NaNoWriMo is a well-established annual event now, with lots of people signing up to write novels in the 30 days of November. Others use the month for smaller projects though, like PicoWriMo, and some use it for an academic writing blitz. That’s my plan.
I have a couple of journal papers I need to finish soon to submit well ahead of the April 2013 open access deadline. Again I’m in favour of open access, but not the way it is being implemented by the UK Government and Research Councils. If I don’t submit these papers soon I’ll be unable to publish them, or will be greatly restricted in where I can publish, and would have to pay a hefty article processing charge (to cover the open access cost implications for the journal publishers) out of my own pocket. This APC cost varies by journal, sometimes as low (!) as 500 pounds, but can be 2000 pounds or higher. And as an independent scholar without access to university support – beyond my honorary research fellowship which I’m very grateful for – I must pay this myself. Ouch. These two papers are the remaining ones derived directly from my PhD research, and since that was AHRC-funded, it comes under the new UK open access rules which apply to anything submitted after April 2013. Hence my looming deadline.
Another top priority for blitzing in November is a long-standing journal paper I’ve been working on, based on my MPhil dissertation looking at Melrose regality court records between 1657 and 1706. I was very proud of this dissertation, and was the first student in that taught PG Masters course to get a distinction. When I look back on it I still think it’s good work, and worthy of being published in a good journal. So that’s my plan. I’m trimming a much-longer-than-journal-papers dissertation down to journal length, properly contextualising it in the wider research context, and doing the necessary reading to bring myself up to date. This paper doesn’t have the open access deadline problem, because I self-funded my PG Masters and can thus publish the findings in any academic journal, without restriction, and without needing to pay a hefty up-front APC cost from April onwards.
I have a few more journal papers in preparation but they can wait until after November. Another thing I want to look at in November is the text adventure game I’m currently writing. I’ve made a good start on it, and have mind-mapped the overall plot structure, but need to start filling in more detail and move it on. Text adventures are a form of fiction, but interactive, where you control the central character, so it’s quite an exciting medium to write in. I’m writing my game in Inform 7.
Apart from these things I’ve a couple of short non-fiction articles to move forward, and want to blitz them in the month too. They shouldn’t take very long, and are fun little projects to work on.
I’m quite excited by these writing plans. Autumn is my favourite time of year, and it always feels like a fresh start and I feel quite energised by it. So this year I will turn that energy into something useful.