This week on LibParlor, we have our first quick tips post from Jenni Burke, a teaching librarian in Denver, CO.
- Coming up with a topic can be tough. I encourage you to think about these things:
- What makes your take unique: Did you have a different job before you were a librarian? Were you a nontraditional student? Did something occur that really changed your view on librarianship?
- What you are passionate about: Do you love cataloging? Are you a critliber? Do you teach?
- How does this contribute to current research? How does it change perspective? Why is it special, unique, or important?
- Find someone who has done this before (or a site like this!) and ask a lot of questions, even ones that feel ridiculous.
- Don’t give up if you are rejected from a journal, especially if this is your first time submitting. It doesn’t feel great, but it could simply be that your article doesn’t fit where the journal currently is. It doesn’t mean your idea isn’t worth pursuing.
- Go open access. Open scholarship and open access make our research more accessible and contributes to the whole of academia in a much greater way. Not only is it easier to access from outside of the library and off campus, it greatly increases the number of professionals and students who can read and benefit from your work.
- If you are allowed to choose an external peer reviewer, choose someone who will challenge your work instead of someone who will support it. This makes writing more difficult but forces you to prove your points sufficiently and greatly improves your writing.
- Keep multiple drafts, but keep them under control. Have one working draft and multiple dated drafts. This helps tremendously if you cut something and then later have a great idea that connects that idea back into the paper.
- Keep your latest draft in two places such as Google Drive and your computer. This helps in case of a disaster, like a melted hard drive or a band of unruly raccoons grabbing your computer and flinging it out the window (not that this has happened to me, but I’m sure it has happened to someone, somewhere).
- When you sit down to write, consider having a warm up ritual. Routine helps prepare the body and brain. For example, I would settle into my seat at the library or local coffee shop, play on social media and my email for roughly half an hour, pop in a good soundtrack, and get to work. I go through this process every time I write. It clears my FOMO (fear of missing out) and gets my brain ready for the process.
- Push through the mental blocks if you can, but if not, go watch tv, take a walk, or play with your dog (or cat, whatever your fancy). At some point, the juices start flowing, but don’t force it.
- Know that every ounce of blood (hopefully not, but you never know), sweat, and tears will pay off in this process. It is hard, but keep your mind set on the finished product and how good it will feel to see your name in print!
More on our author today: Jenni is currently a Librarian on-call for Front Range Community College and looking for a full time academic library position. She recently finished a temporary contract as an Instructional Librarian at Auraria Library in Denver, CO. In this position, Jenni taught course-integrated information literacy skills in a variety of courses from communications to chemistry and assisted students, staff, and faculty with research questions.When Jenni is not thinking about, worrying about, or talking about libraries, she is usually hanging out with my husband, playing board games with her friends, chasing her toddler, or hiking with her dogs.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.