Tag Archives: research

March 8, 2011, 2:06 pm

Research Week, Day 2 Report

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

Research Week, Day 1 Report

I set pretty ambitious goals for myself this week, and Day 1 went pretty well. Here are my goals:

  1. 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.
  2. Read 2 papers a day.
  3. Finish poster for next month’s conference.
  4. Make significant progress on a new manuscript – one for which I have all the data.
  5. 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…

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March 3, 2011, 10:54 am

Looking for a way out of the late winter blahs

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 …

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February 16, 2011, 7:13 am

Waiting for co-authors

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. …

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February 2, 2011, 9:48 am

Snow Day Ramblings

Ah… I’m snowed in at home, the power is still on, and the university announced yesterday that it would be closed today. What a perfect cozy day, the kind I always dream about. Of course, now that I am faced with this amazing opportunity for productivity and focusing on my own research, the only thing I want to do is snuggle under the blankets on the couch and watch movies all day. (“Groundhog Day” is high on the list, as is “Hot Tub Time Machine”…)

But I must resist this urge and Be! Productive!  I have some Center-related work to get done that will, honestly, probably take me less than an hour but will seriously impress the Powers That Be. I have lots and lots of my own research to work on. In particular, I have not even touched the rejected manuscript, or the manuscript that my co-authors finally sent comments on. Both of those are going to require a lot of work and I…

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November 29, 2010, 3:58 pm

Paper finished!

Woo hoo, I did it!! I just sent my manuscript off to my co-authors. I am so freaking excited that I wrote this whole thing in just under one month. I kind of can’t wait to get started on the next one.

Even more exciting, I managed to do this during a really stressful time. We have a major annual deadline this week – and the report that is due on that deadline is primarily my responsibility. That report is now pretty much finished (Hmm, I wonder if I should add it to my November word count? That’s another ~30,000 words), and I submit it on Wednesday. THEN on Thursday I am giving an hour-long seminar on my research to a rather large group of people. I also reviewed 10 grant proposals for a private foundation and reviewed one or two manuscripts for journals, interviewed candidates for an administrative position, traveled to a workshop, and traveled for a family Thankgiving, all in the…

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November 12, 2010, 10:11 am

Two weeks

It’s been two full work weeks since I began this month’s writing project… and I just printed out a nearly-presentable draft. I have to fill in some missing information here and there, make a new table, write the figure captions, write an abstract, and re-run one statistical test on SPSS because I forgot the non-significant p-value… but it’s just about done. I am stunned.

To be fair, this project has been in the works for years, I have written about it in multiple grant proposals, and I have presented preliminary data in talks several times, so I have been thinking about it for a long time. So the writing flowed much more easily than some other papers I have written in the past. But two weeks? This is unprecedented for me. Am I getting better at this? Was I wrong when I thought I couldn’t produce publications at a fast rate… or did I just get lucky this time?

November 8, 2010, 3:25 pm

Grant-reviewing peeve

Every year I review grant proposals for a private foundation which once gave me money. Aside from the usual writing problems, there is one particular problem I see over and over and it drives me crazy. Dear grant proposers, here is a little rule of thumb that I hope you will find helpful:



November 1, 2010, 11:38 am

Advanced Procrastination

It is absolutely amazing how much work I can get myself to do, just to avoid doing any writing. I just made a whole mess of phone calls that I had been avoiding – I truly hate talking on the phone, especially if any sort of customer service menu options are involved. But I have spent the last hour on the phone, as well as doing other things I’ve been putting off for a long time, like making travel plans for something I am doing in January. I wonder how much more I can get done today just by avoiding my writing task…

September 30, 2010, 5:18 pm

Aaargh, it's back on my desk!

When I was a postdoc, I did a big project that was not a very good idea. I spent years on it. I wrote a manuscript which was harshly rejected and required many more months of lab work to revise. I submitted the new manuscript to a different journal a few months ago, and for awhile was in that blissful state of “in review,” where you don’t have to think about a paper and it’s on your CV and all is well with the world.

It got rejected, which is not too surprising. And now I am going to try to turn it around with minimal revisions and send it to a lower-ranking journal in about a week.

But it is SO disheartening to have to think about this paper again. Especially since more people have published stuff while this manuscript was being reviewed, stuff that I need to read and cite before resubmitting.

It makes me cranky. I want to spend my precious research time on things I like, not this…

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