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#GetYourManuscriptOut or “how to fight procrastination in academic writing through crowdsourcing”

AcWri at the home office

Most people who read my blog on a regular basis know that I write every single day of the week, either 2 hours in a row (from 4:00am to 6:00am), or in 4 blocks of 30 minutes every day, to ensure at least 10 hours of solid writing per week. What most people DON’T know is that most of this writing is generative. That is, I generate new text, I write new papers, but I am horrendous at editing, or at getting out manuscripts that are languishing.

In my terminology, “languishing” means that conference paper that I wrote, that was very well received, but that somehow, in the past two years, has been slipping through the cracks. Or a paper that is THIS CLOSE to being complete, but only needs a bit of editing or polishing, or adding a few interviews, or cranking out a few equations or rewriting the analysis. So, it’s a paper mostly done, but that is there, sitting in my hard drive, alone and waiting to be submitted to a journal.

I’m tired of this. I’m tired of only writing generative text and I’ve decided to simply start polishing those manuscripts that are ALMOST done, but that for some reason, I left behind after conferences or workshops. So, in a conversation with Steven Shaw from McGill University in Montreal and Mireya Marquez from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, we decided that we wanted to find an accountability mechanism to bring us to completion and submission of manuscripts.

So that’s how #GetYourManuscriptOut started. Mireya, Steven and I collectively are inviting all academic writers to use the hashtag in the way many use #AcWri (Academic Writing), to share frustrations, ideas but most importantly, progress about a manuscript that needs to get out. In turn, we’d probably appreciate words/tweets of encouragement along our journey.

My own accountability goals for this summer:
- The manuscript on wastewater governance I wrote for my job talk needs to be submitted. It’s almost 100% ready and I just need to polish it.
- The paper on remunicipalization needs to be polished with additional interview material from the case study. It’s also almost done, and just needs to be reworked with the interviews and submitted.
- The design for my water culture experiment needs to be written up.
- My paper on bottled water needs to be submitted, as it needs to be reworked to use the citation style of the journal I’m planning to submit.

If you have manuscripts waiting to be submitted, that are ALMOST done, and you need collective encouragement, do feel free to join in. We won’t be tweeting on a particular day or at a particular hour of the day, we’ll just be citing our progress and asking you to keep us accountable and encourage us.

Wish us luck!

Posted in environmental policy.

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7 Responses

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  1. Kate says

    Also #GraftonLine on Fb — very similar idea. See article in InsideHigherEd about it a few months ago.

  2. Sallie Hughes says

    OMG. This is me. I am in! (Oh no, I am procrastinating right now!)

  3. Annemarie says

    I’m joining too. I’ve got a draft that is OVERDUE and I feel serious shame.

  4. Carlos Ferreira says

    I have the opposite problem to you, Raul: difficulty in generating new papers – or, as I like to call it, “that sodding white page” problem. I am efficient at writing, but I struggle to put together THAT first sentence which just gets the paper rolling.

  5. Raul Pacheco-Vega says

    @ Kate – thanks for the additional ideas

    @ Sallie – glad you’ll be joining

    @ Annemarie – glad you’ll join!

    @ Carlos – That’s where the outline technique helps :D

  6. Gabrielle Wanamaker says

    I had a walk with a friend late last night. I lamented about how I couldn’t get back to completing the last 2 chapters of my Dissertation or the short paper someone suggested I submit to a journal to vet my thinking. My friend read your post this morning, sent this me and said “It’s as if God was listening.” Please tell me how I can join #GetYourManuscriptOut now. Thanks!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Summer Writes: Week 9 | Ye Olde Royle Blog linked to this post on July 14, 2014

    [...] crowdsource your writing accountability before the beginning of Fall Writes (date TBD), check out this post by Raul Pacheco on #GetYourManuscriptOut. Of course, there’s also the #GraftonLine Facebook group—and if you’re curious, a [...]



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