Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016
Levels of Concern Among Authors
From Novice to Expert
Writing as Professional Development
Without question, expectations for scholarly writing skills affect scholars at different points across the continuum of professional experience, commencing with newly enrolled graduate students and often persisting until after a professor has retired and achieved emeritus status. Because writing for publication is new to everyone at first, dominant concerns about scholarly writing and publishing frequently follow the same trajectory that has been widely researched as “levels of use of an innovation” or the concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) (Loucks-Horsley, 1996). Novices generally are preoccupied with “self concerns”; as they apply to scholarly writing such concerns can be summarized by the question “Am I a ’good’ writer in comparison to others at this career stage? Do I have what it takes to become a published author in my field?” After experiencing some initial glimmers of success, scholars begin to transition into “task concerns”; namely, “How can I become more efficient? What, exactly, do I need to do to accomplish this particular writing task?” Finally, after confidence, skills, and a respectable curriculum vita has been built, scholars shift to “impact concerns” with questions such as: “Has my work earned the respect of peers? What will be my contribution to the field?” The underlying assumption is that, in order to succeed as academic authors, graduate students and faculty need to make important transformations in their writing behavior or, to use the current vernacular, they need to “reinvent themselves” periodically to sustain scholarly productivity.
Activity 13.2: The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) as It Applies to Writing
Make a three-column table labeled with the headings Self, Task, and Impact. In the first column, respond to these questions with a list: What concerns do you have about your ability to fulfill the academic author’s role? Are there any experiences—positive or negative—associated with past writing efforts that have shaped your self-concept as a writer? For the second column, make a list to answer these questions: What concerns do you have about the task of writing for publication, submitting your work, and responding to reviews? In what areas will you need to improve? For the third column, make a list to answer these questions: What concerns do you have about the way that your published work is received by others? What contribution to your field would be satisfying to you? At the culmination of your professional career, what do you hope your reputation will be? Now go back through the table and list the material and human resources that could support you at each stage.
Writing expert Georgia Heard (1995) believes that all writers have doubts and fears about their abilities to write. She advises, “Don’t try to avoid the rocks. The obstacles I face — lack of time, too many projects at once — as well as the obstacles all writers face — rejection, criticism, doubts, and insecurities … are impossible to avoid and can be valuable teachers. I gather strength from them. They are an inevitable part of a writer’s life” (pp. 38—39).