- Revise and publish the ComparingPlaces crime stats piece.
- Research, write, and publish a new research brief.
- Write the first draft of ComparingTimes.
- Research and write a piece about why we consume true crime.
- Set up on Patreon.
What’s good about it, Internet?
Yesterday was a disaster. My condition flared, and I could barely take the kids to school: we were late as it was. I spent most of the day lying down in a dark room while my symptoms eased. That’s why there wasn’t a post yesterday. I did manage to look into Patreon a bit (item 5 from this week’s plan) and started a page. Haven’t published it yet, but probably will by the end of the week.
Monday, on the other hand, was better. Per item 4 of the plan for the week, I wrote and published a research brief: Predictive Policing Rests On Problematic Assumptions. Pretty happy with how it turned out.
The biggest obstacles this week have been my condition, which I need to manage better.
It’s 12:41 p.m., and I’ve taken the kids to school (early!), taken care of the animals, done a cold plunge (torso and as much as our tub would let me submerge), and worked on Counting Crime’s version 1.0 table of contents (item 1).
I have too many ideas for articles or parts of articles. This is a good problem, but it’s distracting.
From this week’s plan, I’m going to work on a Medium article about crime statistics (item 2) and continue working on a Patreon page (item 5).
For the Medium article, I will write a a few subheads, then a title. After that, I’ll go analog. I’ll see what I have that’s relevant in the slipbox and work with a pen and index cards, using the subheads as a loose plan. Then I’ll go digital again and fill in the subheads. By then I should have a rough article that I can make publishable today or end of day (EOD) tomorrow.
As for Patreon, I have a lot to figure out. Here’s an incomplete list of what I intend to read:
- 5 Data-Backed Tips to Be Successful On Patreon Your First Month
- Welcome To Patreon: What Every Writer Should Know
- What Is Patreon And How Can Indie Authors Use It?
- How to Make Money as a Writer with 43-time Published Author Seanan McGuire (McGuire’s zombie fiction is top shelf. Loved it.)
- How Lawless French Increased Income 50% by Using Patreon’s WordPress Plugin (in Just 3 Months)
- How To Be a Writer on Patreon [The Ultimate Guide]
Good afternoon, Internet
Well, it’s Monday, so yesterday was not technically a work day, though I did squeeze some in. I could go back to Friday, but I want to try to start the week with a blank slate.
It’s 12:41 p.m. as I write this, and I’m in the backyard, which is nice. I feel behind schedule. However, I took the kids to school and we were almost on time, so I’m calling that a win. Then I got home and did a half-assed cold plunge (cold water in the tub, but no higher than mid torso). Did get the bottoms of my feet and my palms under, so that was something. I had an hour-long appointment. I also snapped some pictures of my “tickler file” for a Medium post about same. I guess today has been more productive than it feels.
From this week’s plan, I intend to work on a rough draft of the book’s Table of Contents (item 1), a research brief (item 4), and Patreon (item 5).
Loose plan for week of May 15
- Write a first draft of the table of contents for version 1.0 of “the book,” which I’m calling Counting Crime.
- Write the Medium post about basic crime statistics that I didn’t get to this week.
- Read some of the research since Skogan (1974) on the validity of crime statistics.
- Publish another research brief.
- Explore getting set up on Patreon.
Good morning, Internet [May 12]
I accomplished very little yesterday. After getting home from driving C to work and taking Kid #2 to his (very-long) appointment, I was wrecked. My headache was in full force, and I could not concentrate at all. Driving around on a sunny day can really do me in, especially when I don’t wear my sunglasses, which I’ve lost. I lost a couple hours lying quietly in a dark room.
Find sunglasses or replace them.
It’s 10:29 a.m. The kids are at school. I’ve worked on an announcement for the new Medium publication. I’m going to drink a bunch of coffee and hopefully not lose my nerve on a cold plunge.
- Finish Skogan (1974)!
- Publish research brief.
- Write a loose plan for next week.
- Send the end-of-week newsletter, which I’m naming End of Sentence.
Good morning, Internet
I wrote a rough table of contents for “the book” (item 1 from this week’s plan).
I worked through more of my annotations on Skogan (1974) and tracked down some of the subsequent research (item 3).
I decided to write my next research brief (item 4) on Hodgins et al. (2022), which I’ve already read and annotated.
I returned a bunch of library books, getting them off my desk (my desk is covered in books and currently unusable).
I also decided that while these extensive morning updates take some valuable time, they’re also about getting organized and are worth the time.
I ran out of steam after a couple hours of total work. (Actually, it was more like hitting a brick wall.) That’s about my current ability, so this isn’t surprising. I’m already doing what I can to increase that ability.
The next biggest obstacle yesterday was how much of the research since Skogan’s 1974 study of the validity of official crime statistics is restricted access. This is an obstacle because I don’t have institutional access to databases that would let me get the studies.
There are other legitimate avenues to explore that don’t involve me handing a lot of money over to journal publishers:
- I don’t think I have access through my public library membership, but I can check.
- I can also see if they’re available through Academia.edu.
- If the authors are still active, I can contact them directly and ask for a copy.
It’s 10:41 a.m. Construction outside and its effects on my head continue.
My youngest has a vision appointment this afternoon, so I need the vehicle. C’s working from noon to 8 p.m., so I’m driving her to work (and she’s getting a ride home from a coworker). This will all eat into the time available for work today; I may work for a bit this evening after everyone has gone to bed.
I’m going to work on a Medium post about the basic crime statistics (item 2), finish Skogan and try to get my hands on some of the subsequent research (item 3), and work on the research brief (item 4).
Good morning, Internet
Here we go again, working in the open. I like it so far.
- I completed item 5 from this week’s plan, creating a new Medium publication called True Crime Adjacent and adding my relevant research articles to it.
- I worked on item 4 (new research brief).
- I didn’t work on item 1 (table of contents for the book).
Challenges to getting my writing goals done yesterday included there being extra people and commotion and stuff to do around the house that broke my concentration. Also the construction on the road outside was near-constant, and my headache remained in place all day. My mom and father-in-law came to help out with the stuff around the house, and C was home after working the weekend. Let’s apply the five whys…
- Why were these challenges? I tried to work in the livingroom and that put me in the middle of a less-than-ideal working environment.
- Why? I can’t work in the office right now.
- Why? My desk is buried in books and magazines.
- Why? I haven’t cleaned it off in a month or so.
- Why? Each book or magazine represents part of a project I’ve planned in my head but haven’t recorded anywhere else, so dealing with the giant pile means doing a lot of cognitive work that the idea of, frankly, makes my anxiety spike.
I will continue offline with a couple more whys, but it’s pretty clear at this point what I need to do: clean off my fucking desk and work in the office when other people are here and I need to work. To do that, I will tackle it for short periods of time with pen and paper and clear shelf space on hand.
Construction continues outside. I’m concerned that it will knock out Internet access at some point because that’s just my luck. If that happens, I will use it as an excuse to work offline on going through the slipbox.
I plan to work on items 1, 3, and 4. I’ll also work on excavating my desk.
Skogan (1974) describes crime severity reduction
I’ve finished reading through Skogan (1974). Now, I’m just working through my annotations, adding quotes and notes to my slipbox. Here’s a quote I thought worth sharing:
It is at the classification stage where organizational pressures to reduce the apparent incidence of serious crime will first be evident. There, robberies may be ‘reduced’ to larceny, grand larceny to petty larceny and auto theft to unauthorized use of an automobile. As one Chicago police officer recently noted [in the Chicago Tribune on March 30, 1973], ‘It is impossible under the present system to write factual and honest official reports and stay out of the commander’s office very long.’Skogan, Wesley G. (1974) “The Validity of Official Crime Statistics: An Empirical Investigation”, Social Science Quarterly, 55(1), 25-38.
Mind you, this was 50 years ago. Things have changed in many ways, though I can’t say in what ways. There’s value in looking at old research and asking how it’s still relevant and using it to inform how we look at the present.
Good morning, Internet
I worked on items 1, 4, and 5 from this week’s plan, but didn’t get to any point of completion. Not specifying that I complete the items was an intentional feature of yesterday’s plan. I’m still building up my ability to work and I’ve learned that pushing too hard at this point is counterproductive.
The construction outside continues, and my head is not having it. The ever-present headache gifted me by the post-concussion syndrome is roaring, compared to the usual dull background noise.
It’s 11:17 a.m. as I write this. I’ve taken the kids to school. Also messed around on Medium, looking at other publications. And I put together an image for the “Publication avatar” from a Canva template that I mashed into a shape I could tolerate:
I will continue with items 1, 4, and 5.
Good morning, Internet
Continuing my attempts to work in the open, I present another “Good morning, Internet” post.
It’s 11:11 a.m. as I write this. I’ve taken the kids to school (on time!), done writing practice, and attended a local executive function workshop on memory.
It’s Monday, so I’ll include my loose writing plan for the week, which you may have already seen if you subscribe to my newsletter:
- Write a rough table of contents for “the book.”
- Write a Medium post about the basic crime statistics.
- Finish Skogan (1974) and read some of the subsequent research.
- Publish another research brief.
- Start a Medium pub to collect my research reporting pieces.
For today, I’m going to work on items 1, 4, and 5.