Revise and Resubmit

Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae, Theresa MacPhail discusses how to respond to anonymous reviewers’ comments on your work. She advises:

“After reading through a reviewer’s comments for the first time, do nothing. Or, rather, vent to yourself. Call a sympathetic friend and complain. Eat some chocolate or potato chips. Watch some bad TV. Allow yourself the freedom to wallow for a moment. Whatever you do, do not respond to your editor or your reviewers immediately. Do not craft a snarky email and press send. . . .  Read your comments again and again. Make notes. Repeat the mantra: This is not about me. This is not about me. This is not about me. Read the next two parts in this series on how to translate and incorporate common reviewer comments. Get back to work. You’ve got an article or a book to revise. “

Details here:

Daily Writing (But Not Too Much Daily Writing)

Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae professional development website and for her own blog, Tanya Golash-Boza reminds us that cultivating a daily writing habit is a evidence-based practice that produces healthy professional outcomes.

She offers ten ways you can write every day:

But she also observes that there is a point of diminishing returns (which is why what Robert Boice calls “bingeing” doesn’t work well):

She suggests one to four hours of writing at a stretch.

Fast Writing

Gregory Semenza writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae website (free but requiring registration to view) recommends “Better Writing Habits in Just 10 Minutes.” Using Robert Boice’s “contingency management” (in which you schedule time daily for writing), Semenza recommends grabbing 10 or 15 minutes between doing other things (instead of checking Facebook or watching YouTube). There are three advantages: “It makes writing less daunting. . . . it makes you want to write more. . . . It helps you stay in the flow.”

Details here:

How to Get Published, or Not

Two summertime articles in Inside Higher Ed remind us of some basic principles for successful scholarly publishing.

Social scientist Maureen Pirog outlines key elements of successful research and publishing:

  1. Think globally.
  2. Create a good research team.
  3. Select a strong research design.
  4. Use good data and measures.
  5. If your paper has flaws, do not ignore them.
  6. Get to the point and write clearly and compellingly.
  7. Constructive feedback is your friend, especially before you submit your manuscript to a journal.
  8. Be strategic.
  9. Get it off your desk.

Details here:

Humanities scholar Rob Weir takes the counter-intuitive approach, reminding us of the self-imposed impediments to publishing:

  1. Demonstrate your illiteracy.
  2. Assume your research is so important that it speaks for itself.
  3. Disrespect the profession.
  4. Disrespect the journal.

Details here:

NLN Scholarly Writing Retreat Shows Results

The Spring 2014 issue of The NLN Report includes an article on the long-term impact on ongoing writing behaviors of the NLN Scholarly Writing Retreat. See here and scroll to page 10.

Of 111 participants, 62 responded to an outcomes survey; of those 61 submitted manuscripts. Eighty percent were published, with an additional 11.5 percent still in review.

More about the fall writing retreat here:

Write First, Clear Decks Later

Joli Jensen, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Vitae reminds us: If you’re waiting to clear the decks before you start writing, you won’t get to around to writing:

Letting go of the delusion that things are going to settle down later will free you to figure out how to secure writing time now. If your heart sinks at that prospect, it may be because (like my colleague) you believe you can’t possibly put one more obligation—like writing—into your life right now. The key is to remember that your scholarly work is not just one more commitment. It is not “one more thing.” It is the main thing in your professional life. It is what you need to do to be happy in your chosen field. And it can be a rewarding thing, once you establish frequent, low-stress, high-reward encounters, in a supportive environment, with a project you care about.

See more at:


Brain Pickings: The Psychology of Writing and the Cognitive Science of the Perfect Daily Routine

Maria Popova, writing for the online Brain Pickings, summarizes the literature on developing an effective writing habit, which includes establishing a place, time of day, and time to write regularly. Details here: 


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