Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some flowers and some writing

I thought I was going to get the article I started revising last weekend done much sooner, but due to the amount of revision it needed, I sat at my desk and wrote basically all week.  Which sounds like it should be a good thing, but like my MO on research trips, my MO in writing tends to be to sit down and be consumed by it until it's finished.  This tends to preclude blogging, cooking, interacting with J, and feeding the cat for a few days in a row.  Maybe this gets it over with faster; I don't know, I've never written another way.  Since I figured out how to be good at writing papers sometime around sophomore year of college, I tend to gather gather gather material for a few weeks, and then sit down and finish the writing in one extended burst.

TR has had a discussion up this week on the health hazards of being an academic, so of course I spent most of my week sitting and writing.  Part of why this article took so long to revise was that, although I have mostly gotten my bibliographic house in order with Zotero, my digital house is a mess.  I do most of my work on a little netbook, and I used to work on a desktop computer I brought from college to grad school, and the netbook got a virus and had to undergo a major wipe last year.  I fortunately still have all my files, but they are spread over backups on my desktop, and buried in various levels of a very annoying external hard drive I bought because I thought I was so smart.

I got it when I was still actively using both computers because it came with a preinstalled sync system which would supposedly only update new versions of files, so that the newest version of the file would always be available.  Not as good as cloud computing, but many of my archives and a lot of the places I travel don't have internet, so having a copy of the file to carry around is important.  But the stupid hard drive makes it almost impossible to access the files, so now I need to pull everything off it (and between the wipe and all the shuffling, there are now some very important files which only exist on the external harddrive--dangerous).  So I'm in the process of pulling everything off, wiping the thing of its software, and turning it into a big flash drive, besides uploading everything I have to Google Docs.  And then copies of everything will be going to J's computer as well.  I don't know if this is going to make more headaches for myself later, but it's not workable right now--I spent way too much time looking for my data that I could have spent writing.

Tomorrow will be spent brunching and finally sewing up the RTW jacket, because I get a stack of final papers to grade on Wednesday, and there will be nothing accomplished after that.


  1. Urgh to computer troubles. (Scary, scary tech. I've taking to backing up my files on in addition to putting it on an external hard-drive. A friend suggested the service after my laptop crashed wiping out all my first semester's work.)

    And to grading. Also, thank you for the Zotero mention - I'm looking at it right now!
    Good luck with everything, E.

  2. Wow, you are having to deal with technical issues that have little to do with and thus are complicating your actual dissertation! I dread computer issues too!
    Back when I was doing my thesis for an honours degree (long longlong time ago now... :D) everything was all handwritten of course, and I used to scribble down bits and pieces on paper whenever I thought of them in all odd places, and later on work out how to combine all my points together somewhat seamlessly, sticky tape them all together, cut them up, move them around again etc. I don't know now whether it was easier than computer editing or not, but it all worked out in the end.
    Different times, no? :)

  3. @Carolyn, I don't think I could do a dissertation or other big writing project without a computer. I can brainstorm and write short drafts by hand, but I just never learned how to organize large pieces of writing without jumping around back and forth. The amount of re-writing I imagine literally cutting and pasting to rearrange would take . . . I don't think I'd be in grad school!

    @freezedried--Zotero has changed my academic life. It takes sort of a lot of maintenance to keep it updated with the new sources I keep adding, but it's a lot less work to keep updated than it was to try to hunt down half remembered citations in old drafts or where ever.