So today I confronted the bits and pieces that are my book manuscript. A conference paper here, an invited talk there, an actual drafted chapter elsewhere, bits and bobs of notes and quotes and ideas… When I work on a big project like this, I don’t do it in a linear way. Or, rather, I work on tiny portions in a linear way, but the while the parts are linear, the whole is not. Until it has to be. And, really, the whole has to become linear now.
My original goal, in December of last year when I quietly circulated (the first version of) my book proposal, was that the manuscript would be ready by the end of January 2013. Clearly, I did not meet that internal deadline. However, I forced myself to confront the amorphous manuscript today, which I’ve been avoiding, and July 2013 is entirely reasonable – indeed, it gives me a full month of wiggle-room, in which to do what I need to do. I am currently at around 55K words, but the project is fully formed in my head, the research is done, and the theory is grappled with. I’d say I’m about 75% of the way there (even though the word count doesn’t really reflect that). If I had two solid months with no teaching or professional responsibilities to write, I could be done. But I have two solid months of a 4/4 load, so reasonably, I need to give myself through the end of July. But: there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and, also, the good thing about tenure is that you can give yourself that extra 6 months on a project. This isn’t life or death (career-wise) for me. And that is awesome.
In other news, I am supremely irritated by my colleague (who is also my friend) to whom I am a mentor who a) takes none of my advice and b) is “distracted” – waah! and c) doesn’t seem to realize that if she doesn’t do what I tell hir to do that she is going to get denied tenure and be motherfucking unemployed. Oh, I am “different” and have so much fucking “energy.” You know what? My job isn’t on the line! Zie’s job is! But apparently I’m just fucking exceptional, and so when I tell zie that zie needs to get hir shit together, I’m being an asshole who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Except what zie doesn’t realize is that I’m not advising her based on my productivity at all: if I were, then I would expect zie to have a book plus a handful of articles, plus about 10 courses, plus a variety of service things, at tenure. No: I am coaching zie to the baseline, and not at all to the fucked up shit that I did. But DUDE, if you don’t meet the baseline, you won’t get tenure! And you’ll get fired!
The Dude, who is amazing and great and in line with me on all things, says I need to drop the colleague, because you can’t help people who don’t want to be helped. And I actually totally agree with him and think he’s super smart. But where he’s not like me is that I feel upset and sad about dropping people. Even if I know it’s totally the right thing to do.
I really love The Dude, though. He is SUPER awesome. It’s too bad that most people aren’t as awesome as he is 🙂
P.S. I don’t have the energy for this right now, but I’m gonna do a post soon about my “energy” in the job, and about how I approach the things. But, man, I’m tired. I can’t.