Thursday, June 29, 2017

An Article is Not a Career

The other day, I had a brief exchange with a colleague about the skills/tools/attributes that must be unearned as a scholar moves from dissertating to article writing. That, plus a conversation today with a client who is starting his first article, gave me the idea for this post.

One of these skills, attitudinal spaces, if you will, is the realization that an article is not a career. What I mean is that once a scholar finishes his/her dissertation, there is this tendency to want to pack everything you have learned about into an article. 

Yet, that is not an article! It is only a dissertation that contains every random notion, that random people insist that you include, and every theory, idea, notion or study related to your research. (ok, a bit of a stretch, but allow me the exaggerations for the sake of argument).

You can't include it all in an article, but you can write about any/all of it over the course of your career! That is the good news!

If you learn good tools of writing productivity, develop the tricks and tools of writing articles, and work on the psychological barriers that get in your way, you will have the opportunity to write many, many articles. 

Work hard at resisting the temptation of trying to pack too much into an article. Academic articles are focused slices of your work.  It can be a bit unsatisfying, excluding material that you find so important. Just remember, this is a long game, our careers, and writing a focused article is going to lead to fewer rejections. You will have the opportunity to write many more articles.

You can. You will.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

But you and I are not among them.

 A quote from Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction, that might be valuable for scholars to consider.

There are  few lucky souls for whom the whole process of writing is easy, for whom the smell of fresh paper is better than air, whose minds chuckle over their own agility, who forget to eat, who consider the world at large an intrusion on their good time at the keyboard. But you and I are not among them.

And so, if you are I are not among them, and must condend with imperfection and grouchy resistance, with not being constantly enamored with our facile moves upon the page, what then? What then for those of us who must stay in process and slug it out, day after day, year after year?

Consider and contemplate.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

My First Summer Off In a Decade!

Well, sort of. Its my first summer off my from university gig in a decade. My out of the office email notes that I will not be checking until September 15th, and for friends and colleagues to track me down on my personal account. I am not teaching. I have no service responsibilities. This is why I signed up for this gig in the first place, no?

Its not like I am sinking into the brain rot of the beckoning couch, watching reruns of the Brady bunch and sliding into sloth. I still have coaching clients, including a couple of new ones who are amazing! I am starting my MFA in a month, and I am writing! A lot!  But mostly, I am reading, and reading widely. Borges' Collected Fictions,  Slater's post-modern memoir Lying, Johnson's metaphorically rich stories of the tragic in Jesus' Son, and on and on and on.

I am sorry I have not blogged in a month. I will make some posts soon, as this is how I try to be of service to others. But I am reading, I am writing, I am happy.