Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I think it's pretty obvious from previous posts what I want to achieve in 2011: productivity.  I want to get stuff done.  Already during this winter break, I have written more than I have during any other winter break, and I still have some time left.  I have thirteen pages done for an article I want to get done for a journal's deadline of February 15, and I actually feel like I can do that.  After I post this, I'm going to add a bit more to it.  The #reverb10 prompt says to list ten things we can do or thoughts we can have so that we can feel what we say we want to feel next year.  Again, as previous posts show, I've been thinking of this for awhile, so I do have things in mind.
  1. Apply for the grants and fellowships I have on my calendar.  I have a few grants and such that I want to apply for.  Some are long shots, and some feel doable.  No matter in which category they fall, I plan to get these done and then move on.  I think the moving on is important because I want to put forth a good effort but not obsess over everything.
  2. Keep track of my spending.  The sabbatical comes with a 40% pay cut.  I've been planning for that since I started thinking of my sabbatical application.  I was eligible to apply for this year, but I wasn't going to do that as long as we had two mortgages.  Now, I feel fine about things, but I know that I need to be more conscious of my spending so I don't have to think about money during the year.
  3. Write regularly.  I'm not saying I should write daily because I actually don't think daily writing is the best thing to do, but I do need to write regularly, whether I meet time goals or page goals.
  4. Read regularly.  This is why I do not think I need to write daily.  Some days, I should just read something that relates to my writing.  Today, I stopped at Starbucks before a movie just to read, and what I read is what I'm planning to put into the article I'm not writing, which is why I have something to add tonight.
  5. Move regularly.  I am making a pledge to stop talking about exercising.  I do not plan to exercise.  But I plan to move more.  For me, that means walking more.  When I'm in NYC, I already enter or exit the subway at a stop or two before or after the stop closest to where I need to be.  And that's what I want to do.  With winter coming, that does mean hitting the treadmill.  But I just need to move, which gets the blood flowing and gives me time to think.
  6. Dream.  I need to dream, to daydream and imagine what it would be like to achieve the big things or make big steps.  This allows me to follow the cliche of reaching for the stars and ending up higher than I would have if I hadn't tried to reach for them.  I need to dream, usually when I'm walking.
  7. Sleep.  I have gotten a lot better about sleeping in the last few months, and I need to do that.  I need to stop feeling guilty for sleeping late.  I'm a night owl.  So I often will sleep until ten in the morning this coming year, but that's fine because I have the energy to work well into the night.  It doesn't matter when I work, so it shouldn't matter when I sleep.  I just need to do it.
  8. Review my journals.  I have always thought I should go through all the journals I have been keeping off-and-on since fourth grade to see what's there, to keep track of ideas, and just to reflect.  I know that will be good for me in a lot of ways.
  9. Clear out the clutter.  Yes, I'm an anal-retentive Virgo, so I'm pretty organized.  But there are always things to go through.  There are some boxes and plastic totes shoved in the back of closets during our move, and now is the time to go through them, slowly but surely.  I always tell my students that fastwriting and brainstorming help you empty your head of ideas to make room for new ones.  And I think the same works physically.  I get rid of things I do not need, and I make room for things that are better for me.
  10. Believe in myself.  I need to remember that I can do this.  It's not about impressing anyone.  It's about putting work out there that I believe in, that says what I want to say.  If I keep that in mind, I'll be happy with what I've produced in 2011 and beyond.
This was a good one.  I like how the prompt forced me to articulate a few things more concretely.  Here's to doing it!


  1. I find this post inspiring, Nels -- especially this part, "It's not about impressing anyone. It's about putting work out there that I believe in, that says what I want to say." This thought coheres with my own post-tenure journey.

  2. Wow, that's a great set of goals. A productive and happy 2011 to you!

  3. Thanks, everyone! This is one of my favorite posts of the month. I may even bookmark it myself so I can be reminded of it when I need it.