Tag Archives: rejection

Reminder: Work Smarter, Not Harder

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


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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REJECTED: Coping With a Manuscript Letdown

REJECTED: Manuscript Rejection


It happened. I got rejected. Flat out, on my ass rejected. From a journal. With a resounding “hell no” from all three reviewers.


How to handle? Ice cream. Wine.

How to respond? Get back in the saddle and get writing.

It just so happened that when I forwarded the reviewer comments to my co-authors, one replied with the word “ouch” as well. It always hurts. Whether you’re a new faculty like me or a seasoned veteran (like one of my c0-authors), getting flat-out rejected is kind of like getting kick in the shin by a small child when you weren’t expecting it.

However, here’s the big idea: rejection happens in academia.

I’d been very lucky. I’d gone four years without a single manuscript rejection so I knew I was running on borrowed time. If I get anymore this year, my tiny ego might actually need some melted cheese, but I can handle anything else, even if it’s rejected but make edits and we’ll accept it. I’m not a perfect researcher, it’s an impossible goal, but I know I can always get better. That’s the goal, to get better.

So, while I’d like to give you some resounding nugget of advice here, the best I can do is tell you to try not to get too sensitive about it, read the comments, find the good things, and move forward.

My positive comments were about my APA citations, something I had been working on, and the tightness of my writing. Both things that I work hard at. The things they didn’t like can be fixed for future submissions. Maybe the data wasn’t appropriate for their scope, maybe I did do it all wrong, but I can’t keep crying over that spilled milk, especially when there’s two more manuscripts on my desk that need to go out before classes begin.

Cheer up! The old saying may be “publish or perish” but I haven’t died yet, just put one manuscript to bed. FOREVER!!

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