Shut Up and Start Writing: Week 2- The Starting Pistol

BANG! And we’re off.  Alright folks, time to check in with what you did this week and what your goal is for next week.

I actually got the chapter I’ve been working on revised and emailed to my adviser. So, if Dennis got his done too, that adviser should have a nice batch of summer reading. For next week, I’m starting a new chapter and I’d like to have a list of sources I need to go through put together by the end of the week. I’ll give myself bonus points if I can actually get through some of those sources. So, did I earn a sticker?

And what about yall? How was the first week? Did you start strong? Stumble out of the blocks? What can we do to help you? And what’s your goal for next week?


8 thoughts on “Shut Up and Start Writing: Week 2- The Starting Pistol

  1. I think you totally earned a sticker.

    I finished my behemoth chapter last week, so this week was all catching up on the things around the house that I’ve been actively ignoring. (It turns out the dishes don’t do themselves, no matter how long you leave them in the sink.) Next week I too start another (and hopefully much shorter) chapter. Ditto on research accumulation and reading. Next big deadline is 1 August.


  2. Nice work, Megan and Mike! I didn’t meet my goal of spending 2 hours a day on my manuscript, but I still accomplished what I wanted to. I finished taking notes on my dissertation and thought through what revisions I need to do in order to turn it into a book. (Megan, I’ve decided that the current spirit animal of my dissertation is a gangly, teenaged giraffe. It has some interesting bits, but it is really disorganized and having trouble with its long legs.) I have some ideas, but next week, my task is to nail down my audience, argument, and the overall structure that will support a cohesive throughline. Then, I’ll develop a revision schedule for myself. My mantra will need to be…must not keep researching…must not keep researching….


    1. My dissertation aspires to your giraffe. That sounds way more adorable than my leprous hippo cub.

      STOP RESEARCHING (she says, with no sense of reflexive irony).


  3. Megan, I feel like our little dissertation babies are growing up together. I hope we can get them into a good pre-school.

    Brandi, great job getting things done and I think that doing it all without the two hours a day is testament to your talent. Or at least that’s how you should think of it. I struggle with the same problem of not knowing when to quit on the research. For me, I’m always worried that the historian crowd will find what I’m doing shallow and the religious studies people will think it is boring or lame and so I’m constantly over-reaching to show my historian chops and my theoretical credentials. I’m hoping that for this chapter I’ll know when I’ve done enough, addressed enough, and argued enough. Sometimes research is just fancy procrastinating. I’ve become a big fan of “write before you are ready.”

    Best of luck to both of you this week! Looking forward to hearing the grand results.


    1. Aw, that would be nice. Mine would probably fail at sharing and would secretly eat paste, but I would love it anyway. Because stupid babies need the most love.

      RE: over-researching — my problem is that once I have dug up all this delicious information, I feel compelled to write it all out. And then, my friends, your chapter is a hippo. Do not feed the hippo.

      Good luck to you, too!


  4. Morning y’all.
    I got out the starting blocks but fell down and did not get up at the 50 yard line.
    The chapter of doom, is still killing me, and while I worked on it and made good progress early in the week, after the holiday I just stopped working. On anything. Yeah I lay on the sofa and watched bad TV and tried to pretend like the deadline isn’t hanging over my head.
    So on Saturday I outlined how I would get it done this week and am starting afresh this morning. I am going over the chapter carefully to try to bring together the argument (and tie it to the larger argument) then making the little tweaks needed. What is hard is that I am very much done researching and heavy writing, and it is all tweaks from here on out, which I think is harder than just throwing stuff on the page. Anyway, this week’s goal is to get this chapter done and off to my trusty revision-reader and onto the next one. It will be finished… and I will stay off the couch before 6pm this week…
    Personally i find that I can only write until about 2 pm (from about 9:30-2) and then I just shut down. So I have planned some syllabus planning and I need to review an article, etc for the afternoons. So I stay busy but not with the manuscript.


    1. I like your plan, Angela. I have found the same thing when it comes to writing. By 2-3pm I’m done. I also totally agree that the tweaking takes the most time. That’s what slowed me down with my last chapter. Waiting for that “AHA!” moment that gave the chapter that zing the argument needed. Good luck this week!


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