Sunday, September 20, 2009

60 Days of Journal Article Writing -- Day 2

For background on the 60 Days of Journal Article Writing, please click here.


One of the challenges of writing a journal article in twelve weeks is choosing something to write about. Belcher recommends revising existing research -- something you've already written for a class or given as a talk that was considered publishable by other scholars. I can understand why, for although it is perfectly reasonable to think that one could take the steps toward publication in twelve measurable weeks, finding and researching a topic can sometimes take longer.

For me the choice was straightforward. Although I considered going back to the dissertation or even rooting around in some interesting graduate school research, I instead remembered a conference paper from eleven years ago (deep breath) at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies conference at Notre Dame. I lived that paper for several weeks, gleefully digging (ah, research!) in the special collections division of the National Institutes of Health. It combined three strong interests: music (I have worked as a classical radio announcer), late-17th- and early-18th-century studies, and the history of medicine. Researching and giving this paper was a baroque, multi-sensory experience, and I was so grateful for the enthusiastic reaction of scholars in the audience.

Then it went into a folder, it trundled from one house to the next, and it wound up dust-covered and so far under the bed in an archival box that at first I feared I had thrown it out. But no, it was there, the original printed pages with handwritten notes on them, and even a tucked-away and now-obsolete computer disk with the original document on it.

Do you have any older work gathering dust that might be revised for publication? Has it ever occurred to you that it might be perfectly usable now? I'm thrilled at the prospect. How lovely to think that something providing so much interest and pleasure eleven years ago in such an elegant place can live again, and perhaps even find its way into a journal so that other scholars can use it.

I won't yet give away what it is about, but the image on this post provides a hint.

Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks

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