Some three weeks ago, I received a surprise call from my supervisor. The first thing I thought was “Am I in big trouble?” because she had never called me before. Lucky I was not in any trouble as it turned out she just wanted to invite me to a writing workshop organized by the faculty’s Information Systems department. She was asking if I was interested to go for this 2-day Web of Science Journal writing workshop on 2-3 February. Of course, I was ecstatic and said I would very much love to attend.
Despite my excitement, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from such workshop. Originally, I thought it would be a lecture or presentation type of workshop where some experts share their experience and knowledge on journal writing. I also thought it’s a normal 2-day workshop similar to any seminar. To my shock, neither of these expectations were true. Firstly, the workshop was actually a 2-day and 1-night event, which required the participants to stay overnight at the hotel of the event. I was panicky when I first read the itinerary. I had never attended such event before that required me to be away from family even just for 1 night. Secondly, there wasn’t any lecture or presentation during the workshop, other than a simple keynote presentation from one invited expert who was going to review our papers. So, the agenda was basically writing sessions where we prepared and wrote our individual papers to be handed to this expert for review. We got our feedback on the same day or the next depending when we submitted the paper to be reviewed.
The participants were all the lecturers from the Information Systems department and their students working on some papers for submission. So we were working together with our own supervisors on our papers. I had prepared my paper even before the workshop. During the workshop, I made modification together with my supervisor to make the paper better. The expert who reviewed my paper is an editor in a journal so her feedback is valuable to my paper, hoping to increase my chance for paper acceptance to my target journal.
Being a first-time writer and an inexperience one, I expected to edit the paper after her review feedback. However, when she showed me her comments (and they were all over the pages), I was stunned. Then I realized an editor’s expectation is much higher than what I can produce. I have major modification to do. Worst of all, I didn’t feel her comments were any positive and it seemed I got most of everything wrong. My supervisor thought otherwise and asked me not to give up. She reminded me that this was a learning process and I was there to get some experience. With that advice, I utilized whatever time I had during the workshop to edit the paper according to the expert’s comments. Of course, the paper is still not ready and it still needs a lot of hard work.
By the end of the workshop, the facilitator wrapped it up by reminding us that the target date of submission for our papers is by end of February. We MUST submit, that’s the ultimate target of this workshop. The expert actually did some rating on our papers in term of completion or readiness of the paper. Surprisingly, my paper was rated 70% completed and the expert thought my topic is interesting though she thought I could write better to make it an interesting read.
Overall, I’m not regretting attending this workshop because getting feedback on my research before final submission is helpful, though apparently I got myself a lot of work to redo. Taking rejection well is something I haven’t master yet, I guess. Luckily I’m not a perfectionist but I think I still have a long way to a satisfactory completion.