Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What Article Revision Looks Like For Me

A little over a month ago I received a revise and resubmit email for an article I submitted in November.
I was very excited. It was a folklore piece and I really liked writing it, and researching it as it required work at UNM's Center for Southwest Research, a wonderful archive with a great staff.

In fact, my only non #DevilDiss project this summer is one on the Seder Dime Novel collection they have- examining the demonizing of the Other in the cover art of dime novels and framing as precursor to same moves in early comics.

But I digress.

I originally told the editor I'd turn the revisions around in a few weeks, but they said to take my time. So I admit I've been focusing on clearing my desk of other things. As I sat down today though to work on the revisions, I thought I'd share my process for this.

I will first say that I've always taken revise and resubmit. I don't know why people wouldn't. One conference presentation/panel of editors said that if they asked for that, they wanted to work with you to get the piece out. So that's always how I view it.
However, I will say that with ALL revisions, I tend to put them off, making the work required HUGE in my head, and then I sit down and in a day or two it's finished and I wonder (once again) why I put it off.

  • So, the first thing I did today was sit down and read over the reviewers' notes. The notes I received were very detailed, had a really supportive tone, and very helpful. I went through each, with a copy of the article, and made notes about where I needed to add/address the notes.
  • As I was going through these notes I also looked up and made a list of books I needed to get from the library to address these gaps.
  • Because the reviewers' notes were so great, I don't have any I disagree with, so I'll be addressing them all. There was a conversation on Twitter the other day about revisions. Sometimes we're asked to change things that we fight for, some we're too tired to fight for (this happens to me when there are multiple rounds of revisions), and some are legitimate revision notes. The conversation was when the note asked us to change our voice, which is our commodity, that was a line most of us were not willing to cross. 
  • There were two main notes one was what was folkloric about Elfego Baca and why his creation of his own legend was important. I dance around both. So I need to frontload both of those early, and rewrite/refocus the conclusion around that.
Now, the next part may seem silly (or genius).
I put in my Passion Planner when things are due. Then I backtrack work days to meet that deadline. I've been procrastinating on these revisions, so this is my last week to get these Baca revisions finished.
Also, because I don't have summer income, and budget a little tighter than normal during the summer, I'm careful about gas trips. I only live 9 miles from campus, it takes about 15-20 minutes, but I only go to campus for the library on Tuesday and Thursday.

So, today is not a library day. So I will read and annotate the articles I have. I will read over the article and read out loud with fresh eyes and make notes/corrections. I will also add the footnotes to the bibliography (not sure how I missed that first time round).
Tomorrow is a library day. So I will pick up books, make copies as needed. Tuesday and Thursday are also the days I now drive up to Santa Fe as the book courier for Bread Loaf so tomorrow afternoon I'll start on these revisions.
Friday I will finish the revisions, print out, and let it sit.
Saturday I will read over the final draft, make any last minute changes, and then send off to the editor.

So I'll send it off, and then see if the editor has any further notes/revisions which I'll address when they come in.
Part of the reason to get this done, check off is so I can turn the rest of the summer to #DevilDiss (writing the pamphlet chapter, expanding the Shakespeare one, and revising the Milton one).
Part of the reason is (hopefully) this gets accepted so I can put it on my CV for this fall's job market.

So what's your process for article revisions? What's your attitude towards revision? What advice would you have about this process for grad students or early career scholars?

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