Monday, July 23, 2007

prospectus cloud

it's been a while since i've posted here at DBC, so i thought i'd stop by for a visual update.

(crossposted at Wind Farm - which is cheating, i know...what can i say? i'm being lazy.)

though i see them all over everybody else's blogs, this is the first time i've ever even visited the TagCrowd (which, btw, i always thought was TagCLOUD) website.

it's way more fascinating than i thought it would be to visualize a 20 page document in such a way. the top 6 terms are Literacy, Study, Data, Body, Subjects and Practices. number 7/8 are Physical and Material. and the three theorists i most frequently cite are: Vygotsky, Cheville and Crossley. that Crossley is one of the top three is interesting b/c he didn't even appear in the document until the final draft! and, i suspect that if i were to (re)write the prospectus again a week from now that there could be some other unexpected name pop up.

anyway, here's the CLOUD for my diss prospectus:

created at

Monday, July 16, 2007

pat myself

Just patting myself on the back a bit as I finished an incredibly rough draft of my lit review today. I wrote 9 pages today and I'm pretty happy about that. But I'm more happy that I've got this sort of chapter draft thing done. It's WAY too long and needs badly to be cut down. Let's not even talk about polish. It's not there yet. But it is a big ole chunk of writing and that suits me fine for now.

Starting next week, I have to turn my attention to the article that I'm trying to write (and by trying I mean that I've gathered some sources, but haven't read them all nor have I started writing yet). I need a draft of that done by the end of the first week of August at the absolutely latest.

But I won't think about that now. I'll think about it tomorrow. (Yankees at Tara, anyone?) Tonight I can go to bed knowing I've been productive. : )

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Goals for July

Hi folks!

My goals for July are...

I'm taking the month off. I can't see why I was driving myself to finish this summer. I don't have a job to get to, none of the jobs I'm applying for require a PhD, my advisor isn't leaving the country till January, and if I delay graduating I can work at the U in the fall.

I'm still super burned out from this spring's family emergencies, and from writing nonstop all spring, so I'm taking the month to go to the beach, make pickles, and read Georgette Heyer novels. And work two jobs, yes--but at least I won't be writing. My dissertation support group (IRL) told me that I needed to choose to take the time off, rather than not doing the work and feeling bad about it. The time off would have happened, no matter what, but I feel very light and happy that I intentionally gave myself the time.

Happy summer and good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Getting Things Done

A while back, I mentioned that I picked up David Allen's Getting Things Done. It took me a while to get through it and to decide to what extent I wanted to implement it. There are plenty of summaries of GTD elsewhere (I like 43folders' general intro and their forums for academics), so I won't rewrite one here. I do want to highlight two points that have helped me organize.

1. If it floats into your head as something to do (buy granola bars, call adviser, vacuum), then it needs to be written down.

Once you write it down in a space you know you'll consult again, you've freed your mind a bit. I have adapted a hipsterPDA in order to capture the floating things. My hipsterPDA is a set of to-do lists, one for each location in which a task might be completed. One card is for things to do at the library (books to check out, articles to copy); another is for online activities (emails to send, Lands' End purchases); home, office, errands, to read, and to consider are the other cards. I always carry spare cards too, so I can add one if necessary. This organized to-do list means that I don't need to read over the whole list every time I have time to get some work done.

2. Sort your projects into actionable items.

There are projects, and there are actions. A project is made up of many separate actions. You cannot work on a project; you can only complete actions. This distinction has helped me see the usefulness of breaking down big projects into concrete actions. For instance, if I tell myself I'm going to work on the dissertation tomorrow, I still have no idea what that work will entail. I cannot do the whole dissertation tomorrow, so I need something more specific. Lit review. That's better, but I'm not getting that done tomorrow, either. How about the critical race theory thread of the lit review? Still more than I'll probably complete, but that's closer. Revisit critical race theory articles A, B, and C and write short summaries of each. That's an actionable item.

Cross posted at Intent/Effect.

Mild panic

To be honest, I'm not completely sure I can reach these goals of mine. That's not to say that I'm giving up on them or shifting dates, only that I'm mildly panicking. I've gathered a stack of books that I still need to read for my lit review and it's SO much. Plus I have to put together the article that's going to serve as my writing sample. All of this by July 31st. I'd move one due date back a week, but I really don't have time because that will shift so much else back. I have 26 pages or so of my lit review written, but lots of that will have to be cut at some point. I've got at least another 20 pages to write.

On that note, I'd better get to it.

Hope everyone is calm and productive. Or frantic and productive. Whichever works better for y'all.