Week 2: Starting the Article

Well, Week 1 saw me off to a bumpy start. In the good news department, some contacts I’ve been forging over the last couple months finally yielded some results and I was very busy this week with site visits, interviews, and reading. In the bad news department, my attention to this project was a little less than it should have been, and I fell back on at least three of the excuses Belcher points out that writers make to avoid writing. As I mentioned in my post last week, Belcher suggests that you create a writing agreement and keep it by your work space, where you get ready in the morning, posted on your door so you see it as you leave for the day, wherever. Part of this agreement is having consequences for when  you fail to meet your writing goals for the week. The punishment I’ve set for myself is two-fold: 1) on the weekly basis, I will post here about any of the goals I fail to meet 2) for the entire project, if I fall too far behind or don’t have a decent article by the end of it all, I’ll take my writing partner and his wife out for drinks on me (alright, this might not be a terrible punishment, really, as I want to do it anyway…). You also get to choose a positive motivation; mine is going to dinner at an incredible Armenian restaurant I discovered about a month ago here in Beirut.

To the task at hand then, and with no further ado:

Week 2: Starting Your Article. This chapter opens with a discussion of the types of articles you can write (a surprisingly large number, I thought), the myths and realities of what makes an article publishable, and the components of a good abstract (since this book is tailored to article writing in the humanities and social sciences, she focuses on the characteristics of good abstracts for these two fields). Belcher then moves on to the daily tasks for the week (see below) and reminds the reader, finally, of the importance of tracking your time in order to maximize your effective use of it. (Note: If you don’t skim the chapter ahead of time, tracking your time usage will come as something as a surprise when you get to the last page of the chapter, so I suggest skimming the chapter on the first day of your work week to avoid any surprises in the course of the week.)

Week 2 Tasks

  • Day 1: Read through page 60 and discuss your article topic with a writing partner and start documenting your time.
  • Day 2: Read pages 60-61 and print out and reread your chosen paper, discuss it, and make a list of revisions.
  • Day 3: Read pages 61-62, draft an abstract, and get a review of it.
  • Day 4: Read pages 62-63 and find a read a model abstract in your field.
  • Day 5: Read page 64 and revise abstract according to reviewer comments.

*  *  *

What kind of projects are you working on right now? How do you keep yourself motivated to see them to completion?

For all posts related to this project: Week 0 (Introduction), Week 1 (The writing plan), Week 3 (Arguments), Week 4 (Choosing a journal), Week 5 (Literature review), Week 6 (Article structure), Week 7 (Evidence), Week 8 (Strengthening the intro and conclusion), Week 9 (Giving and receiving feedback), Week 10 (Editing), Week 11 (Finalizing the article), Week 12 (Send!)

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