Tuesday, January 26, 2016

On not writing . . .

The last day I wrote was Jan 2. I remember it clearly, logging in to see the “accepted, minor revisions,” email. I immediately opened the file, saw that the “minor revisions” would require approximately 3 sentences, and did them without ever sitting down.
And then? I stopped writing. Writing ground to a halt. I dismantled my kitchen cabinets instead and painted them. I fly to my parents to help with moving my elderly grandparents and spent a week buried in care work. I came home to cured cabinets, and fixed them up. Then I started teaching again, and no matter what Blackboard says, “course migration” is not easier than just redoing the course from scratch.
Which brings us to January 26. And I have not written in 3 weeks. I have a manuscript open. I just had a different one open. There is even a third. All three are in an advanced state of draft. All three could go out with some effort. And yet, all three are sitting idle.
I figured it out. I’m not writing not because I have hit a wall, or am in a rut. I’m not writing because the statistics on all the papers don’t feel right, don’t feel exacting enough, and I don’t trust them. And I can’t write if I don’t believe my stats or my results.
The solution then, is better stats. And part of that solution is admitting, open and honestly, that the appropriate stats for these analyses are above my pay grade. I’ve sent an email to the statistician I work with on my NSF grant and asked for an extra meeting (out of start-up, out of pocket, something needs to give). Hopefully, since all three papers have the same underlying dilemma, there will be one or two solutions that will work across all manuscripts and I can get my writing on again.
In the mean time, I went to writing group. Even though I had nothing to write, I went. I will write a blog post (or three) in the time, and at least get my head back in gear.
Writing: NOTHING. I need stats help.
Running: 7 new miles clocked in the last two days.
Kitchen: Nothing. No seriously, nothing.
January Cure: Tonight is landing strip night. Our landing strip has become the chaotic center of our household and needs major help. Our outbox overflows – I think we have 7 bags for goodwill.
Money: Paid off a small loan with money set aside for B’s state licensing fees, since work will pay for them now. Made more than $100 selling stuff on ebay, and have made good headway towards another Target giftcard from Swagbucks. We still have January’s $25 gift card (we spent the five and ten ones on cat products).

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