Yes, I am insane: My AcWriMo goals post

(tap tap) Er, is this thing on?

Hello. You may remember me. I used to blog in this space….well, maybe not regularly, but certainly more regularly than of late. I’m still here, really. I’ve composed a number of blog posts….in my head, driving to and from work, which seems to be the only free time I have lately. It’s that whole transferring the posts from my head to the screen that’s proved difficult lately.

In short, this term is kicking. my. ass. in a serious way, and continues to do so.

So why on earth would I decide that this is a stellar time to participate in AcWriMo? That month-long festival of crazy writing goals for academics similar to NaNoWriMo? That takes time, and energy, and planning, none of which I seem to have lately. And I’m waaaaay far behind on everything else (see especially: grading of daily assignments for my 2 classes, sleep), so really, shouldn’t I focus instead on the immediate?

Actually, it’s precisely for these reasons that I’m participating in AcWriMo. I’m one of those annoying people who preach the value of prioritizing research time, even (especially) when the rest of life gets crazy. “Just 30 minutes a day!” I say. “Do some pomodoros!” I say. “It’ll make you a better teacher, and you can write articles and run experiments and analyze data that way!” I say.

Ask me when was the last time I worked on my research for even 10 minutes.

The thing is, when I don’t make time for research (just like when I don’t make time for exercise or sleep), I get cranky, and I don’t work as effectively in general. Research really does ground my teaching. Plus, I kind of have this big grant deadline coming up in mid-December, and while I’ve been making slow and steady progress, my lack of attention to research lately has brought my progress to a halt. I want this to be a decent grant application, not a half-assed one, yet if I don’t jump-start my progress on it then it will be half-assed, and I’ll be disappointed in my effort.

So, I’ll be participating in AcWriMo 2012, tweeting about my progress periodically (with possibly the occasional blog post). Because part of AcWriMo is making your goals public, here are my goals for the month:

  1. Finish the grant narrative, and send it out to colleagues for comments, by 16 November. (The grant narrative is the “meat” of the application, and is the technical explanation of the work and deliverables.)
  2. Finish the supplementary documents (RUI statement, budget outline, budget justification), and send them to our amazing grants person, by 28 November. (That’s actually kind of a “drop-dead” date—I’d like to have the budget numbers to our grants person a bit earlier so he has time to assemble all the budget stuff on his end and is not scrambling.)
  3. Write my conference talk. I’m giving a talk at a conference (workshop) in early December, but I’m taking my family with me (and my mom too—so excited!), so I would rather spend the conference week hanging out with my family and not stuck in my hotel room frantically assembling slides. So, by 30 November, I will have my talk completely done: slides finished, AND a few run-throughs of the presentation under my belt.

I’ve sketched out where I am and where I need to be and I’ve set some achievable micro-goals along the way (the first of which is due this Friday….yikes!), so I’m excited to get started.

If you’re participating as well, I look forward to working virtually with you this month! It should be an interesting ride.