Why is this important again?

Dec 05 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

And....exhale. Classes are over, my final exam written, and in 3 days I head for the sparkling sands of [redacted] for the annual meeting of Very Exclusive  Organization that Doesn't Seem All That Impressed With Me But Which I Continue to Jump Through Hoops For Anyway.

JK, I'm not really relaxing all that much. In fact, my blood pressure remains quite high, as I'm not only waiting on a summary statement for a very good-but-not-amazing score on my first real R01, but also a score on another big grant, my first manuscript decision, and a couple of symposium proposals. My 3rd-year review is coming up in less than 4 months, and I really need to push--papers especially.

To that end, I've started writing up the results of our first data set from my R21, which has been hugely productive.  In fact, the results are pretty awesome, and we're going to shoot pretty high with this one. Which means this paper needs to be impeccable: not just beautiful figures and compelling data, but tight, persuasive writing that will make the reviewers feel as if they've been raptured. With words.

But when you've been thinking about your own work for so long, you can forget how exciting, novel, and important it is. As I slogged through a draft of the intro yesterday, I whined to my colleague that I wasn't sure it had enough oomph. Her advice was so freaking brilliant that I had to share it with all of you: go read the summary statement. 

I mean, is that genius or what? Here are ten pages full of things people wrote about how your science is so exciting, novel, and important that they thought the government should give you HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF US DOLLARS to do it! I have to admit, it was a great little ego boost to go back and revisit all the nice things they said. In addition, I think it's useful to keep in mind what other people find compelling about your work. Whoever thinks "the science should speak for itself" is delusional (I may need a separate post on this attitude, which I encounter all too often).

Consider this little nugget of wisdom my holiday gift to you, lovely readers. Have a super December, filled with below-payline scores, manuscript acceptances, festive foods and beverages, and lots of  happiness.

2 responses so far

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    On occasion, when I had writer's block, I would get out one of my earlier papers and read it through. Given my funk mood, I would strike myself as having been awsome, and would return to the task at hand greatly emboldened. 😉

  • GMP says:

    I cannot believe it's already been 3 years! Best of luck.

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