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.

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