I posted last week about my academic writing goals for November. Now I’m going to try to come up with a timetable and a more precise plan. I’m long-term ill (progressive MS-like illness), and severely disabled as a result, so I can’t put in vast amounts of time. But I can focus attention and my limited good patches on those areas I want to make most progress in, and that’s my plan. I’ll tend to be working in short bursts in the evenings, but hope to manage to do what I want to do at those times.
First up are my two PhD-derived papers, which I need to finish and submit soon. Both are rewrites of existing work, so shouldn’t take too long in theory. So those are my first goals. I’ll aim to have both in a near-submission state by November 15th, though I may need to do more work after to rework the style for the intended journals, since each journal has its own rules about layout style, number formats, and footnote and reference formats. Paper 1 looks at professionals and book use in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Scotland. Paper 2 is a comparison of reading habits in Scotland and England at this time. Paper 2 is shorter, so I should try to have that ready for submission sooner, say November 8th. This way both papers should be submitted in November.
My third paper priority for November is my paper based on my MPhil dissertation, which looked at regality court records (sort of equivalent to English manorial court, but more powerful, and very large geographic area) for Melrose in Roxburghshire, south-east Scotland, in 1657-1706. I’ve already edited down my dissertation drastically to get near to academic journal paper length. What I need to do is finish reading books and papers about comparable research, and arguing effectively for where my research fits in, and what its contribution is. I can start doing the reading early in November, and take it slowly (as with other things due to the neurological illness I can only tackle reading in short bursts), and then aim to finish this, let’s call it Paper 3, by November 22nd. That will be aiming to reach pre-submission stage, where I might still need to do more work re formatting, journal house style etc.
The other thing that I mentioned in my goals post was to move my text adventure game onwards. It’s a historical whodunnit, set at Hermitage Castle in the Scottish Borders in the fifteenth century. I’ve set up the geography of the place, with rooms you can wander around as a player, but where I really need to work is to move on the plot. That’s a slow process. Text adventures are interactive, and there’s more writing and reaction to provide than in a traditional piece of fiction. But if I work on this slowly, throughout the month, I should be able to edge things onwards, one step at a time. This game will not be finished in November, but I will aim to have moved the plot and interaction on substantially by November 30th, to carry on with it at a later date.
So those are my more precise goals with deadlines, and an order/strategy for working through them in my limited time. Fingers crossed it works!