Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘AcWri’

Well it’s a week in, and as is normal with Academic Writing Month I’m reflecting on how things have gone so far.

It’s been a great start. Neither main goal is fully achieved yet, but both are well on the way. The conference paper proposal has a first draft written, which came in at almost perfect length even before tweaking/editing. I need to check a few more academic books, and give it a couple of weeks distance for final editing, but I should definitely have a proposal ready in time. I still have to decide whether to submit it, but that’s a separate decision. Main thing is I can if I want to.

My other main goal was to revise and resubmit a journal paper. I’d been quite ill and weak for several months after getting the response from the editors, which caused a delay. But it also helped because the reviewer’s comments were quite harsh, and a bit of distance helps deal with that positively! But a few weeks ago I turned the editors’ requests and the reviewer’s critique into a to-do list of improvements to be getting on with, and I made a proper start on that last night. There were 13 items on my to-do list, and I completed 6 of them in about an hour. The tweaks are all quite surgical, not too lengthy (which is good, because I’d need to cut other words if I add any more), but needed that bit of distance and focus. And Academic Writing Month has encouraged me to finally bring this to completion. I’ll be working on the remaining items over the coming week or so, but am confident I will have it ready to resubmit this month.

On the downside I haven’t done much more IF Comp judging. I have reached the 5 game threshold, i.e. 5 games judged and rated, which means that my votes will count towards the final ranking. But with over 30 games entered in the competition that’s only a very small minority of games judged, and I would like to judge more. The deadline for judging and voting is 15th November, but I am confident, given how my other goals are going, that I should manage some more.

No more work yet on my own text adventure game, but I finished reading After Flodden, which gave me lots of ideas. And in my urban history research I’ve already started looking through and assessing the late 18th century Scottish shop tax lists, to see which would be suitable for further more detailed analysis. So that is a good start in itself.

Read Full Post »

Now it’s the eve of Academic Writing Month 2013, which runs through November, I’m going to state my goals up-front. This is with the hope that doing so will encourage me to complete them.

Goal 1 is to finish revising an academic journal paper I have a revise and resubmit offer on, and email the revised version to the editors by the end of November. The editors haven’t asked me to do any new research, or read further around the subject. Rather they want me to introduce my work more clearly, state the thesis up front, etc. That should be doable, if my brain gets into gear, in a relatively short time. For some of the material I add I will probably have to hack out some other content to keep within the 10,000 words (including footnotes) word limit. But, again, that should be manageable.

Goal 2 is to research, plan, write and submit a conference paper proposal for the 2014 SHARP conference in Antwerp. I am considering putting in a proposal for a paper based on Doctor Who fanzines. I’m still slightly undecided about doing this, given my neurological disease which is very disabling. I will make a final decision on what to do later in November. But I am gathering relevant academic books on the subject around me, and also brainstorming ideas for my own paper in my favourite mind mapping app on my iPad. The process will take a little time, but I think should be doable before the CFP deadline.

Those are my two goals. Alongside them I will be doing other writing, with an emphasis on having fun. And I will continue to judge the 2013 IF Comp entries. But these things will be done as and when I can, rather than towards fixed goals.

Read Full Post »

Early this morning I sent off the revised version of an accepted journal paper to the editor. So that’s taken care of. Good. But I thought for my own benefit I’d make a note here of other things I’m working on, as an aide-memoire.

I’ve agreed to write a book review for a Scottish history academic journal. I was approached for this, because of the specific book, and my research interests. So that’s next on the list. I have the book in the house – my own copy actually – and just need to read it, and pull together some thoughts. That shouldn’t take too long, fingers crossed, and should be fun. The review is needed by the end of this year, but I should easily finish it many months ahead of then.

In September I’m hoping to go to a Guild of One-Name Studies regional meeting at Perth, and have offered to give a short talk about my Cavers one-name study. I’ve jotted down some ideas in a mind map already, but need to finish writing it, including the PowerPoint presentation I’ll use.

I’ve a series of articles ongoing that are a cross between historical pieces and roleplaying game ideas, and need to resume writing these. They were put on hold, as I battled the illness and completing other things. I’ve done seven articles so far, and am part-way through one on Montrose, with more planned. I’m hoping to publish them as a PDF booklet, once completed.

My interactive fiction game work in progress needs to be picked up again. I’d completed the prologue, and was at a point where I was going to start coding up the main middle section. I should be able to make good progress with this. I find writing the dialogue and interaction quite hard, but the coding side, in Inform 7 – a natural language programming language – is much easier for me. It’s funny, I can’t do much computer programming now, since the brain damage got really bad. But I get on well with Inform 7 – yay!

I have two other academic articles currently with journal editors and reviewers. One was derived from part of my PhD, the other from my MPhil. And I could hear back about those at any time. With luck I’d be offered some sort of revision, even a revise and resubmit would be good. But even if these editors reject the pieces outright I’d want to revise them myself before submitting them to a different journal. So I need to allow a little bit of space to be able to work on that.

I need to put together a proposal for the Community Libraries: Connecting Readers in the Atlantic World, 1650-1850 project. I can’t attend the colloquium in Chicago, about digital approaches to library history. But I hope to be able to attend the London colloquium in 2015, which is looking at libraries in the community. I could put together a good discussion piece for that, based on what I did for the library in Haddington, researching the readers using a huge range of genealogical and historical records, to be able to contextualise their borrowings properly. I’m also planning similar research in future for the Balquhidder Parish Library in Perthshire, and to that end am currently in the middle of a small-scale pilot study of another set of library borrowings. But I need to put something together for the London meeting, and submit it before the September 2013 deadline for abstracts.

I recently blogged about the 17th century poem I’m transcribing. I’d like to publish the transcript in an academic journal, with a suitable introduction and text contextualising it. So that’s another paper idea I’m working on. But I need to finish transcribing the poem first. For the record it’s massive. Three pages of two columns of tight text. Many many lines of poem.

I have another couple of paper ideas in progress, but they are at early stages, and unlikely to reach editors anytime soon.

Read Full Post »

I do a lot of my research planning and writing on my iPad. For example I’ll always have a to-do list on the go there, of things I want to work on, of all sorts, ranging across academic history, through genealogy, miscellaneous writing, and computer game design.

To do list on iPad

And whenever I start a new research project I will brainstorm it, again in iThoughtsHD on my iPad.

But I was struck today by some of the advantages of an old fashioned pen and paper approach, even in a digital age.

I carry a red notepad with me all the time. It’s like a Moleskine, but a fraction of the price, lovely texture, and nice to write in.

Notepad with pen

It’s compact, and easily fits in my bag that I take out with me. So it’s always there, which is more than can be said for my iPad 2, which is too big for me to carry around all the time, though it’s great for working on at home. So when today I had a few minutes in the supermarket cafe, with a cappuccino beside me, I took out my notepad and had a look.

The first thing I spotted was a set of notes I’d made on a similar occasion, but hadn’t transferred to my iPad, and had totally forgotten about! These are notes of genealogy things I want to work on soon, such as transcribing a court case for my Cavers one-name study, and digitising the many paper receipts I have from around the wedding time of my great-grandparents at Melrose in 1905. I must get on with these!

Genealogy notes in notepad

After that initial shock, the next step was to use the notepad to develop new material. I’m writing a series of articles at the moment that are a sort of crossover between historical pieces and roleplaying game ideas, and once I’ve finished my current one about Montrose I’ll want to move on to the next couple of places. One of the upcoming articles will be about Inchtuthil in Perthshire, a Roman fort. So I took the chance this afternoon to brainstorm some ideas for this. I will move this planning at some point to my iPad though, into iThoughtsHD, and then write up the piece in WriteRoom.

Inchtuthil notes in notepad

I really like working with a pen and paper notepad like this, but I must make more of an effort to transfer the notes to my iPad, to work on them in future, and not completely forget them. Of course this brings to mind the integrated Evernote/Moleskine notepads. But I don’t think I want one of those, even though I use Evernote a lot. I think I just need to be a bit more organised about opening up my notepad when I get home and have my iPad to hand, and transferring the ideas from one to the other.

Read Full Post »

I received word that my conference talk proposal has been accepted, so I need to write that talk for definite now. And I now have a deadline for the revised version of the accepted professionals paper, by June, so I can deal with other more looming things first.

My immediate priority now is to write the talk for the archivists conference, or at least finish developing the mind map version of its content, which I could turn very easily into a talk nearer the conference in April.

After that I will look afresh at the chapmen material and see where things stand with that. I’m still gathering secondary material, for me to read and assimilate. Masses! But that is good. And I will start to transcribe the other detailed chapmen inventories I found, focusing on any reading material that was recorded. There is a chance that I could have something ready to submit to a journal before the 1st April 2013 open access deadline, but I’m not too worried if not, and will just expunge anything necessary to avoid problems.

I’m also taking a bit of time to work on some fun non-academic articles for a planned ebook project. It’s fun being creative like this, and a bit different from my usual academic writing, which is a welcome change.

Read Full Post »

I blogged earlier this month about my research and writing plans for the month. I’m checking in here with a progress update, continuing in the spirit of Academic Writing Month, which I found so motivating.

A few days ago I submitted my Melrose journal paper by email. I’ve already had a reply from the editors, and it will now go through the due consideration process to see if they want to publish it. So that’s nicely out of the way and in their hands.

Regarding the chapmen paper I sent a query to the SHARP-L mailing list, asking for advice on comparative research in a mainland European context. That has given me lots of valuable leads. I now have a mass of relevant books in the house, most bought new or secondhand, and it is going to take me some time work through those. They are unlikely to change my conclusions, but they may give me valuable new ideas for areas to explore in a Scottish context. And I will be able to add excellent discussion of comparative research.

Because of this, indeed the sheer mass of relevant comparative literature which is too interesting to overlook, I am going to postpone submitting this paper until after the 1st April 2013 deadline I had set myself. The paper will probably have to have some PhD-related context expunged, to avoid costly pay-to-publish fees, but the bulk will stay intact.

I’ve also been chasing up more possibly relevant records in the National Records of Scotland. For a short while I thought I might have located a register of chapmen, recording names and addresses, but it just gives total numbers. But even those could be interesting, though they will take time to work through. The NRS also have manuscript records relating to one of the Scottish chapmen I found with a detailed after-death inventory, including his license to sell gold.

So the chapmen paper is now downgraded as less urgent, and I will allow myself adequate time to soak up the ideas in the relevant literature. This should lead to a much better paper in the long-run, and it will be a fun process to work through. But I can’t put a likely timescale on how long this process will take, given the volume of reading required, as well as more primary source research.

I haven’t heard back yet about the required revision timescale for the accepted professionals paper, but I have heard from another editor that another paper of mine is now with the new editor for that journal. So that makes it two papers with editors for review.

So going back to my recent to-do list for this month my next priority is to write the talk that I may be giving to a conference for archivists in Dundee in April, if my proposal is accepted. That shouldn’t be too time-consuming. I’ll mainly write it in my mind-mapping app iThoughtsHD on my iPad.

And I will continue to soak up the chapmen literature. I have also identified a number of additional detailed after-death inventories for chapmen from the period I’m focusing on, and can transcribe those slowly as I’m able to.

Read Full Post »

In the last few days I’ve had one journal paper accepted (yay!) and another rejected (nay!) – though the latter wasn’t a big surprise, because I was aiming it at a very ambitious general interest journal. Its readers recommended two more specialist journals I could aim it at instead, so I’m going to try one of those next. However that, together with the accepted paper which has to be slightly revised in line with its readers’ comments, gives me more things to focus on in the short term.

So, mainly for my own benefit, I’m drawing up here a list of things I need to work on in the immediate future. It’s sort of roughly in order from most urgent to less urgent, but the order is somewhat fluid.

  • finish and submit chapmen paper – before 1st april 2013 (costly open access deadline), cos it’s partially based on research council funded PhD research (more partial as time goes on and do new research, but still falls under open access rules)
  • revise and resubmit melrose paper – preferably in next month, certainly next two (not open access concern, cos it was from a self-funded pg masters, but i’d still like to get it out of the way and submitted in a timely manner)
  • revise accepted professionals paper – waiting for timescale from editor, which might bump it up above melrose in priority
  • write talk for archivists’ conference – before end of march, for conference to be held in april

Then I can refer back to this list as a guideline to what I need to do, and get it done. I have space to finish off these things, in the limited good patches I have to get on with things, but the sooner they are out of the way the quicker I can get on with other tasks.

Read Full Post »

As we near the end of another year and approach the start of a new one I thought I’d blog about my academic goals for the year ahead. This is partly inspired by Academic Writing Month, where I found stating goals very motivational for completing them. Hopefully the same technique will work on a year’s rough goals.

I’m going to list the goals below. These are very rough specifications of things I’d like to do, usually without any specific timescale. I’d like to view this is an aspirational list, a menu that I can pick and choose things from as I am able to.

  • Complete chapmen paper by March and submit before 1st April 2013 if of suitable length and quality.
  • Write possible talk for archivists’ conference in April, whether my proposal is accepted or not.
  • Complete kirk session library borrowings transcribing and use this as basis for a pilot study for a possible future larger-scale project linking library borrowings to rich genealogical records from the 19th century such as census returns. Aim is to see how practical it is to work with the records in this way, in terms of time and complexity, and what sort of results it might offer. Will write the results of this process up in the form of a paper and aim to submit it.
  • Catch up with academic reading: I have a huge backlog of some very important things I need to read, both shorter papers and longer books. Reading print is quite a challenge for me now, due to the progressive neurological disease, but I must try to reduce the to-read pile in 2013.
  • (Related to above) Update my EndNote database of things read. As a historian I don’t find EndNote at all useful for automatically generating references in footnotes or endnotes – it gets the formats wrong, and even when I make up my own special styles to suit in-house styles it’s still not flexible enough for many of the things I need to refer to. But it’s fantastic for remembering what I’ve read – way better than me at it – and I use its rich database potential to type up notes about things read, and categorise by keywords. I just need to add some things I’ve read more recently and not put into EndNote.
  • Complete paper based on the dissertation project in the family & community history honours course in my Open University BA degree. I think this is publishable, with some extra contextualisation. I’m going to give it a go anyway.
  • Tidy away my piles of research material from my PhD. These are still taking up space in my study, years later. I need to sort through them, extract anything useful, then file them away (if they fit!) in a cupboard.
  • Attend more history departmental research seminars at Dundee. I’ve been too ill over recent months to attend any, but there are some particularly interesting ones coming up, and it’s too good a chance to miss to catch up with recent interesting research. There’s one that’s particularly appealing soon, that ties in to my recent paper submission to Past & Present.
  • (Possibly, if I’m still strong enough to tackle this afterwards) Send my husband to a local archive, with digital camera, to photograph a large run of 19th and 20th century library borrowings, which I’d like to transcribe and analyse. This would be for the bigger project following from the kirk session pilot study, and is rather contingent on how well that goes.

Read Full Post »

At the start of the month I blogged about my research and writing goals for the month. They have moved forward partially, but I’ve been very knocked out, so not able to do as much as hoped.

The chapmen paper has moved on a bit, with me having started to write it up in the WriteRoom app on my iPad. My goal there is to sketch out the overall structure, see where the gaps are, and fill those in. That made progress in spite of everything, and I hope to continue to work on it in the next month, still with the aim of submitting it for publication before 1st April 2013.

The kirk session library borrowings transcribing has not moved on at all, but that is not urgent, and can wait for a longer-term project and when I am stronger and have more time.

In positive news I submitted a proposal for a talk at a conference for archivists about democratising access to archives. As a disabled user I have an unusual but valuable perspective on this, and have spoken about the subject before to trainee archivists. I hope that I will be able to present my experiences and suggestions.

And another positive thing this month was that a previously-accepted journal paper is now moving forward with the editor, and will hopefully see publication in 2013.

Read Full Post »

I’d been hoping to move a rather urgent paper on this month, another PhD-derived one that really needs to beat the 1st April 2013 submission deadline, otherwise I’ll have to pay dearly for it to be published due to the new UK Open Access rules. But I’ve been rather knocked out of late, and haven’t finished the transcribing I’d hoped to do. I have my own microfilm machine at home, and the relevant records on film, but haven’t been well enough of late to sit down and work through them, which is not good.

But to move things on despite all this I’ve been looking tonight at developing other parts of the paper. Some time ago I had made lots of notes in a text editor, jotting down ideas for a rough structure. But I was struggling to see beyond these, and to properly see the bigger picture. So tonight I turned these linear notes into a mind map on my iPad, using the iThoughtsHD app. This allowed me to sketch out the overall structure more dynamically, and to fill in details of the other sections, as ideas occurred to me.

Chapmen mind map in iThoughtsHD

I now have a detailed structure that I can develop, and while part 2 of the paper (the part related to the microfilm transcription) is a little on hold I can develop the other parts, particularly parts 1, 3 and 4. I can also work on a bit of part 2 that is derived directly from a section in my PhD thesis. That leaves the rest of part 2 to finish after I’m better able to do the microfilm transcribing, and likewise part 5 – the conclusions – to work on at the very end, though I have sketched out a likely structure for that already.

So my paper is underway again, not quite in the manner I’d planned at the start of this month, but it’s making forward progress. And since I am aiming to submit before a looming deadline that is a good thing. Mind mapping has proved to be very effective for me tonight. Usually I’d mind map at an earlier stage than this, but in this case I was able to take a rough very linear set of notes and turn it into a mind map to make sense of and develop the bigger structure. And that was an enormous help.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »