Bitty Writing Hell

book finished photo.jpgUs writers do the whole ‘grass is greener’ thing just like everybody else. When I was writing my last book, I was longing to get to the journal articles and other projects that were piling up on my to-do list. Now I’m drowning in shorter projects and it’s driving me crazy. Look! Pictorial evidence! I can’t wait to be working on one big long book again, when I will undoubtedly become sane and well organised (cough).

Here’s my current shorter project to-do list:

  1. Research Ethics for your PhD – 1,000 words written, approx 9,000 to go
  2. Finishing Your PhD – not started
  3. Another short e-book, a co-authored Top Secret Project – out with beta readers
  4. Co-authored journal article #1, my co-author is currently responding to reviewers’ comments so with luck we’re nearly there
  5. Co-authored journal article #2, first draft done, at the bat-it-back-and-forth stage
  6. Journal article on third sector infrastructure and liminality – second draft done, with my former mentor from TSRC for feedback
  7. Book chapter on transformative research frameworks in practice for an edited collection for Sage – planned but not started
  8. Journal article on transformative research frameworks for a special issue of Qualitative Research – planned but not started

And I’m co-editing a special issue of the International Journal of Social Research Methodology, on research ethics, which is also involving quite a lot of bitty work.

I have quite a bit of writing to do in my day job right now, too, from proposals for new projects to reports for projects that are almost complete. And I’m making preparatory notes for my next full-length book. Plus, of course, there’s blogging. Hence the slight hiatus. I can’t even bring myself to tweet much at the moment, and I love Twitter.

In Belbin’s typology I am a strong ‘completer-finisher’ so this kind of workload drives me crazy. It’s one reason I can’t stand gardening: nothing is ever done. (I love gardens, though; I just prefer to believe they happen by natural magic.) My workload right now is very much like gardening. Plant a seed here, prune a branch there, trim a hedge, dig a hole… aarrgghh!!! My idea of a nightmare!

I know from experience that the only way out is through, and I just have to keep nibbling away at all the different jobs a bit at a time and they’ll eventually get done. But I have learned from experience that I am never, ever, again, going to take on so many short pieces of work at one time. I take comfort in the fact that the deadlines are all in the next five months, so by the autumn I will be free(er).

And the good news is, by then I should be ready to start writing the next full-length book. Though there is also talk of a second edition of my first research methods book, so I may still have more than one writing project on the go. In fact that’s almost inevitable. But if I just had two or three, rather than ten or a dozen, I think my life would feel a whole lot easier. In fact, I can’t wait.

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