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VPWriting3: Front Burner

I’m really appreciating Van Jackson’s writing blog Nuke Your Darlings more and more. I keep finding myself in the same place that he’s in.

I took the holiday week off to restart my efforts to turn my dissertation into a book. I didn’t make as much progress as I would have liked, but I made some.

But I sort of have too many projects and – as Jones noted – one fight at a time.

But I prefer cooking metaphors (not that I cook.) What’s on the front burner being stirred and what on the back burner simmering.

Let me break it down. 

Work Writing
I have writing for work. There’s a paper on regulating robotics that is 90% done. One big knot, some editing, and an ExSum are all that’s left. I’ve been puttering with it for well over a year. Then I have another paper due mid-March on risk communications and robotics. I’ll be presenting it at WeRobot2018. Right now at work, I’m trying to finish paper one and read for paper two (stacking ammo as Jackson would say.) It’s a lot, but if I finish paper one next week and start writing in February, at 500 words a day I’ll have my paper by the end of the month.

Implementation of this plan may not go so neatly, but, we’ll see.

I have a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth paper in mind afterwards – we’ll see.

Work works, I have dedicated time for it.

But my side-writing…

Besides my VP book, I have an idea for another book. It’s timely, but not super urgent. Still, I should get it going. So, wake up early and write for an hour before heading to work. On the day I telework and on Sunday I write longer. At night do background reading – stacking ammo – for the second book. That works. Except it leaves no time for other projects.

And I have lots of ideas.

Also, there’s another book. I need to finish up a book on Pakistan that I was writing for my last job. The book is 90% done, but 10% of a book is still a lot of work. And it just needs to get finished.

And some deadlines came up for my third book – American Political Science Association conference and a Fellowship. I’m not ready to start writing, but this is pretty critical spadework and it requires time.

So, VP book gets pushed to the back burner. Pakistan book (which in part relies on a co-author – when I get stuff to edit, I turn it around right away) goes to the front, but I crunch on an upcoming deadline for the third book (that’s in a week and a half.)

Hopefully Pakistan book is done in a month or so, then back to the VP book. Hopefully, I finish it up in a few months and can turn to the third book (assuming it is accepting for the conference or the fellowship proposal.)

But meanwhile, I have a bunch of op-eds I want to write. I have this idea about the State Department, and what about a one year review of the Pence Vice Presidency, oh and the Future of AI Commission. Sigh. But all of this takes time.

I guess I should take Van Jackson’s advice, (derived from the fifth rule of Fight Club): one book at a time!

So, poking at the long-simmering third book for just a bit. Then Pakistan book up front, and the VP book will have to simmer. Op-eds etc. will just have to wait.

But even still, it is a lot of stuff to cram into my side-hustle. Plus carpool, commuting and just life. I’m kind of secretly hoping the government shuts down for a little and I can focus on this stuff…

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