I think I’m beginning to understand the academic rhythm of summer and why professors value those uninterrupted weeks so much. Without at least a few days in a row with nothing else on your mind, it’s really hard to get in the right mindset. And it helps to have a few weeks to review the literature beforehand so you can actually sit down and just start writing. Or re-writing. For the first time in my academic life, I need to seriously overhaul two ‘promising’ papers entirely – reframing the contributions into totally different (and much better defined) literatures and narrowing their focus from the vague, seminar-paper style they are currently in. I’ve never done this kind of revision before, as I’ve never tried to get something into shape to present at a serious conference (ASA) or publish before. I have a feeling it’s going to be a weakness of mine as an academic. I hate re-reading my own work, let alone tweaking it. Fortunately, I have a lot of good feedback to work from, but it’s broad feedback – engage with this literature, not this one, focus on this story, not that one. That’s all helpful, but still doesn’t tell me where to start. I’m tempted to hit the books… but I feel like that’s the standard trap, to just keep reading. All this made worse by the fact that instead of reserving this summer for my own work, I’m (very happily) working part time on a couple different projects for my advisors. Even just 2 or 3 hours spent thinking through someone else’s problem makes it hard to focus on my own.
So, anyone have any strategic advice for rewriting? In particular, advice for going from “draft” to “submission” rather than dealing with revise and resubmits, say.