Overcoming Writer’s Anxiety in Academic and Scientific Writing
Writer’s anxiety may not be the same thing as writer’s block, but it can have a similarly troubling effect and potentially disastrous results. The kind of anxiety I mean tends to arise when a scholarly or indeed any kind of author is faced with unexpectedly negative responses to a text that he or she has published or otherwise disseminated among readers. The readers may be known or unknown, and the criticism may come in a variety of different forms. A rejection from an acquisitions editor is a common trigger, as is a request for major revisions from a peer reviewer who makes it clear that a document is not of an appropriate standard or from a thesis supervisor who highlights the many problems with a drafted chapter. Colleagues or mentors can be a source of writer’s anxiety when they offer criticism or are simply lukewarm in their praise, especially when a particularly positive response is expected, and poor reviews, whether professional assessments by experts or unexplained one-star ratings by anonymous readers, can steal the wind from an author’s sails. In each case the feedback generates anxiety, causes the academic or scientist to question the validity of his or her writing and produces doubt about proceeding, either with the document that has been criticised or with the next writing project. Fortunately, there are practical ways to overcome this unproductive anxiety.
Increase Your Chances of Getting Published
• Whatever the criticism may be, it is essential not to take it personally. Scholarly writing is a professional matter, frequently requires revisions to be successful and is likely to generate disagreement as well as agreement.
• Emotional responses to unexpected criticism are natural, but they should be given only so much time to reign before they are tucked aside to allow for serious and less subjective approaches that will be far more helpful.
• It is necessary to understand the criticism clearly and completely. It may be very difficult to gain much understanding if the criticism is a simple rating or less than coherent, but those are good reasons to dismiss it more quickly. When, however, revisions need to be made to earn publication or a degree, communicating with an acquisitions editor or thesis supervisor to clarify what is intended and required may be necessary.
• Adopting as objective a perspective as possible on one’s own writing is notoriously challenging, but it is essential in order to determine what should be done. If, for instance, a peer reviewer has requested changes prior to publication, only a scholarly and professional assessment of the criticism in relation to the manuscript will enable effective revisions.
• Keeping busy on the same kind of work, whether planning revisions or the next writing project, is an excellent strategy because it prevents the kind of brooding over the problematic criticism that only increases anxiety and self-doubt, and it also contributes to forward progress.
• Do be sure to reflect carefully on any major changes that appear necessary based on the criticism. Revising per the requests of acquisitions editors and peer reviewers is far from straightforward. Yes, adhering to guidelines and communicating in clear prose are necessities that may demand revisions, but changes to the research itself or the conclusions or recommendations based on it are matters that will require considerable thought. The base question is whether the changes will indeed improve the work or not.
• Persistence is essential to both advanced research and a successful scholarly career that includes active publishing, so do not give up. The worries born of anxiety and self-doubt are most quickly lent reality by neglecting to act in positive ways, so try to channel that anxiety into practical solutions. Keep an open mind, revise when necessary or beneficial, and learn from the experience.
Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At Proof-Reading-Service.com we offer the highest quality English editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders and editors are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions editors and achieve publication.
Our scientific editing services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer book editing services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical editing and bioscience editing, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.