Writing your article in 12 weeks

Well, I finished reading it in that time, but I didn’t finish working through it.

Laura Belcher is brilliant – if you do most of what she says.

Why most? Because I have one reservation. Not that her book Writing your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks isn’t hugely helpful. It is. Anyone who thinks it’s “too self-helpy” would do well to read it. Belcher is very comprehensive and astute about what you need to do to get that languishing draft back to life. She breaks down every step, from your drawer to the editor’s desk, into tiny movements. She chivvies you along to make sure you get it done. And you can download forms from Belcher’s website if you want to use the book again and again, which many do.

My reservation is the US-centricity. My hackles raised when Belcher suggested changing to a more Anglo-sounding name to get published. Yes, there’s racism in publishing and it’s a violent phenomenon. But changing names to sway gatekeepers is not a solution. I was also surprised by her recommendation to always go for the best US journal, though a couple of European ones might be better. If you live and work elsewhere, or your name sounds like you do, you might want to take this US-centrism with a very large pinch of salt.

Belcher is at her best asking awkward questions to make sure you have your argument and structure right. She focuses on overall flow as well as fine detail. If you can’t get hold of her book, or lug it around when working through it, you’d do well to download her checklists. LINK

I worked through this book with the Kirjoitetaan… Facebook group and during my own Write on Wednesday Zoom sessions. It’s my fault that I got behind schedule – I didn’t use every Wednesday for this project for 12 weeks and had to catch up on my next writing retreats. But I made my own deadline at the end of November.

One terrifyingly prolific academic I know said she wrote her best ever article by following Belcher to the letter. I just submitted mine – but I can’t give my opinion on it till I know what the journal editors think. If they don’t like it all, luckily Belcher has a whole chapter on how to revise and resubmit.

I’m planning to facilitate another 12 weeks of working through Belcher’s book to get an article written in the new year, with Tohtoriverkosto. Hop on my mailing list if you want to join us!

new retreat dates – seuraavat retriitit

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