Sunday, January 13, 2008

Taking the plunge: writing for publication

I had a conversation recently with a midwife who was feeling very passionate about a professional issue but did not know what to do about it. She decided that she wanted to write about her thoughts but didn't quite know how to approach it.

There are any number of articles and resources out there to help people to write for publication for the first time. As I have already said MIDIRS has a very good webinar that is available to watch, which gives excellent information for people who have not submitted material for publication before.

My main tips for people who are just starting to think about getting something published are:
  • Start small - write a letter to the editor or write a book review. This will boost your confidence and give you a place to start from.
  • If you do not feel up to writing a full research article, begin with an opinion piece or literature review.
  • Think about the style of your writing and the article you are writing. If it is not a particularly academic, you might be better off submitting it to a non peer-reviewed journal such as The New Zealand College of Midwives' Newsletter, Midwifery Today, The Practicing Midwife or MIDIRS Digest.
  • Collaborate with someone who has more writing experience, or already has useful connections with a editor/publisher.
  • Talk to the editor of the journal/magazine where you want to submit your article - hopefully, he/she will be able to give you some advice and guidance.
  • Find a critical friend who will not only edit your work but will critique your ideas and support you as you process your work.
  • Whatever you do, do not forget to acknowledge your sources - make sure you know what referencing style the journal uses like APA, Vancouver, Harvard etc.
Do not be afraid - give it a go. The worse that can happen is that your piece gets rejected. If that is the case, do not take it personally - just give it another go with another journal.

Do you have any other tips or experiences that would be helpful?


Stewart, S. 2004. Tips on writing for publication.
New Zealand College of Midwives Journal, 30: 26-27


Carolyn said...

good to see you have been busy while I have been away.
I had a great time. Weather was fantastic. The wedding was great and I got to go kayaking and sailing as well as mucking about in the waves, so all in all my kind of holiday.

Thanks for the publication tips.

Carolyn said...

I see you have decided not to screen the comments any more. Good move I think. You can always delete a comment if it is totally inappropriate.

Sarah Stewart said...

Yes, after much debate, I decided that I wanted to reduce all barriers to people making comments.