Waiting, waiting, waiting

I am probably the least patient person I know. I’m an avowed control freak, and I don’t like having anything hanging or unresolved. The only thing I truly actively despise about being an academic (no, not grading, even though it can be a little tiresome) is the incredibly long turn-around on decisions regarding my work. With larger projects it can take years, literally. That article on Nicolaj Frobenius’ Teori og praksis that came out this fall? I submitted in in March of 2010. The Cora Sandel book published in 2010? I submitted the manuscript to the publisher in March of 2007. I submitted the Peer Gynt book for the first time in January of 2011, and then again in May of 2012, and I still don’t know if it’s going to be published. And so it goes. It’s the same with jobs and applying for grants and tenure and basically everything. I hate waiting.

Usually I can deal with it okay by keeping myself busy with teaching and new projects, but with the end of my fellowship looming, it’s getting much harder to distract myself. Academic publishing is looking more and more like a black hole that sucks up my work and crushes it into atomic oblivion. I keep sending things off, and nothing shows up published on the other side…

So, in the interest of sanity, here’s a list of everything that I’m waiting on right now:

  1. a yes or no response from the publisher who is considering my Peer Gynt book (no clue when I’ll hear)
  2. the evaluation of the applicants for the Ibsen position (estimated to be done in mid January, though there’s no guarantee–and even when I do hear, it will still take months; they’ll hold interviews, make a decision, and that decision will go through at least three levels of administrative committees before a job offer is made to someone)
  3. reviewer responses on the Fruen fra havet article (submitted in August, should probably hear by January)
  4. the appearance of my Byatt article (I’ve submitted final proofs, so this shouldn’t be too long)
  5. the appearance of my Bjørnson article (the editor told me December, but I haven’t seen any final proofs yet, so I’m doubtful)
  6. the appearance of my article for the Imagining Spaces/Places proceedings volume (submitted in August, no response at all yet)
  7. feedback on my Når nettene blir lange article (only submitted a few weeks ago, so no reason to expect to hear anything soon, but it would be nice)
  8. a yes or no answer on my NFF grant proposal (the decision will be made in February, and the applicants are notified some unspecified time after that)
  9. any word at all on the “temporary seasonal dwelling” essay I wrote for the new Nordic literary history volume on place (submitted back in January 2010, I think)
  10. the appearance of a book review that I wrote about a year ago in the world’s slowest journal (I’m supposed to do another book review for them, but I’m holding it hostage until I see the first one in print, on principle)
  11. some kind of response on the administrative position I applied for almost a month ago no, as of 29 November
  12. information on what’s happening with the papers I sent to a conference proceedings volume in October
  13. acknowledgement that my cabin book proposal has been received (sent only a week ago, so this is unreasonable to be stressing about, but the anxiety is cumulative, and apparently infectious…)
  14. a yes or no answer from my department on whether they’re going to let me teach a class this spring (I suspect no, though they’re holding off on telling me, which is irritating) no, as of 29 November
  15. feedback from a colleague on a book proposal I sent him (admittedly this was only a few days ago. I need to chill out!) yes, as of 4 December (very helpful!)

With my impending unemployment, all this stuff somehow seems to stress me out even more than it usually does. Each one of these projects represents a huge commitment of time and intellectual resources on my part, and once I’m finally done with something I long for immediate gratification, I guess.

When I started out in academia, I was told that as long as you always have something in the pipeline (or the hopper, as I like to call it), then you should have publications appearing fairly regularly. In typical fashion, I took this as some kind of reliable rule, and didn’t account for the lurching, arrhythmic, and glacial cycles of publishing.

I need to get a grip!

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