Undine and Kathleen Fitzpatrick over at Prof Hacker are talking about writing again and the old writing-in-the-morning game again. I know that this conversation, while inspiring, may not really be for me. Yes, I can wake up and plunge into something, but the brain that plunges is certainly not my best brain. Not to mention, one's time with an active nineteen month-old is not one's own. But I'm sure I have friends who'd simply wake up before the Tot and get much done. But here's the thing: when I do wake up before him and focus on work before I get him, I don't really want to stop. And I'm not sure I really want my brain to be in work stuff and wanting to be in work stuff when I really should be with him with my whole head. Especially now as he has just vaulted into some incredibly annoying phase where his favorite things are all things he's not supposed to do: standing on the chair, climbing over the sofa, and sitting on the bottom shelf of the entertainment unit. These are all things he's heard "no" to a dozen times, so he does them while watching us with that smile. I don't know if he can truly understand "no" yet, but he spent a lot of time today in his playpen, which is the punishment for naughty things. Is he too young for that? Are we still supposed to be doing distraction? Any thoughts?
Anyway, back to writing. After a horrendous week where I actually got some strange sickness leaving me very very weak but without many symptoms, I was determined on Friday to get some scholarly work done, especially because it's Annual Review time and I have that my scholarship -- or lack of published verification thereof -- on the brain. So I worked and made good progress. I did not actually write. I read a vital source for my article and took copious notes and really allowed myself some time to wade around in those ideas. It was great. When I was done, I didn't really want to stop. I didn't want to work on the backlog of student marking I have to do. I didn't want to prep for Monday. I couldn't make myself sit still to do those things either. I wanted to do research, Annual Review things like work on the report, or chat with colleagues.
This is my problem with the whole writing in the morning idea. It works really well for people who are better at transitions than I am. I suck at closing something up and going on to the next thing. My brain really wants to stick around in the research. Which makes it hard to focus on even the most worthy student project.
So I have teaching prep to do tomorrow that I couldn't get myself to do on Friday, even though I stayed until 6pm. I don't know if other people have this problem. I don't know how to get around this problem either, because I definitely have to work on research on a regular basis, because this article I'm working on must be done by August 1, and I'll be teaching pretty much straight through until and past then. (We're on quarters, so we're still a month away from being done with this quarter, then I'm teaching in the summer.)
But I feel amazing for having finally read the source article and taken notes. Also, I met with my mentor, and we have a plan. I need to work on getting some articles out. There's even a timeline for this, if you can believe it. So I have to get serious. I am to learn to say no until I get these articles done and out. It's very liberating.
So I'm trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to get work done while I'm teaching. I had a mentor long ago who was one of those giving dynamic beloved rock-star professors who saved one day a week to focus on scholarship. Maybe I can do something more like that, since a half-hour each day may work for me when I'm revising, but not really in the earlier stages. And I hate feeling badly about teaching or taking care of the Tot because they're not research when my brain refuses to shut off and move on.