This sabbatical is flying by! Since I last posted, I have had several writing projects come and go, and have even done a high-profile talk in NYC. The one thing I regret is that I have not been able to disconnect from my grad students who are graduating this semester. They are wonderful students, and many still need my help as they navigate the final touches to their theses and degree programs. It is my pleasure to help, and I want them all to succeed, but it does detract from my other projects. I will hopefully remember to plan better for this next time around so that anyone graduating in the same semester I’m on sabbatical will have an alternative mentor and feel comfortable enough with them that they won’t need me. My goal will be to make myself obsolete (at least for that semester).
Otherwise, I have too many deadlines now, but find that the deadlines get me moving. I don’t think I can motivate myself enough without the pressure to complete. That’s one of the reasons I’ve even neglected this blog. The deadlines are piling up and every spare moment I am typing I feel that I should be writing toward a deadline. Even the 5 minutes to update this is precious time! That’s okay. Everyone needs a little break…but now I’m back to revising my latest draft for that Friday deadline.
These are worth working towards…for both students and faculty…because they are the backbone of lifelong learning and critical thinking. Link Here
I never really expected for my sabbatical to be this busy. My idea was that I would work on projects one-by-one and then heavily supplement my writing with reading. So far, the record isn’t so good. I’ve been extremely productive so far (2 articles completed and submitted for review; 2 edited volumes in the works; 1 article drafted and with co-author for revision; new website developed to showcase professional work (not this blog, but another one); and both syllabi for classes in the Fall completely drafted. I’m still way behind. There are at least 4 more articles/chapters I have to complete in February – which is probably not going to happen – and I’ve now gotten a request to contribute a proposal for a national education research institute. Reading, which is one of my true pleasures, has taken a back seat again in favor of “productivity”. That stinks because the reading is what fuels the writing productivity. If I don’t read, then I don’t have new input coming in. If I don’t have new input coming in, I don’t produce the highest quality writing…and the connections continue. In addition, I’ve completely abandoned the exercise and language learning components of my perfect schedule (see my earlier post here). What to do about this? Do I just say forget it, and stick to my perfect schedule? Or, do I say I can do it, and squeeze it all in (even if some of it turns out to be a bit late)? Hmm. I think I need more coffee.
I recorded this into Dragon Dictation on the way home after dropping my daughter off at school. I didn’t see how horribly it had been dictated until I got home. Probably just as well, since I was talking about something that is both painful and uncomfortable to discuss. So, I’ve decided that even though Dragon Dictation sucks it is great for comedy, and it has coded my overly personal blog post enough that it really is more funny than sad now. Yippee! Here it is EXACTLY as Dragon Dictation recorded it:
What good that good academic. It is somebody who right thing a erratically without any good extra credit on try to get a pet is on Eriko doesn’t care about it at that there’s didn’t have read that someone would not all that he can make sure that is student. A content as well as understand what next a good administrator? Isn’t someone who follows the letter of the law and you have no backbone in standing up to that long. I am a little better today. I have been accused by one of my student that I used to trust and that I did all I could order up doing something on ethical with getting in a school in another country. I was originally shocked and then angry and then add and now I’m just frustrated. It is impossible to fully concentrate on my work with it on the big hanging over my head. And my school administration that impossible to make a judgment. So I am getting when and when I want lunch updated academic committee is if they open it hell and spa and I would much rather play in a charity of people randomly selected and charity up I will call anything all to hear it without considering I wonder if I do it because they have been training a day and all the answers are and where they might not understand . And I wish I could say that this was no big deal but it’s not. It’s huge. It is the kind of thing that is a career change. And by career change or it isn’t a good day. In fact it’s like Yeop. It had the back of the way that I approach all my work at the universe equipment. It changes the way I think about my research. It changes the way I think about like you. And it should dearly limit the kind that possible opportunities that I even dared to attempt with my graduate student. Where is the jacket? How am I going to DVD? Cool what old BA student accountable that may default allegation? It isn’t in my university administration. They don’t have the backbone or the committee system to make that happen. It apparently isn’t going to be in the student yourself. She now have to stick to the story no matter what. In order to not look up pool herself. And why not? District them for making complaints at university is completely back to get the professor and completely in favor of the administration.
One major project down, another one started. The first manuscript that I was revising is finished and has been sent back to the publisher for further review. The second article that I’m working on was not as far along. So, now I am starting from scratch. But I find that when starting from scratch I can’t just type all of my thoughts out at once. I have to type a little and get a basis and then let it rest for a day. After letting it rest I can pick it up again and usually I am able to see places where I could better express myself or I could use different evidence or something like that. In the downtime I can’t just sit around and wait. I have to find a different project to work on during that time so I have found a paper that was mostly done but hasn’t been completed yet. It’s on a different topic so it will allow my brain to take a break from the original manuscript and focus on the revised older manuscript for the time being. This is sort of like crop rotation: one day I am working on one paper and the next day I’m working on another with the goal that both would prosper during that time period. Thank you farmers for thinking up this ingenious method of letting ground go to good use every year without depleting all of the energy that is in the soil — of my mind or of the earth. Cheesy analogy, but appropriate I think!
It’s not quite the academic version of a hydra, but is similar in some ways. I am thankful to have finished and submitted the paper on ICT in the GCC that I was revising for a journal last Friday. Spent the weekend thinking about the next project, and dove into some early drafting of the next article yesterday morning and last night. Now I am knee-deep in the early draft of this new article. It is again something that I am extremely behind on, but with no other distractions (yeah, right), I should have a complete draft by Friday that will be ready to share with my co-authors for their comments and contribution. Life moves fast!
I said yesterday that the final stages of revision are painfully slow, and I wasn’t kidding. I’m still at it today, and have identified a few numbers-related revisions that I’m going to have to re-calculate at some point. This is definitely the “darkest-before-the-dawn” moment, but there’s light (and a celebratory beer and cigar) at the end of the tunnel. Almost there!
Handwritten notes, deletions and additions on real paper are always the best way to begin revising a manuscript. It gets your head into the content in a way that the computer just can’t manage. And it is painfully slow…Maybe that’s why.