Glancing at my trusty calendar last week, noting vacation, but then also taking stock of the month of July, I realized one thing:
SUMMER IS HALF OVER
My writing goals are on track. Seriously. On track. Even I didn’t expect that to happen. My goal of sending out four manuscripts is thankfully, on track. Two are out the door, one is being read/edited by another author and number four is currently about halfway done. My personal goal was to have all four drafted and ready to send before I go on vacation. I’ll return from vacation, read them, edit them one more time, and send them out. Giving them a week or two to marinate will help me pick out anything that’s still weird or hopefully inspire me to make any changes necessary. I have a fifth manuscript slated but a grad student is the first author, meaning it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy for them, they’ll have to take some initiative, I can only push so much.
Which brings me to my main point today.
I had a manuscript that I wrote a year ago. I hated it. Loathed it. Abhorred it. I didn’t like it from the get-go, but had been asked to craft it by someone on the team that I work with. It was too bulky, it was too clunky, and when I sent it to the requestor, they didn’t like it either. They removed it (rather hastily) from the plan of work and we all moved forward. Fast forward 10 months and I opened it again. I wanted to send it out, it was good work, but it wasn’t a true representation of the work I like to do.
SO I CUT A THIRD OF IT.
With some quick, fierce, and definitive strokes of my mouse, I cut a third of it. I moved some of the contents around. I put in better transitions.
I LIKE IT NOW!
Maybe it needed the 10 month break, maybe I procrastinated on it like a champ, but most of all: it needed to be cut.
Doing and writing what someone else thinks they want might not be the best thing. All things considered, when I did what they asked, they were unhappy. When I did what I knew was best for the research, it came together a lot more cleanly and tidy-like. While this isn’t supposed to be a “hater” post, the people “telling” me what to do aren’t always the best researchers and their poor guidance on this led to poor work. Shame on me for letting them have the upper hand.
I learned my lesson and when they asked me to do some more work this spring, I set the ground rules right out of the gate. I made the expectations clear and told them exactly what I would do but more importantly:
WHAT I WOULDN’T DO OR TOLERATE
I made clear the data analysis I would and could do. I made clear my methods, even after being questioned by someone who is NOT in research (which just pissed me off mostly), and I backed it up by providing documentation of my process grounded in theory and methods research. I never heard a word from that part of the team after I sent my methods over. They knew better. I was EXTREMELY firm with them, using my trusty “teacher voice,” some very negative body language, and above all: being a better researcher than they are.
Summer is half over and I’m grinding to some deserved vacation time. Don’t harsh on my vibe. I’m game on.