I'm currently mired in trying to finish a conference paper. Usually, I cut down a longer work (or start from scratch) knowing that if I get the argument, analysis and supporting materials together, I can always expand from there later on. Normally the plan is to publish but somewhere teaching, grading and the book writing mean that this expansion to article length escapes me. Where I have expanded papers, it has been because I've been asked to submit them for some anthology or other, or have decided that it's finally time to do something with a piece of work that I left for later. The turnaround time for the first is usually minimal, the latter has taken me as long as seven years...
So, my vow this time was to do things differently. Take that chunk of a chapter that I cut out, edit it to article length (around 25 pages) then cut down to conference paper length (9 pages or so). Of course, this means I'm sitting here on Saturday with a 27 page paper covered in editing marks that I need to cut to 9 by tomorrow (presenting on Thursday in New Orleans and as I teach this week and have grading, I can't really expand any longer).
Not only are there distractions from work but from the interwebs. It emerges that Charlie Sheen is going to do another one of his online things tonight--can I spare the time? Can I not spare the time, especially as I will at some point write that celebrity book and this media craziness will be part of a chapter someday.
The Alexanders Upstairs
12 hours ago