Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Measuring Productivity: Grad School Terms or New Media Terms?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a proposal and sent it to an editor who's putting together a collection of essays about women poets and mythology.  It was accepted.  It will be 2700-3000 words, which in the olden days of calculating, would be about 12 pages.  So, it's not a full-blown academic paper size; I think of those papers as 25 or more pages.  But neither is it blog post size.

A few days ago, I saw a call for papers from an editor who's putting together a book about poetry and film.  I immediately thought of one of my favorite films, Bright Star.  I put together an abstract, which my spouse saw, and we chatted while I got ready for work.

I said, "My one concern is that if this paper gets accepted, I've got two papers due in December."

And then I had to laugh at myself.  In grad school, I used to have 3-6 papers due at the end of any given semester.  My grad school friend might remind me that often I'd be writing 20-60 pages in a week-end.  So why am I worried about writing 2 papers in the next 7 months?

Well, in grad school, my main job was to write papers.  My secondary job was to teach a class or two and to go to classes.

But here's my main fear:  in grad school, I had a really good library.  Now, I don't.

I know, you're saying, "But now you have everything that's available on the Internet."

That's better than having no library and no Internet.  And I can get books by Interlibrary Loan.  But it's not the same as having a library with a finite amount of resources.  It's not the same as knowing the general areas of the library where I'll find the books I want.

I miss the University of South Carolina library.  It is probably time to explore the libraries of our local public universities, which will likely be smaller but probably perfectly adequate. 

And it is also time to think about my time management.  Am I accomplishing everything I want to be accomplishing?  If I could write 20-60 pages in a week-end 20 years ago, why am I not doing that now? 

And I might also think about what I am writing:  a blog post at each of my 2 blogs almost every day, a poem or two most weeks, additional blog posts elsewhere, essays here and there, a short story occasionally.  I may actually be writing more these days, but since I don't measure it in grad school paper terms, I don't realize it.

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