What I'm struggling with right now is how I'm going to take advantage of the great opportunity that the coming school year offers me.
I'm on sabbatical next year, which means I get paid half my salary to not teach or do any service. All research, all the time. This is a great opportunity, obviously, and one that most jobs don't offer (even most jobs in academia). Mr. Z has the same deal, and in the fall we're going to be in Providence, RI, for him, while spring semester will be (partially) in Melbourne, Australia, for me. Pretty damn awesome, right? I have the next twelve months laid out for me with no schedule, no daily obligations, nothing due until I return to campus in Fall 2014 with a report of all of the wondrous things I got accomplished.
Thing is, as I've discussed here before, I've had a string of bad luck over the past year with regards to work. I spent last August and September applying for various grants and fellowships and got nada. I got at least four articles in a row rejected (though I finally heard that two got accepted last month). I think I'm over my self-boycott of May and June, but I'm still scared to start on anything new because it's probably going to go nowhere as well. Or so that little voice in my head says.
I've been telling everybody that I'm going to work on two books in this upcoming year: one an edited volume with a co-editor that's exciting in terms of hopefully opening up a new subdiscipline within my area of expertise (vague!Z is vague), and one that's a solo work drawing on the research I've been doing in Chicago. But both of these projects are so overwhelmingly large, I don't know where to start. Even my dissertation was three parts in one, not a single, large project. And without any colleagues nearby to motivate me, I'm worried that I won't get a thing done.
(But that means you can write fanfic all day, Z! And quilt! And explore the new and exciting places you're living! Yes, that's what I'm afraid of.)
Anyway, I'm trying to figure out a strategy to deal with this. I have a friend here in another department with whom I meet every week to share our writing with each other, and that has worked well in terms of getting me to get off my ass and write something most weeks. We're going to try to continue that via Skype, so that's something. Maybe I need to set up a weekly check-in with someone every day of the week, LOL. Or find an app to nag me to just write already.
But at the moment, I'm standing at the bottom of this big mountain, the top of which is lost in the clouds, wondering, "How the hell am I ever going to climb this thing?"