I survive in academia with the help of calendars and schedules: the paper diary that used to be enough to keep me organised when I was a student has expanded into a Google calendar, an increasingly complicated desk journal, and multiple tables and Gantt charts, but the principle remains the same. My latest schedule, though, is particularly terrifying: the schedule of finishing the book.
On the surface of it, finishing The Book doesn’t seem too daunting. My submission date is 31 July, I already have most of it written, and a relatively light teaching semester ahead of me. But once you begin to break down the twenty-eight weeks between now and the end of July, things start looking tighter. To stay on schedule I’ll need – for example – to finish the chapter I’m currently working on by 9 February and knock off the next one (which, mercifully, already exists in a partial draft) by 2 March and while four weeks seems like quite a lot, I’ll also be juggling teaching, the press, and all the other administrative and quotidian responsibilities of being a lecturer (not to mention those interfering non-scholarly activities, like buying a house).
So I’m steeling myself for a busy few months. Packed as they’ll be, I think I’ve worked out a manageable timeline for completion and I’m looking forward, after a semester devoted almost wholly to teaching, to return to this project and see it through its final stages. Step one: draw up a detailed plan of the chapter I’m about to write. This is chapter one (because I’m writing out of order), an overview of Scottish intellectual culture at the end of the seventeenth century, and I’m currently putting flesh on the bones of a fairly general outline I made before Christmas. Once I’ve worked out what I want to say, paragraph by paragraph, then I’ll turn to generative writing to produce a first draft. Before I can do that, though, I want to reread and refresh my memory of a couple of key texts (the seminal works by Clare Jackson and Hugh Ouston on this period) and review my notes towards the chapter, some of which were taken three or four years ago and almost certainly contain material which has long since escaped my mind.
Evernote and my increasingly well-worn copy of Restoration Scotland beckon . . . .
Copyright © 2018 Kelsey Jackson Williams