November writing

Text scrawled across a colour chart reading "insert something profound here"

Photo: Flickr user maddiegascar95. Licensed CC-BY-SA 2.0.

It’s November, and that means that a number of my friends are starting on NaNoWriMo, a crazy scheme to write a novel in a month. I am not doing that, but I do have a lot that I need to write. So I’m setting myself a goal to write something every working day in November, and maybe a few other days as well.

I’m going to use a pretty broad definition of “writing” here. Outlining counts (this is a necessary part of my writing process). Reading my work and editing counts (this is not NaNoWriMo, I’m not simply trying to bash out wordcount). Reading papers, if not also accompanied by writing, does not count – endless reading when trying to write is a particular trap that I tend to fall into.

Next week I’m going on a “writing retreat”, where a group of researchers who have papers to write sequester themselves in the middle of nowhere for a few days to do that, with mutual support. The idea for me is to get a paper drafted without letting it spread and encroach too much on my thesis work. It also has the benefit of providing a deadline for being ready to write, and this week I’m putting a lot of effort into getting all of the data ready. Today’s “writing” task was outlining that paper (more precisely re-outlining it, as last week’s data didn’t show quite what was expected).

Things that I hope to write during November:

  • A summary of what I did in October. I find that writing these up monthly is really helpful for me.
  • The paper that the writing retreat is for.
  • Revision of another paper in line with reviewer comments.
  • Updating and refactoring the literature review for my thesis. Some of what I did a couple of years ago is no longer relevant as my subject has shifted, and other stuff is now needed. This is a bit open-ended, and is unlikely to be finished this month.
  • Maybe some more blog entries? They totally count 🙂

It’s likely that one of these will slip, but…. we’ll see.