Finishing my National Humanities Center residency

photo of the words National Humanities Center on white-pained bricksToday is the last day of my National Humanities Center residency. This place is fantastic, and I highly encourage applying for their semester- and year-long residencies. I attended a program about those and I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned and/or what my experience here has been like. In short, though: This is a peaceful place to work. It has incredible library resources. They feed you and the food is good. The camaraderie is great. And the daily practice here is flexibility—my time was my own, and I was able to adjust to whatever worked for me on any given day.

The biggest thing I’ve learned about myself during this month is that I need to do a better job of compartmentalizing. I came here with scattered notes and I’m leaving with almost 50,000+ words of something that resembles a rough draft book manuscript. I also finished an article revision and wrote a conference presentation, and I taught an online class for the last week. For me, that’s a phenomenally productive month. If I’m going to finish this book, though, I know that I have to find ways to save mental energy for writing. For me, it’s less about time than about focus. I have to figure out how to let go of worrying about students, what needs restocking in the fridge, who’s taking care of the pets, etc. for long enough to get some writing accomplished. Updates on strategies for that to come.




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