This month of #AcWriMo we’re featuring heaps of advice from the book Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks by Wendy Laura Belcher. She’ll offer a wealth of information on carefully planning your writing and getting over obstacles – practical and emotional.
I’m afraid of writing because my idea is very controversial or emotional.
Again, this is a very real concern. As one of my students put it, “sometimes I’m afraid my idea will come back and bite me.” One student had done a study on earnings and ethnicity, hypothesizing that salaries would be lower for a minority group in a certain profession. Her analysis of the data revealed that there was no significant difference. This finding went against her own experience and was disturbing to her advisor. Whenever she thought about writing, she felt shut down. Even if her initial findings were true, were they what she wanted to associate her name with? She felt an obligation to the truth, but also to justice and her career. How could she write when she was caught between such hard places?
As is so often the case, she found her way out through writing. She used the discussion and conclusion section of her article to suggest some alternative approaches to understanding the findings. She then used them as a platform for extending her future research to incorporate a more detailed investigation of earnings by adding qualitative in-depth interviews to her previous quantitative approach. In other words, she used an obstacle to become a better scholar. If you find yourself in a similar position, talking and writing can be the cure.