Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Writing: How I Spent my Summer Vacation

Soon I have to turn in my report of my summer scholarship justifying my summer research grant. No school I am aware of actually ties summer research grants strictly to what one accomplishes in the summer. Instead, it seems to function as a salary supplement for those actively involved in scholarship throughout the year. But since summer is normally the longest uninterrupted period for writing, I suppose some report of how one used that time isn't a bad idea.

Every year I envision a magnificent uninterrupted vista of prodigious productivity and every year I am disappointed. Exams take longer to grade than I expect , small projects crowd out bigger projects, some how administrative tasks linger on into the summer, etc. This raises the perfectly sensible question of at what point do I actually change my expectations?

Then at some point I write it all down and it doesn't look so bad after all. So for the summer of 2010 it goes something like this. I drafted 5 separate 1,000 word blog entries for Danny Sokol's Antitrust and Competition Policy Blog ranging from stuff about our antitrust institute to a review of David Gerber's new book on international antitrust. I also prepared a two part condensation of an earlier article on Justice Stevens and the Rule of Reason for the FTC Watch newsletter. As always, I did an annual update of my treatise.

But that isn't why deans hand out stipends or what they expect in return. I do have a decent 60 page rough draft on corporate governance and competition policy, a topic that much to my amazement almost nobody writes about. The problem is that I know a lot more about antitrust than corporate governance, so it's been slow going. But if all goes well, I will finish the manuscript by the middle fall, send it out for lots of comments, present it a couple of places, and submit in the February/March cycle. Then I start all over again with a new piece, a new summer, and the unrealistic hope of being more productive and more rested all at the same time.

1 comment:

  1. Wasn't it you, Spencer, you suggested to me "better to get behind early than get behind late"? I have a post in the works on the many comparisons between training for a race and writing an article. The constant adjustment of expectations is certainly part of both of them.

    Mark Anderson at the University of Idaho has been doing some thinking on the intersection of corporate governance and competition in light of American Needle. He may have a helpful viewpoint. Max