It’s the second week of our winter writing group, and everyone seems to be on track, so good job, writers!
Updates and Week Two Goals:
- Anne: Last week, I did get a decent start on reading the chapter (but not the readings) in Burroway and taking notes. I’m also incorporating notes from a few other sources and hope to continue with that. My plan is to keep going with Burroway and other sources this next week. The encouraging news is that I already know pretty much everything I’m reading. But, to start writing fiction again (over 20 years since I last tried), this review is helpful for getting me “in the zone.” Thanks for the motivation, Laura et al [our pleasure, Anne!]
- Donna*: My goal is to research lit magazines to see who would be likely to accept a story that I wrote for my final in your [Laura’s creative writing] class.
- Laura: I had a moderately successful week, choosing a story to work on and getting in a few pages and a few pomodoros. But I finally got an idea for a detective novel, which is the kind of project I’ve wanted to work on for years and years. So I might start outlining the plot this week. (see below for one potential organizational program)
- Lisa: I’ve actually changed my overall goal and have decided to work on two short children’s stories that I started last summer. This week, I hope to have one finished. Fingers crossed!
- Matt: In my first week I have done more than expected, effecting some big changes in The “Liminal Man” and the second story, “Boring to the Punchline.” I now have three weeks and four stories to tend, so my plan is simply to tackle them in order and do all I can. Since I am already arranging for soon-to-be regretful volunteers to begin reading the completed draft at the end of the month, I am approaching these next three weeks with the understanding that whatever I have at the end, that is the version that will be read. I think I will be able to reach some kind of comfort zone with the next two stories, “The Terrible Secret of Club Golden” and “Lemongrass (Gets His) Kicks” over the following week.
- Robert: My week 2 goal: 250 words/day, 1750 total.
*Donna participated in the summer group, but is new this week to the winter group. Welcome, Donna!
Last month, Bonni Stachowiak, the host of my favorite pedagogical podcast, Teaching in Higher Ed, recommended a visual organization platform called Trello.
Trello works as an electronic board (think Pinterst for project management) that you can fill with cards; cards can contain to-do lists, attachments, and communication between/among people working on the project. It’s a great idea for collaborating on education projects, both in and out of the classroom, which is likely why Stachowiak recommended it. But it could also be a useful tool for any visual person looking for a way of tracking and managing a project.
I’ve played around with it this week and set up boards for my “new” (read: existing only in my head) detective novel, the second edition of my textbook, and each of my classes. For the novel, I’ll use it to track plot and subplots, and organize chapters; for the textbook, I’ll compare content between editions and use it to organize new student samples I’m adding; for each of my classes, I’ll use it to track changes I intend to make to the syllabus, activities, and assignments. I thought that it might also be a good way to organize submissions to literary magazines (or literary agents)–it’s a lot more appealing to look at than my Excel spreadsheet.
Trello has an app you can download on your phone as well, which syncs to the website. This is most helpful to me, since I’ll usually have my phone with me when inspiration strikes, but not always my computer (and only 90% of the time will I have my notebook [and you know that the great ideas hit you during that remaining paperless 10% of the time]). So if you’re a visual person who’s looking to manage a project, alone or with a team, consider Trello.
Good writing this week, team!
I’m glad you found a use case for Trello. I’ve been enjoying using it to track the status of my podcast interview invitations. I also used it in a class to vote on which topics we wanted to address in our final face-to-face session. It doesn’t have voting built in, but we were in an online session and I took notes as each person discussed their preferred topics. Then, I asked everyone to vote and I changed the Trello cards to reflect the votes, Then, I dragged the cards to a board for high-priority, medium-priority, and low-priority and it became clear which were the most important topics.
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That’s a great idea! I have a very small class coming up this semester (7 students) and I might try to use Trello to collaborate on a lot of projects with them. Your method seems like a great way to track feedback! Thanks, also, for the podcast — it’s one of my favorites and it’s a consistent source of good ideas!