Time to publish... Can never get past the first draft

posted
02-Jul-19, 13:13
edited about 10 seconds later
Avatar for vespatonowhere
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi all,
Just looking for some support/similar experiences. I finished my Ph.D. in 2015 (now I wonder how I managed it!) and then worked in my field in practice for 2 years. I am now back in academia as a research fellow. I am under a lot of pressure to publish, but I cannot seem to make it past the first draft stage with any of my projects. I write a chapter/paper/article and then send it to a colleague/co-worker for feedback. Typically I get very helpful feedback, but I guess always more than I was expecting. I then feel so overwhelmed/anxious/inferior and also uninterested in working more on the same project that I end up moving on to something else, making it harder and harder to return to that project. I know this is completely stupid and unproductive and ridiculous, and yet I find myself doing it time and again. Sometimes I half-heartedly start fixing the draft, but especially when the comments are very vague or will require a massive overhaul of the structure/argument/addition of lots of new material, I run out of motivation. Am I just a terrible academic? Did I lose my determination/perseverance while I was in practice? Has anyone else felt this way? How do you motivate yourself to keep working on projects that you lost interest in? Many thanks in advance.
posted
03-Jul-19, 21:48
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 weeks ago
I had something similar, I spent 3 months in the final draft stage with significant anxiety about my work. Until one day my supervisor turned up and said you are submitting today. Suddenly the option of delay was gone and had to accept it wouldn't be perfect. Since then things have kinda clicked and have more confidence in my work. That paper has been rejected 3 times but I am now invested in that work and want to defend the material. I feel you just need to take the plunge and submit something real, after which you can build confidence in your work. You can see all the mistakes and possible improvements but forget to see all the achievements and never accept it as good enough. So I would set a deadline, tell someone about it and submit whatever you have (co-authors willing). The rejection will hurt but it will give you some perspective.
posted
04-Jul-19, 05:08
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 weeks ago
Are you sure it's the projects you are losing interest in or the entire premise of academia?
If it's happening across more than one project it might be the latter.
posted
08-Jul-19, 08:26
edited about 24 seconds later
Avatar for vespatonowhere
posted about 1 week ago
Hi rewt and pm133, I appreciate the responses.
Whew pm, talk about hitting hard. I think you might be right, I am feeling a bit disillusioned about academia and my future there. My faculty is embroiled in a lot of politics and I feel like my future is a bit uncertain, and I sometimes question what the point of it all is. I know that researchers contribute significantly to society, but I feel like there is so much bureaucracy, politics etc that it impedes some of that. But I don't feel like I can leave right now, so I have to stick it out for a while.
Rewt, I do think you're right to say I must just put something out there. And it's kinda nice to be reminded that even if something gets rejected, it doesn't mean it's not worthwhile improving or defending. I think I need to just set a deadline (with myself) to incorporate the set of comments I received from my colleague and send it off ASAP. I wish I had a supervisor who could push me like this, but in the absence of that, I just need to do it myself!
posted
10-Jul-19, 15:10
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
vespa, if it's academia itself but you are not ready to move away, it might help you to plan your escape now whilst you are not in a panic to get out. You don't need to enact those plans but taking the time to think about it now will help you I think.
Don't worry, many many people change direction more than once in their career. I've lost count of how many times I've done it personally. As soon as I saw your post I recognised the symptoms.

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