Monthly Archives: October 2015

Reminder: Work Smarter, Not Harder

Work Smarter, Not Harder: A Reminder {New Faculty}

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There once was a manuscript I hated.

It made me feel bad and jaded.

So I hired an editor to fix it.

And submitted it before I quit it.

Cool poem huh? 😉

I kept forgetting to write a post about this, due to my loathing, hatred, and general vitriol to this manuscript that’s been the bane of my existence for far longer than I’m willing to admit in general. I had started this manuscript, almost finished it, dropped it like it was hot, and then failed to return to it.

Until this summer.

I said to myself, “self, you can finish this and send it out, so just do it.”

So I did.

And then it came back-APA.

So I fixed it.

And sent it again.

And then it came back to me AGAIN for APA.

(Unlike the poem about “if you set something free and it comes back blah, blah, blah,” this mostly kept annoying me).

So, I’d looked at this thing for months, come to almost no more conclusions on it and did the only sensible thing left that I had in my arsenal.

I hired an editor to fix it.

I wasn’t seeing my mistakes. I wasn’t seeing the good or the bad. I was only seeing a bunch of words on the paper. So instead of making myself miserable again, I made the rationale decision to spend a little money on it and get someone else to look at it.

How do you put a price on scholarship?

I think this piece is worthy of publication. I sent a note to a person who I know, trust, and work with and offered a nominal price per page. He said “yes” and I sent the file back. Knowing I was low balling him, I didn’t give a firm deadline but I knew my 20 page document was a walk in the park for APA formatting. He had it back to me in two days. I had it sent out two more days after that and it hasn’t bounced back again.

So, was it worth the money? YES! I had to remind myself that hiring an editor to put it to bed wasn’t lazy or me not being a “good enough” scholar, it was being smart. I was clearly not seeing my errors anymore so it was more of a sound business decision to outsource the last bit. I probably won’t do this for every manuscript and generally don’t, but on this one, I was stuck.

As fall fades away, along with the semester, I encourage you to think about where you can work smarter, not harder. I tell this to my students and one of them actually recalled my bit of advice last week. If I’m doling out advice, I have to be willing to take my own advice and this was a great time to take it.

 

**the manuscript was eventually rejected but this does not change my opinion**

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Third Time Isn’t Always a Charm

The Third Time Wasn't the Charm {New Faculty}

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The third time did not yield anything but a rejection. I have had no success with a manuscript and finally said “enough” this week, throwing in the proverbial towel on it. The journal I sent it to was still not happy with the format and syntax on it, so I paid an editor to work on it. It got sent back again and you know what?

I’m over it.

Completely over it.

It was not an article I wanted to produce but was asked to and then told that they project had “changed direction” several times over. I’m taking this one as a ‘sign from above’ that I just need to drop it and walk away. I’m not making excuses, I could NOT FIND THE ERRORS. I hired an editor. They fixed everything they could find and it simply wasn’t up to par. I’m over it. *Let’s out a sigh of relief* I sent a note to the other authors on it, saying that it had been pushed back again and I would not pursue it again.

I share this not to not take blame or to just “let it go” but because as a young scholar, sometimes we need to be reminded that not every manuscript will be publishing gold. People don’t talk about their rejection rate, they only discuss their CV lines. I’m here to tell you: rejection is more popular than acceptance.

I was having coffee with one of my mentors and we were lamenting about publications and her response was given amidst laughter, “oh dear, if I put the rejects against the acceptances, I’ll never be at .500.” Ain’t that the truth?

This manuscript will remain in the folder in my dropbox account. Maybe I’ll use it one day for parts, like an old car, but for now, it will rest there. The money I spent getting it edited was not wasted, I don’t consider it a loss, but I do consider it closed as a viable publication for that journal. I’d love to shop it to another journal, but at this point in the semester, I don’t have the time to do that and my undergraduate researchers are all very green and this would take more teaching time than it would be worth. I’ll tackle that task on another day.

I’m not giving up or giving in. I’m accepting it for what it was. An exercise in writing, the opportunity to be a better writer, and learn that not every manuscript is a winner. Until next time…

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