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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Publish, Don't Perish: Surviving and Thriving in Academia Today | Stephanie Vanderslice, Huffington Post

This article is by a writer and college professor focusing mostly on questions from other professors (and students) about achieving success at both writing and teaching. But I think her suggestions apply to people in other fields who need advice on the writing process and balancing it with other responsibilities. It also provides some motivation ideas for when writer's block creeps in.

In summary, Vanderslice encourages passion, patience and persistence to achieve writing success.

She writes:
It may sound simplistic, it may sound ingenuous but it really does come down to this: follow your passion and have something to say. As writing teachers, we often tell our students that they're more likely to write well about something they care about; I'm surprised when we don't follow that advice ourselves.
That passion is important, Vanderslice writes, because writing is hard. So people often find themselves doing other things to avoid writing. Similarly, some of those other things are necessary tasks that must interfere with the difficult task of writing. That passion will help writers find the extra time to write despite the obstacles. She writes:
Passion acts like a gentle but firm hand at your back, steering you always towards your desk or your laptop to get the work done.
That passion also helps writers gain patience enough to refuse to give up despite what seems like endless delays in finishing the process. Vanderslice writes:
Building an academic career [and other careers too] is a long, slow process not unlike sowing several handfuls of seeds, noting what takes root and cultivating those promising seedlings. It will not happen overnight. Nowhere is this truer than in the early years. Despite my best efforts, half of the essays and stories I wrote back then never saw the light of day.
Finally, persistence plays a role as the writing process nears its end--when responding to requests from publishers and editors to "revise and "submit" a journal article. Books and articles are not likely accepted when first submitted, Vanderslice says. So writers must just "do it" after hearing from the reviewer:
I'm always surprised when people drop the ball at this point. If a reviewer has taken the time to give you extensive comments, they usually want to publish your work; it's just a matter of another lap (or two) on your part.
For more resources, check out Garbl's Writing Process Links.

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