Friday, July 10, 2009

My Plate is Full

(Picture taken from The Girl Who Ate Everything's blog. )

Yes, my plate is full --- I have been diligently working away at cleaning my plate and getting all the various projects off of it, and yet, there is much to do in the rest of the summer! I wanted to represent my to-do list with an enormous plate of different fried foods, but the pictures were a little too off-putting. This one looks both inspiringly tasty and sure to induce major indigestion afterwards, which sounds about right.

Just like a plate of 15 or so fried twinkies, my projects are very rich and overwhelming and I can only work at them for a short time before needing to take a breather. But! While recovering for a moment or two I will encourage myself with my progress to date:

- finished, one revise-and-resubmit.
- very close to done, one previously rejected article
- extensively brainstormed, one brand new article idea

Not bad. Not bad at all. I'm actually happy about my work, except for that first five minutes when I sit down at the computer and my brain automatically blurts out, "WTF? You can just climb back into bed, you know. No one is there to stop you."

I also have:

- several small article-idea sprouts,

which I have compiled some crap on and put into a folder on my desktop. I'm hoping that the ideas will germinate completely on their own in my subconscious while I work on the other projects and in a couple years I will just wake up and bust out the entire article in one sitting. I can hope, right?

So you can see, as long as you completely ignore that whole dissertation-into-book-manuscript business, I am working my way through that overloaded plate. I want to finish that damn article revision, proof it up, and send it out next week. That should give me some breathing time before I have to get back on the job-search treadmill.

Anybody wanna revise my dissertation for me? I have no clue how to start! Some people gave me advice (thank you! I owe you an email!) but that was mainly useful advice about some specific publishers who might like my stuff. And other people mentioned the Germano book, which I have. I'm just kinda feeling overwhelmed by ... starting. Like, literally: do I go reread my dissertation and make a list of all the stuff that needs to be changed? do I brainstorm an introduction? How do I even start to tackle this? I mean, I can't unhinge my jaw like a snake, so how do you bite into a humongous burger that is the size of my head like the picture up there?

As a caveat, I should note that none of these projects have anything to do with each other ... so while I have a "research agenda," it would seem, I do not have a coherent research agenda. I like to study everything. I'm just finding stuff that's interesting and working on it, regardless of topic or field. If that's really bad, you might want to let me know.

Oh, and I ordered the gold bottle.


Susan said...

Well, you'll get a gazillion suggestions here, but what I'd do is write a one page description of hte book. What is it about? How do you show this? THEN go back to the dissertation and figure out what you need to do. Are you adding a new chapter? Revising ideas? Reorganizing your information? Or just streamlining and focusing? Each of those is different, but I've known people whose dissertation revisions have been each of these.

medieval woman said...

I actually think Susan's idea is a great one - will your project change significantly in its focus or, like she mentioned, will it just be streamlining? I would write up a one-page description of what you think the book should do and then sit down and read your diss intro again.

I think it's great that you're working on several different things - I think jobs like it when they see you're not just peeling things off the diss or book.

Dr. Crazy said...

As for the Germano book, I think the place that I started with that was just with the chapter on how to decide whether one's dissertation should be a book. I believe there's a checklist or something? I also seem to remember freewriting in answer to the question: why does this project need to appear in book form?

I seem to recall writing a new introduction, then reading through the entire diss and making notes (separate from the manuscript) about changes, and then writing another new introduction (which ultimately became the introduction to the book). It was at this point that I put the book proposal together, if I recall correctly. If you'd like to see what my book proposal looked like, drop me a note and I'll be happy to forward it along.

Belle said...

No advice (though I like the other suggestions) but a question - what in the heck is that on the burger? It looks like a fried lizzard peering over the pltoch of... ick.

Ink said...

Congrats on your plate cleaning! That's very impressive.

Re: diss...unless you already have plans for how you want to revise it, I'd write a book proposal about it as it stands *right now* and send it off. Hopefully someone will ask to see the manuscript, and when you get the reader reports back, there will be suggestions for revision, and those can be the guides for future action.

Sisyphus said...

Belle: I think it's a thick slice of bacon on top of either a fried onion smothered in cheese or a really thick tomato slice covered in cheese.