript I started forever ago that’s been “finished” for probably six months. But it’s from a particularly notationally dense part of my thesis, and after staring it for such a long time I have no sense of if it’s even readable anymore, much less publishable. And I certainly don’t have a good idea of where to send it. So this paper is just sitting with me, trapped in between inexperience and imposter syndrome, when it should be working its way through the pipeline and into my tenure dossier.
This is where I’d like to have a couple paragraphs about how I solved this problem. But I don’t have the solution, at least not yet. I’ve been reading some posts from the AMS’s own E-Mentoring blog, like this great one from Mohamed Omar. And there was this article today on #GetYourManuscriptOut that I found inspiring. But at some point I’ll just have to pull the trigger and see what happens. I’ll let you know.