Summertime: Time to Write

karindalziel/ via Flickr Creative Commons karindalziel/ via Flickr Creative Commons

July 4th has come and gone and summer still stretches out before us. For many, summer is a time to relax and take things a bit slower. Working moms and dads don’t have to deal with school projects; faculty have no or at least fewer classes to teach. It’s the perfect time to write—or at least start—that article you’ve had on your “To Do” list for the last year (or two or three).

Many budding authors tell me that the hardest part about writing is getting started, so here are suggestions from a pair of editors and writers who teach writing workshops (included, along with several other writing tips, in my 2014 editorial on the topic):

  • Set a consistent time to write, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day. Make an appointment with yourself and honor it as you would an appointment with someone else. Make yourself sit down and write—and write anything to begin; you don’t need to start at the beginning or do an outline. Once you get rolling, you can always write for a longer time.
  • “Start anywhere, but start. And keep your hand moving, whether you’re using a pen or a keyboard. Whether it’s because of muscle memory or the mind–body connection, this works. Random thoughts will morph into coherent sentences, which you’ll later organize into paragraphs; before you know it, you’ll have 500 words and a good start to a short essay or an article.”

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July 11th, 2016|career, narratives, Nursing|1 Comment

‘My Professor Said to Submit My Paper’ (We Hope They Also Told You This)

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN editor-in-chief

Niklas Bildhauer/ Wikimedia Commons Niklas Bildhauer/ Wikimedia Commons

When we get a manuscript submission, I always read the cover letter first to learn about the author and why the article was written. Often, the first sentence goes something like this: “I am a student and I’m submitting my capstone paper as required by my professor.” Or the letter may say, “My professor encouraged me to submit this paper, my capstone work.”

The paper is usually the very paper the student wrote and submitted to the professor. And that almost always means it’s not suitable for a professional journal.

The problem is not that we won’t consider manuscripts written by students—we sometimes welcome them, especially papers written by nurses who are experienced clinicians and working toward a graduate degree. The problem with the submissions I’m talking about here is inherent in the purpose of the papers themselves. Student papers are written primarily to demonstrate what the student knows about a subject; these papers tend to be expansive, cover the topic in a superficial way, and include a long list of references of books, articles, and Web sites (or, conversely, they may only have a few references, mostly Web sites, plus perhaps one much-cited textbook—thankfully, few are citing Wikipedia).

Student papers that describe themselves as “literature reviews” often have no information about the search strategy—and little synthesis. Instead, they contain a long list of various studies related to the […]

February 22nd, 2013|nursing perspective, nursing research|1 Comment