Write A Journal Article in 12 Weeks: New Course Helps Researchers Boost Productivity

Perhaps you know one of them: Brilliant students and professors who do exciting research and have novel ideas, but never get around to publishing their work. Writing coach Jennifer Greer hopes to change that. This spring, she will offer a new course to help graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and other research writers develop “habits of productivity that lead to publication.” A former journalist turned academic writing instructor for the UAB Graduate School’s Professional Development Program (PDP), Greer created the course for people who have a written a first or unfinished draft with potential.

“We often try to start our publishing track record by writing from scratch, which can be a slow and difficult way to begin. On the other hand, if we look at something that we have already written that has potential -- an existing essay, research project, or course paper – but is unfinished or unpolished, we may find that we have work that we can revise and target for publication sooner.”

Getting a journal submission underway creates a tremendous boost of confidence that writers need to grow and develop their publishing efforts, she adds, and that is the goal of GRD 729, Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks. GRD 729 will be offered on Monday nights, Jan. 23 to April 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., as a for-credit elective.

Like the Graduate School’s other professional writing courses, GRD 729 is interdisciplinary and based on research-based techniques for helping academics overcome writer’s block, plan and execute a writing project as effectively as they do other work projects.

“We are using a new approach developed from a decade of work with scholarly writers across disciplines at the University of California, Los Angeles,” Greer explains. “Each week, writers learn about a particular feature of successful articles and revise their own work to meet the new bar. This approach demystifies the process and helps writers break their projects down into a series of manageable steps.”

While there is no course prerequisite, participants in the course must have a work in progress that they can begin revising the first day of class. “This is definitely a course that requires doing, not just learning about, these strategies for writing a journal article in a timely manner.” GRD 729 is open to all graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and employees. It’s worth 3 credit hours, on a pass/no pass basis. For more information, contact Greer at jlgreer1@uab.edu.