ScienceWoman blogged about her thoughts about going into Tenure Track Year 2 in time for Cherish’s August Scientiae on transitions. I’ve been thinking about it too, and in particular with respect to how I accomplish some of those academic goals – good teaching, good research, good citizenry – without killing myself. Having my husband in the same town and only one house to worry about will be a start, and it is that latter aspect which makes me propose a new book to discuss this fall.
I was packing a bookshelf this weekend, and I came across a book a friend gave me when I graduated last year (wow, only last year…) — Robert Boice’s Advice for New Faculty Members. I was really pleased to find it, as I thought I had loaned it to someone and it was lost forever. I remember flipping through it right as I got it, and found one of the recommendations really helpful: Start before you’re ready. I sure felt like I was going to do that, but the recommendation made it okay to do so, to my great relief.
The book looks to be chock full of useful process thoughts on how to be more balanced about teaching, research, and service – in particular, helping the reader learn to be more mindful, more sustained, less bingeing on how we do our academic work.
Because of my anxiety about writing this fall – I have two papers I really need to write, one from scratch and one modified from my dissertation, I want to write a grant proposal, and I have two papers that need revisions after having been reviewed – I feel like I need some help. And maybe following Boice’s recommendations for writing in Section II will be able to help me. And if you want to play along with me, maybe we can help each other too.
Boice’s recommendations for learning to write better and more sustainedly are described in various chapters in Section II (which are not these numbers because I can’t get the html to work right – just add 8 to all of them):
- Wait, Mindfully
- Begin Early (Before Feeling Ready)
- Work with Mindful Constancy and Moderation
- Stop, in Timely Fashion
- Balance Preliminaries with Writing
- Let Go of Negative Thinking
- Moderate Emotions
- Moderate Attachments
- Let Others Do Some of the Work
- Limit Wasted Effort
Sounds very zen, doesn’t it? I could use a little zen in this life.
So if you’d like to join me, pick a writing project to think about, whatever it may be about. I’m going to spend the next week (and maybe most of the following week, considering the moving company is coming to get our furniture on Aug 11) doing the first exercise in Chapter 9: Wait (p. 118), which is learn to wait, actively rather than waiting passively for inspiration to strike. That should give you some time to get your copies (yay, used copies from Amazon! or another seller of your choice!) or dig out that copy someone gave you ages ago. Drop me a note in the comments here or to my gmail if you want going to play along, which will have the effect of making me stick to this idea if there are others out there too. I’ll post discussion topics as we move through the sections.
Sound good? I hope so. Allons y!