- Personal experiences of writing and publishing;
- How to position an article;
- Peer review;
- The article’s afterlife.
It was recommended that young career researchers should look for as many different platforms to showcase their ideas as possible. The biggest journals in a subject area may not always be as relevant as publications with a smaller, niche audience. Those wishing to publish must balance big and small journals, and general and specific audiences.
One take-away message was that, aside from the career-improving aspects of publishing, the idealistic part of writing an article should not be underestimated. Do not see it as a lone enterprise; see it as a contribution to a community of interested peers.
Thus ends the preparatory portion of EdJoWriWe. Let the writing begin.
Today the writing began in earnest.
Personal goals for the day were committed to a spreadsheet, accompanied by several squeaks of anxiety once this was made public for all the EdJoWriWe-ers. As one participant put it: “It’s up there now – I’m held to account!”
The group divided themselves between four rooms:
-The Silent Room
-The Quiet Room
-The Musical Room
The following is an account of a non-EdJoWriWe-er’s impressions of these different writing environments during the 2pm-3.30pm slot.
The Silent Room
Two participants are writing: one leans on the table, reading intently with forehead propped up, then embarks on a flurry of typing; the other writes in longhand with the occasional glance at the computer screen. The rest are primarily reading on the screen, resting elbows or wrist on the table. One participant gazes at the screen, then out the window, then types in a short burst – almost on a loop. It is a very absorbed but strangely relaxing silence, punctuated with the occasional whirring hum of a laptop or a scramble of fingers on the keyboard. I feel voyeuristic watching them, as they are each entirely absorbed. The silence is bursting with internal monologues. I meant to sit in for 5 minutes, but realise 10 minutes later than I too became absorbed.
The Quiet Room
All participants are using laptops, although additional books, notebooks and papers are scatted around them. Everyone has a drink, and there appear to be cakes in a Tupperware container. Most people are writing in short bursts (one with pen in hand), then apparently reading back what they have written, or turning to a library book or paper. Their expressions are very changeable: eyebrows jump between being furrowed and mobile, there are several secret smiles, and one participant looks at the computer screen with an expression of tenderness mixed with concern.
The Music Room
The working vibe is much more relaxed in here, with participants slipping in and out of absorption. One participant is reading an article with head in hands with an open laptop in front and a pile of loose papers to the side. The other has a laptop and a cup of tea, as well as the delicious smelling handcream. A song is skipped; the singer briefly critiqued. Back to work: rapid typing, (re-)reading with chin on fist, resuming typing. The article is laid on the pile and the participant announces the intention to talk to Dr Lena Wånggren in the Hub, who has dropped in to discuss participants’ articles on an as-needed basis. Another participant comes in to resume her vacant seat, and takes off her glasses.
“It really helps you to concentrate when everything except your computer screen is blurry.”
There is a brief good-natured chat, then papers are shuffled at one end of the table and furious typing engaged at the other.
The Hub: In which there are no rules
Anything goes in this room, so it has drifted between total silence and quiet conversation. The door is open, and occasionally newcomers wander in and out for much-deserved refreshment. The windows are open, making the room pleasantly cool. It is very bright. There is a sense of being in the centre of a working building: the conversation of passers-by trickles in, and there is the occasional chime of spoon against mug.
Four people are working on the floor with laptops propped on knees and papers, folders and mugs surrounding them. Three others sit against the wall, laptops on swinging desk chairs. They mirror each other’s posture even though they can’t see each other: right hand on the laptop, cheek or chin resting on left hand. At about 3:30pm, other participants have wandered in and the kettle has been switched on. It’s time for a break.
After a slow start due to laptop problems, a house move and necessary additional research, Satellite Alison has begun to make headway! She has formulated a work plan for the rest of the week, and at the time of going to press she has written about 1000 words of her chapter with another 200 planned for this evening. The house moving saga continues tomorrow, but her current aim is another 750-1000 words by nightfall.
Alison, we're rooting for you!
Interview with an EdJoWriWe-er: Harriet Fildes
working title of article:
Secularism and modernity in Turkey: a culture of contestation
What is your research question?
How are you finding EdJoWriWe so far?
What technique do you find most helpful when starting writing?
Are you a procrastinator?
What's the hardest part of being in your 1st year of PhD?
We’ll find out when I’ve answered it. My current aim is to devise a suitable research question for my article!
It’s really good actually – perhaps this is me geeking out, but it’s really enjoyable and nice to be around other academics, and especially getting the chance to chat to second and third year PhD students. It’s good to share some experiences and calm myself down! I’ve been working predominantly on methodologies and literature reviews since I started, so it’s nice to get down to some actual research. I’m utilising ethnographic research I did recently in Turkey, so it feels more tangible as work.
Starting has never been a problem – it’s knowing when to stop! I massively over-write – I end up having to cut out so much that it sometimes feels that the essence is gone. I’ve written four pages today, but I wasn’t even supposed to be writing. I was supposed to be reading today! So maybe writing is a form of procrastination for me. It’s like I haemorrhage on a page, and then I have to cut it down.
It depends. This week I won’t be because I’m good with deadlines. For more ephemeral work – a PhD for example! – I procrastinate a lot. I definitely do what Daniel Soule told us about yesterday – I procrastinate with things that I have convinced myself count as work. I spend two hours a day reading the Turkish news because it’s in Turkish so it’s work – but is it really work?
I’m not really enjoying being so bogged down in a methodological quagmire. I’m very interested in keeping academia relevant and policy oriented, and I think it’s especially important to foster relationships with civil society organisations and NGOs. That’s the sort of thing I’m working on. A lot of my work is kind of practical, but at the moment I’m stuck in the theoretical part of it which I find quite tedious and superfluous to what I feel is important about academic. I’m looking forward to getting to the fieldwork – put it that way.