academic writing month · acwrimo · dissertation · graduate school · Writing

Academic Writing Month, day 1 reflection

I’ve learned and relearned over the years that an important part of my writing process is taking time to reflect. I doubt I’ll post every single day of Academic Writing Month, but I will write some of my thoughts after each completed day and I’ll put some of those thoughts here on the blog.

So, I’ve set the goal of 750 words per day, thinking that will be enough to challenge myself and little enough to be manageable on days when I conference with my students, have a lot of meetings, or just find life getting in the way of life. It will also allow for time to read and research, which I will need to continue doing as I write this first draft of my dissertation.

Today, I went to the library and spent some quality time with the mammoth books that contain Fortune magazine. Well, just with one of the books, actually. The first issue released in February of 1930. I planned to skim the first year and look for the patterns in the advertisements (sometime I’ve done before in preparation for a conference presentation) but as I looked through the first issue I found myself reading the articles and spending time giving the advertisements a close look. I did skim and find the same pattern of advertisements throughout all five issues, and I expect I’ll find similar patterns at least through 1930 if not through the entire decade (and maybe beyond? this could be a book project in and of itself).

Anyway, I found more of the same patterns (nostalgia for the past, romanticization of the folk and rural, casting of the urban and modern as the future, progress, etc., and the inevitable loss of “primitive” cultures) in the articles that appear in the advertisements and found some more useful avenues to wander down, that also happen to feed into the main point of my project. It’s kind of gratifying to find that the ideas I’ve argued are everywhere, are, actually everywhere.

I ended up spending about two hours looking through just the February issue of Fortune and skimming the advertisements in the rest of the issues in that volume (March, April, May, and June). Then, I turned my attention to writing. I figured I would get more than 750 words, but didn’t expect to get much more than 1,000. At final count today, I had 1,827 words. I don’t know how many pages that is, since I was typing in single-space; I’ll double-space it later–right now I just want to focus on the word count and not get hung up on page count and all that.

I think this might be a productive pattern to follow: research first, then write. Of course, I won’t necessarily have 3 uninterrupted hours every day of the week, even though that sounds like it should be possible, but I at least want to reproduce this pattern on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Then, on MWF, I know for sure I can make the time to write, but maybe I won’t be able to use those days for research since I teach and work at the Writing Center on those days.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the first day of AcWriMo. I tentatively hope that I’ll be able to continue exceeding my goals on more days that I don’t. But, honestly, I’m just happy that I’m writing.

And, the best part: I was really enjoying myself today.

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