Worst Case Scenario

Today I received a nice thick parcel in the mail: three author copies of the journal Lähikuva, which has just published my first Finnish-language academic article* (I’m still amazed that they sent three!). In a previous blog I wrote about the initial process of writing (or starting to write) this article back in 2011 – four years ago!

It’s actually embarrassing how long it took to go from that initial idea to final publication: I had a thesis chapter written in English, and I went through and translated it into Finnish, updating and adding relevant literature as I went: e.g. in the original I referred to an analysis of newspaper articles on the Balkan wars of secession, and it was weird seeing that section written in Finnish, but not referring to Finnish reporting of the same.

Then, finally, the article was ready. Or submittable, which is to say ready enough.

And then… I sat on it for aaaaaaaaaages. I have a habit of doing that – getting things to the brink of finished, but not quite having the courage to tip them over the edge. Kids, don’t be like me. It just prolongs the pain.

I kept thinking about the absolute worst-case scenario: that the article would boomerang back, rejected and unpublished. Eventually (and you might think this would have happened earlier than it did, on account of me being quite smart and all) I realised that that was already happening. I was living the worst-case scenario.

The only way to save the article from my neglect was to submit it.

Once I’d sent it off there were a couple of rounds of referee comments and some revisions, the whole process taking about sixteen months all up from submission to publication. I resisted making a suggested structural change for a long time, but accepted in the end I couldn’t make the article work properly otherwise – so thanks are due to the reviewer for the suggestion, and also the editor for not forcing my hand on the matter and letting me get there in my own time.

Editors are by and large much more reasonable people than authors.

So, to mark the occasion I’d like to urge you to go and submit, finish, push over the precipice of ‘ready’ whatever it is you’ve been sitting on. Chances of publication improve dramatically when you send your work to an editor.

*The article is on Aki Kaurismäki’s Drifting Clouds, and the English-language abstract here.

writing music: "Wytches", Inkubus Sukkubus

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