Monday, August 18, 2008

A couple of excuses

This summer I have not been blogging much, have I? I can't think of any reasons for this – or rather, I can, but they are excuses rather than reasons. One excuse is that it's too hot, and I can't be bothered doing anything much so there is nothing much to write about. Another is that I have actually been doing quite a lot, because I have written my first ever paper for publication in a scholarly journal, or at least a pseudo-scholarly journal, and submitted it, even. Now I just have to wait until they reject it before sending it off again to some more established scholarly journal. Or maybe they'll accept it. Who knows?

But anyway, it is an excuse I'm offering for not blogging. I have been writing OTHER stuff. Actually, I finished it a week ago, but never mind that.

I say 'pseudo-scholarly' journal because this particular journal just started last year and doesn't have any sort of reputation yet. It is an in-house publication at one of the universities where I work part-time. It is peer-reviewed, however (in-house publications often aren't) and looking at the previous issues (there are only two) the standard seems to be reasonable without being particularly wonderful. I had thought about submitting elsewhere first, but there are people at that place I want to impress. My NEXT paper will go elsewhere.

In any case, they do have SOME standards – another part-timer who submitted last year got his paper rejected. They told him it wasn't relevant enough. Considering what they have already published it must have been pretty damned irrelevant, but still, I took note of this when I wrote my paper. Mine is MORE relevant than most of what they've published, and easier to read. Some of those papers read like nobody bothered to edit them much. My paper, at its longest, was about fifteen pages, but reading it through I realized it was a bit sloppy and needed tightening up. I then tightened it up so drastically it ended up being only seven pages. My paper is so tight it SQUEAKS.

Now I am worried they will reject it because it is too short. Maybe they LIKE long, somewhat rambling papers.

Actually, my paper started off being one I wrote for my MA several years ago. I was going to just submit it as is – after all, I got a 'high distinction' for it. Surely that would be good enough? But then I decided it needed some more recent references, so started a little research, to update things. Then I got sidetracked, and added great chunks about something related to the original argument but not quite on topic. Then I decided the sort-of-related stuff was actually more interesting, found some more research about it, added more, and changed the argument. That meant I had to change the introduction and conclusion to fit the new content. Then I removed the bits that were too much about the original topic and not really related to the new introduction and conclusion. Finally I went through and did the tightening-up thing, thus removing almost all that was left of the original content.

It felt a lot easier than writing a paper from scratch, but I can't say I understand why.

Next week The Man and I are boarding a plane for Malaysia once again, where we will be for the next three weeks or so. We had been talking about going somewhere different this summer, but he is still not feeling a hundred percent so we decided a relaxing holiday in a familiar place would be the best medicine. We are looking forward to some time at the beach.

Just thinking about the food we're going to eat is making my mouth water already.


Andaloo said...

Good luck, though I doubt you'll need it.

Miz UV said...

Good luck with your paper and have a happy, safe trip!

Badaunt said...

What was I thinking when I typed 'next week'? Next week? NEXT WEEK?

I meant 'tomorrow.'

And I haven't started packing yet ...