A writing challenge

A post by Anne JeffersonAre you up for a challenge? A writing challenge? A friendly, mutually-supportive writing challenge?*

I need to write some papers. My tenure portfolio goes out for review in May, and I want to get a couple more papers into review before then. Reviewers willing, I’d love to have another paper in two in press before May. The ticking of the biological clock ain’t got nothing on the ticking of the tenure clock, and journal articles are a major metric by which my academic success will be measured.

I know I’m not the only one sitting on some data that needs to become a paper or a great idea that needs to become a proposal. (If you’re not an academic, I bet you still have some piece of writing you know you should do.) And I know I’m not the only one who would benefit from having a group of friends provide some supportive encouragement, but also accountability. That’s why I’m setting myself a challenge, and I’m inviting you all to join in.

My goal is to get a manuscript into review by the time I arrive at AGU on Sunday the 4th of December. The data are in place and a few sections are written, but I need to do a bunch of writing, get the figures and tables into publication-quality shape, and get my co-author (and former graduate student) to agree it’s ready to go out. That’s a substantial project for the next 5 weeks (especially on top of an otherwise busy schedule), but I think it’s doable. More importantly, I need to do it. And I could use your help.

Here’s the plan. Use the comments below to tell me what you want to accomplish in the next 5 weeks. Each Sunday evening, I’ll stick up a post summarizing what I’ve accomplished during the past week, and what I need to get done in the next week order to reach my goal. You can do the same in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, please!) During the week, we can use whatever means we please, such as reviving Brian Roman’s old #sciwrite tag on Twitter, to keep in touch, provide encoruagement, and brag about our progress. By December 4th, we will have reached our goals and we can go out for a virtual or real celebratory drink. Maybe I’ll even come up with some sort of prize or badge to reward participation.

The point of this challenge is to collectively focus on the important task of writing up our fantastic ideas and data, share them with our fellow scientists and the world, and make ourselves happier and less anxious in the process. So let’s get writing….first in the comments below to share your goal and plan, and then in the languishing word processor document that contains the seeds of your masterpiece.

*Yes, the timing and spirit of this challenge borrows heavily from InaDWrimo and NaNoWriMo. If there will be a broader InaDWriMo group this year, please let me know. Otherwise, all disciplines and non-academics are welcome to participate here.

Categories: academic life, publication

Comments (45)

  1. Paula says:

    Busy writing as well, finished revisions for a paper yesterday and trying hard to get another paper in for review before AGU. Let’s hope it all works out!

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