I’d like to be clear, getting out manuscripts is hard work. Some days, I wonder why I’m doing it. Someone asked me how I was going to get out 4-5 manuscripts over summer and it was a great question. She also asked me if I got out this many manuscripts every 3-4 months.
I save it for summer. During the academic year, I’m collecting and analyzing, but rarely have a good system for sitting down and writing on manuscripts. I’ll often start piecing them together during the academic year and then table them until the students leave. I then have the gift of time on my side, setting aside days and weeks just to toil over manuscripts. It works right now, but I know I should trickle out manuscripts more evenly.
The other major difference from prior years to this year: I’m first author on all my manuscripts right now. While being first author is a major ego boost, it’s also a major load of extra work. In my prior appointment, I had not been the first author and that was just fine. As a brand new faculty, I was too overwhelmed to do it all and quite frankly: I was glad someone else wanted to do it.
Fast forward to present day and I know that I can be first author and I should be first author on a lot of things. So I am. It’s been a little bit of an overload for me, to put it mildly, and in the future, I’d like to spread the wealth a bit more. I have told grad students and colleagues that I’d like to collaborate, give the grad students experience, but few seem to be chomping at the bit to publish like I am accustomed too. This troubles me, but I also know that everyone has their own life motivation. You can only lead the horse to water.
So, in short: I’m not a manuscript producing machine. My goal for this next academic year, is to be more incremental and intentional about my writing and distribute my submissions more evenly. There’s only one major conference submission deadline for me during the summer, also leaving more time to write whereas the academic year is fraught with conference deadlines. I consider that writing, but on a tenure packet, a manuscript accepted is “worth more” than a conference presentation. Conferences are fun, but they’re not “worth” as much. Networking is invaluable, but it’s expensive and is also “worth” nothing in the short term. Balancing that from my last appointment was easy. I went to one conference during my time with that job because there was enough other faculty on the project but more importantly, our broader impacts were not rooted in conferences and travel, they were rooted in publications with impact factors.
I save it all for summer and I shouldn’t. This summer has been different. Gone are the summer camps and maker camps that I used to plan, the reality is days of writing to disseminate my new work.