In last month’s column we explained the “Do It – Write” approach to writing for publication, explored how to develop articles using this approach, and discussed potential sources from which you could draw material for publication.
Incentives to Write
While the leaders in most professions are not generally given the “publish or perish” mandate faced by those in the academic ranks, having material published in a recognized journal can enhance the career of the writer. Most employers will view favorably those individuals who bring positive recognition to their organization by publishing information about their programs, services or products.
Having your work appear in print also brings recognition from peers in the field. This recognition often brings with it opportunities to speak at conferences and seminars or to serve as a consultant to other organizations. These activities, in turn, provide additional opportunities to develop material for publication.
In the “Do It – Write” approach, not only does speaking furnish material for articles, but having your work published can also provide additional opportunities to speak. Each activity serves as a resource for the other.
In addition to the benefits or incentives mentioned above, writing for publication gives one a sense of accomplishment and also serves as a form of self-development. The more you write and speak, the better you become at writing and speaking.
There is a sense of accomplishment that comes upon seeing in a magazine, newsletter or journal something that you have written. If you have experienced the excitement of speaking before an audience, you might think there would be little enjoyment in the solitude of the writer’s desk, but “being published” brings a tremendous feeling of satisfaction. Seeing one’s work in print can be just as thrilling as the sound of applause. Having your peers see your work in print and mentioning it to you or seeing your name listed among the references in a thesis or journal article is even more thrilling.
The process of researching, organizing, speaking, writing, and rewriting becomes an exercise in self-development. As a result of this process, you begin writing more concise, better-organized speeches, reports, letters, and memos.
The question that arises at this point is “Now that the article is written, how do I get it published?” The speeches or presentations you have made, the programs that you have developed and the problems you have solved within your own organization are generally subjects that would be of interest to others in your profession.
People are always eager to see what programs other organizations have developed that can be transplanted to their own organization. They are also interested in seeing how others have solved problems that they are currently facing. Therefore, your material should appear in the publication these people are reading. The newsletters and journals of the professional association of which you are a member are the best vehicles for getting the message to others in your profession, and most journals are looking for interesting, informative, well-written material.
The editor of the journal to which you plan to submit your article can provide you with a copy of the journal’s “instructions for contributors.” These instructions will spell out the format in which the article should be prepared if submitted to that publication. You may want to secure from a number of journals their “instructions for contributors” to place in your files for reference. This will enable you to identify which journal would be interested in a particular subject. In addition, it will enable you to have the format required by that journal when you begin to work on your presentation/article.
Writing for publication is not very difficult. In fact, it can become a natural follow-up to every presentation you give, program you develop, grant you write, or report you prepare.
You can use a speech outline as the outline for an article. If you write out your speeches or present written reports, they can serve as the first draft of the article. The question and answer period following a presentation can provide suggestions to how the article can be improved.
The “Do It – Write” approach described here will provide you with a number of sources of material from which you can develop articles for publication. Some of the sources I have used include (1) speeches to professional or civic groups, (2) presentation to boards and advisory committees, (3) grants written to obtain funding for programs, (4) descriptions of activities and/or programs within your own organization, (5) papers written for an academic class, and (6) remarks made while testifying before the legislature, board of directors, or some other group.
The incentives for using the “Do It – Write” approach are (1) it will enhance your career opportunities, (2) it brings recognition from your peers, and (3) you begin writing more concise, better organized speeches, reports, letters and memos.
If what you are doing or saying is of interest to your peers, submit your material to the publications they read.
Now that you know the “Do It – Write” approach, the next time you are working on a speech, report, grant, etc., think in terms of turning it into an article. When you do it, write. It is not that difficult. After all, this article was developed from a speech I delivered to a Toastmasters group.
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