March 29, 2011, 7:06 am
This manuscript just got a revise-and-resubmit decision, with generally quite positive comments. Hooray! And wow, that was fast. I’ve published in this journal before and I like it quite a lot – and on top of all its other positive qualities, it has a double blind review process.
Also, the manuscript that I worked on during Research Week is nearly finished, and I am planning to send it to co-authors by the end of this week. I have more to say about my writing process on that one, but it will have to wait – it’s time to get ready for work. I’m absurdly pleased with myself at this moment…
March 11, 2011, 3:47 pm
It’s Friday! I am back in the office today and therefore making more progress. I played with my data this morning, and after ln-transforming the data (why, oh why, do I always forget about that), they finally make some sense. Hooray!
Minutes spent writing: 120 (I skipped the 30 minutes of crap writing today)
Words written: 484 (more time playing with data than actually writing)
Papers read: 2
And here are the final statistics of my progress during Research Week:
Minutes spent writing: 690
Words written: 12,405
Papers read: 10
Not too shabby. Can I keep this up during a regular week? Probably not. But I don’t see any reason why I can’t try to incorporate more of this into my daily work routine. Maybe reading one paper and spending 60 minutes of research writing a day (even if it’s broken into smaller chunks of time) is not unreasonable.
As spring break comes to…
March 10, 2011, 2:22 pm
I don’t know if any of you out there have ever tried to work productively at home, with 8 territorial and emotionally needy pets (ok, only 7 – the tortoise doesn’t really give a shit about anything except his heat lamp and food) – which is bad enough, but just wait ’til you get to the end of the sentence — while having a new furnace installed. If you haven’t tried it but are considering it, let me give you a word of advice: don’t.
I did my 30 minutes of crap writing this morning, and then sort of fumbled through 90 minutes of researchy
writing cutting and pasting. It was too difficult to concentrate with the banging coming from the basement, the dog barking and whining, the cat growling at the noise in the heating vent, the other cat insisting on climbing into my lab because he’s cold and there’s no heat, and the parrot squawking. I haven’t even bothered trying to read any scientific…
March 9, 2011, 1:55 pm
Still going well! I don’t think I’d be able to keep up this level of productivity any time other than spring break or summer, though – it’s awfully quiet around here right now.
Minutes spent writing: 150
Words written: 2863 (but most of those were not new words – I did a lot of editing today)
Papers read: 2
Progress on manuscript: Looking good! I edited the Introduction and Methods sections and I’m pretty pleased with them. I think I’m going to have to go back and run more statistics before I get much further with Results and Discussion, though.
Weather: gray and rainy. I guess I should be glad that it’s above freezing, though, right?
March 8, 2011, 2:06 pm
Minutes spent writing: 150
Words written: 2928 (yeah, that includes references – so what?)
Papers read: 2
Manuscript: definitely progressing
Other project: ideas are coming together, thanks to all the paper reading – I drafted an introduction this afternoon!
Poster: finished, except for small design tweaks
March 8, 2011, 7:01 am
I set pretty ambitious goals for myself this week, and Day 1 went pretty well. Here are my goals:
- 2.5 hours per day on writing tasks, in 30 minute chunks. First 30 minutes when I first get up, the other 4 to occur as they fit throughout the day.
- Read 2 papers a day.
- Finish poster for next month’s conference.
- Make significant progress on a new manuscript – one for which I have all the data.
- Complete a small service-related writing task.
How’d I do yesterday? Very well! I started by being generous with my definition of “writing” in the first 30 minute block, and I used this time yesterday to write out these goals and map out my plan for the week. (This blog post is today’s first writing task – hey, it’s words, right?) I spent a full hour on the manuscript (much of which was cut and paste from an abandoned attempt back in December – but hey, gotta start somwhere), 30 minutes on the…
March 3, 2011, 10:54 am
Ugh, I am suffering from ennui. I don’t have a damn thing to complain about – except this endless freezing weather – but I can’t seem to get my act together lately. Nothing is particularly urgent at the moment, which really doesn’t help. I have all kinds of things I could be doing, but I don’t feel like it. I can’t even get excited about my shoe collection (too slippery outside, nobody notices anyway, why bother), and have worn the same boring black loafers three days this week. That’s a bad sign.
Next week is spring break at my university. This would be a wonderful time to go to Florida and sit on a beach… but alas, I am not a student and I still have to work. However, the boss will coincidentally be away next week, and I miraculously have no meetings whatsoever on my calendar for next week! NONE. That never happens. NEVER.
So, I am declaring next week Research Week! I …
February 21, 2011, 12:45 pm
Well, what do you know! The delinquent co-authors got their comments to me. I suggested to PA that I could move a project that was important to PA to the top of my priority list – once PA got comments on that manuscript back to me, of course. And PA sent the comments back in less than two hours. Then I used the fact that PA had already sent comments to shame GS into sending comments quickly too. And now the paper is submitted!! Hooray!
February 16, 2011, 7:13 am
At the moment, I do not have any articles in review, which pains me. I do have four that are pretty close to getting out there (or back out there, as the case may be for a few of them) – two are papers on which I am the first author, and two on which I am a co-author. All four of these have two co-authors in common – my postdoctoral adviser (PA), and a grad student (GS) in PA’s lab.
PA is notoriously busy and important, though well-meaning, and it always takes a long time for PA to get around to reading and commenting on drafts. I won’t lie, it pisses me off – but I try to remember that PA puts a lot of work into reading carefully and making helpful comments. Also PA has been around a long time and has hundreds of publications, and my research is somewhat outside of PA’s main research interest. So, I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it.
GS takes even longer to get drafts back to me. …
February 4, 2011, 9:04 am
Telling academics that you don’t want a tenure-track job is a lot like telling regular people you don’t want to have children.
Seriously. Try doing either one, and you’ll often hear the same set of responses: It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done; How can you be fulfilled if you don’t?; You’ll change your mind when you get older.
I never had any doubts about not wanting children. I did struggle quite a bit with the decision to leave the tenure-track path. My struggle was summed up very eloquently in a paragraph by Dean Dad, singled out and quoted by The Happy Scientist:
I’m convinced that one reason some people won’t let themselves let go of the dream, despite years of external signals suggesting that they should, is a sense that it would reflect a personal moral failing. They’ve identified so completely with the ‘meritocracy’ myth that they feel a real need to…