The Revise and Resubmit

Is revised and resubmitted.

No, I don’t feel relieved.

I’ve never felt so scared.

First of all, it’s 6 weeks late. Chances are that I’m not the first or last writer who has done that, but I still am not comfortable.

Secondly, although I’ve called myself carefully reading what the reviewers said and making sure I applied them to my work, I fear that I did something wrong. I can’t imagine that they would want my article.

Regardless, I finished it with many 15 minute writing sessions.

I finished it without loads of angst. Yes, I worry about what they’ll think, but not loads of angst.

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. I loved the book. She provides two choices – you can create your art (and she includes academic writers in that) with emotional angst and suffering, or you can create as a trickster.

What does she mean by that?

“the trickster trusts the universe. He trusts in its chaotic, lawless, ever-fascinating ways – and for this reason, he does not suffer from undue anxiety. He trusts that the universe is in constant play and, specifically, that it wants to play with him.”

I wouldn’t have received a revise and resubmit if the universe didn’t want to play with me.

So right now, I’m finished with academic writing for the duration of my vacation. That’s my treat.

There’s more writing to tackle when I return!

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#WriteFor15 – Why I embraced Writing For 15 Minutes

When I was working on my doctorate, my partner told me of a book that said write for 15 minutes per day to finish your dissertation.

I, predictably, reacted with a guffaw.

Now, while I am not necessarily convinced that 15 minutes alone on a daily basis will get someone a finished dissertation, journal article, or book, it can really go a long way.

I take back my guffaw.

Currently, I’m traveling well outside the U.S. I will take time off of writing, but I am horribly behind on sending in a revise and resubmit. So THIS WEEK, I need to send out the revise and resubmit.

Given the clip at which we are touring South Africa, sometimes, I have only had 15 minutes.

15 focused minutes. 15 minutes to know EXACTLY what I’m doing. 15 minutes to DO IT! It’s worked wonders.

IMG_2487

I will do one more edit.

It moved the ball forward.

You see, 15 minutes, if you “don’t feel like it,” are stuck, don’t know what to do, puts enough of a pressure cooker on that you quickly discern what is important to write, and what isn’t. It is enough time for super short edits.

In short, it’s time to move the ball forward.

You may even feel like writing for 1 – 2 hours when all is said and done.

Give it a whirl.

If you regularly start with writing for 15 minutes at a time, please write how it goes for you in the comments! Feel free to share this with like-minded people!

I Have No Thoughts on Beating Jet Lag

But hell, if sleep isn’t going to happen, I will totally commandeer that time for my own uses.

I will say that ideally, I would have started setting my body to the new time zone WEEKS ago, but life would not permit.

Currently, I’m hijacking a study abroad course to South Africa. While I don’t intend to do loads of reading (I am being resistant to acting as a formal student again (I already have TWO terminal degrees)), I did a little reading for the course. Indeed, that reading reminded me of my writing.

So I am editing my work. #WriteFor15? Jet lag makes it fully possible.

So bottoms up for jet lag. I will be grateful for it now. In 12 hours . . . Not so much.

Nothing that couldn’t be managed by eating, right?

You never know what will allow you to #WriteFor15. Take advantage of those 15 minutes (or hours) when they come about!

So You’re Halfway Through the Bar Course

Congratulations! I suspect you’ve just taken your mock Bar Exam. I hope that went well.

I remember that point when I studied for the Illinois Bar . . . A friend of mine celebrated his birthday on July 4 and I remember having drunk too much that night. I got home and went to bed without setting my alarm clock (yep, this was pre-smart phones!).

I woke up still buzzed the following morning!

In my haze, I put on the same clothes I wore the day before. Yep they were smoky and still smelled a little bit like alcohol. I went to my Bar class and took the practice test.

Suffice it to say, it wasn’t my best work.

You still have a couple of full weeks to go before you take the bar. You’ve worked really hard. Use this time to take care of yourself a little bit while remember that sentence you will need for your commercial paper essay!

Take this time to get some rest. Take this time to get a little bit of exercise. Set everything up so that you are off the day before the exam and can have a lovely meal the night before. Make sure you get enough rest the night before.

You’ve got this.

And if you’re worried about this, give me a ring. I have some thoughts.

Why is it so Easy to Be Distracted?

Yep, this again. I’ve been working (a lot) on academic writing, specifically an article that a journal gave a Revise and Resubmit. While I’m excited about it, it is taking me SO LONG to get this done. There are days when I’m cranking along.

There are others where it feels like it’s easier to pull teeth. I think I would prefer to pull out my teeth.

That is when it’s easiest to “just check Facebook for a minute.” Jump to a news site (I’m a bit of a news junky). See what’s going on with Twitter. Clean the kitchen. Just do one thing for my biz (and there’s time scheduled to do the business stuff . . . ).

What on earth is going on?

I find that it’s easiest for me to be distracted when I’m writing something really hard. The analysis isn’t tight enough. The organization doesn’t make sense and I don’t know why. I’ve read the paragraph 30 times and it still doesn’t work.

When writing feels like a breeze, I’m far less vulnerable. I can focus until the cows come home.

How does this work for you? When are you most distracted when writing? If you don’t know, keep track for a week. I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

#WriteFor15

What on earth could this be about?

For those of us who do academic writing, the summer often presents a difficult time. Without our schedules including teaching, student, and administrative work, it can be hard to create the structure we need to get our writing done.

Poor us . . . we have days that go on and on without anyone but ourselves to manage them.

There are many ways around this, but I’ll just suggest one.

This summer, Michelle Dionne Thompson Coaching and Consulting kicks off the Write For 15 minutes campaign. If you are having a difficult time setting aside distinct periods where you will start to write, start small.

Start with writing for 15 minutes per day. Period.

Why you ask?

  • It’s such small amount of time, it’s hard to let social media distract you!
  • It’s enough time that if you have a juicy thought, you can bang SOMETHING out about it.
  • It’s enough time to short circuit any tendencies towards perfectionism.
  • If you start for 15 minutes with a juicy idea, you may actually sit down and write for longer because you’re on a roll.

So stop tormenting yourself with writing for 4 hours in a row. Start with 15 minutes. Set a timer on your watch or your phone (in airplane mode so you’re not distracted), get your work out, and see what happens. We’ll do this campaign until August 15 . . . because you know what happens then . . .

I would love to hear how this goes for you in the comments.

Reflections on Bar Prep

Above was the Bar/Bri logo when I took the Illinois Bar and then the Washington, D.C. Bar Exam. Now, I’m proud to say, this bag holds my knitting!

I can’t forget that time when I prepared for the Bar. I did temp work during the day and attended the evening classes because I had to pay for the Bar Exam and prep course with my temp wages. Not only that, I would have to pay for my move from Chicago to Washington, D.C., a move that included a moving truck and making sure I had enough to pay down my credit card to do it.

I don’t know that there was (another) loan to take out at the time.

This was a really stressful period.

I remember getting all of these materials and not really knowing what to do with them.

I went to classes and took notes from the lectures. I read the law for each topic point.

I was exhausted at the end of the day.

July 4th came along and I hung out with a friend of mine. I actually got really drunk that evening and woke up STILL buzzed on the 5th and realized that I was going to be late for the Bar course.

To make matters worse, I had to take the sample test that day.

Suffice it to say it didn’t go well. Neither did the Bar. But I didn’t know that until the following October.

Once again, I signed up for the Bar course, but this time, I was in Washington and had to work full time. I took one week off right before the Bar exam. I. Was. Broke. Drinking potato soup kind of broke.

Unlike my experience in Chicago, I had friends that gave me excellent advice and I had a community of people who rooted for me. My employer let me know that there was no shame in failing and that my job was safe.

As you go into this next month of preparation, know that this doesn’t define your life. It will not take away your accomplishments from the past. It won’t define what happens in the future. It won’t define who you are. At all. Make sure that you get your support system around you to remind you of your brilliance.