Monday, February 13, 2012


Some of you may remember last September when I sent an article out for submission. Well, it was rejected. I got the notice today. It was the first article I've ever sent out, so I didn't really expect it to be accepted.

But then, about a month ago, I received this message from the managing editor:

Dear GEW,

We have now received one positive report on your submission, and the second reader has been reminded that we were expecting a report on 5th January; the mid-winter holiday break always causes delays. The editor will go over the reports as soon as possible after the second report arrives, and we plan to send you a decision letter by the end of the first week of February at the very latest. Apologies again for this delay, and we truly appreciate your patience.

The whole idea of "positive report" sounded very, well, positive, and I started to get my hopes up just a little bit. I hadn't heard back by last Friday, so this morning, I contacted the editor, and they posted the results: rejected. Apparently, the second reader did not think the article was very good at all.

The upside is that I now have quite a bit of useful (if not somewhat depressing) feedback. For now, I'm trying to focus on the mostly good report and allow myself to be bolstered by it, but it's very easy to ruminate on the bad report and tell myself that "zie's right, zie's right, I know zie's right." The negative review made quite a few remarks about recent scholarship that I've overlooked, omitted, etc. I am a part-time student at a UK university, but I live and work in California. I'm several hours from any really good libraries, and I rarely get to talk to anyone about my specialty. I feel quite isolated in my work, and I think that isolation was evident in my article.

So. Now. I must go on. But it's hard. This has been a tough week. As I reported over at Dame Eleanor's Writing Group, it's been a hard week at work. My college is in the midst of a serious crisis, one that requires I be roped into all kinds of panic-mode work groups and task forces. I was at a steering committee meeting today, and the voice inside my head was saying, "I can't do all of this, people! I don't care if the college is falling apart! I want my life to be about me! I want to focus on me! I feel guilty about neglecting my family! I'm tired of giving so much to the college! My scholarship sucks, and I have no idea how I will ever finish my dissertation!"

And, really, I don't know how I will finish. I know that I must. And I suppose that, eventually, I will. But the reviewer comments confirmed some fears that I have about my work. Plus, already, I feel as if there is no way for me to read all that I need to read, and now I feel that way even more. And then there is the writing . . .

Add to all of this the fact that I'm up until nearly midnight several nights a week doing my prepping and grading (because the days are filled with classes and committee work). And I work quite a few hours every weekend--and not on the dissertation.

I just don't know how I will do it. Last week, I blew off my "mindful inflexibility" hour on Tuesday so that I could get some prep work finished instead. Maybe that neglect (combined with my article rejection) is why I feel like such shite.

Sorry to unload like this. I know that many of you have been in the same boat that I'm in. But right now that boat is making me sea sick. Why, oh why, did I decide to take this voyage? Right now, it's hard to remember.


loveskidlit said...

GEW, I'd take that as a positive all round because it means you're really close! The scholarship needs a quick update so the bibliography etc reflects some up to the minute stuff, but report A means the scholarship itself is sound. Interlibrary loan what you can, and get it out again quick!

Ink said...

(((((((GEW)))))))) Sounds like too much is going on over there! Take a deep breath (and a bottle of wine) and carve out a little you time ASAP.

Re: the article, do NOT let the response make you second-guess yourself and what you're doing. It doesn't mean anything about you as a writer/scholar in the big scheme of things! It's the nature of the game with submissions--rejection sucks but what LKL said is's actually good when a reader says "what about XYZ" because then you can add it to your article and *flash that cred* in the next round of submission!

We all believe in you. And you WILL finish. And wondering if you will finish is part of the process, too, so don't beat yourself up about that, either.

Ok? Ok. Now give yourself a big hug and go drink some wine.

Art Center said...

Here are some hugs and Mondays. Love you.

The Thirty-Something Bride said...

Hm. I'm not sure I understand all the scholarship/article gobbledeegook, but I can understand rejection. Over the past 16 months? CONSTANT. It's deflating. And depressing. And offers zero validation to one as a person of thought, interest or experience.

But it's all crap, really. I think if you can take what has been said here about incorporating and making your dissertation better - that IS good feedback, rejection or not, right?
It's hard not to let it get you down and frustrated, but you are the smartest woman I know. You always accomplish what you set your mind to and I believe this dissertation is no different. Perhaps a few bumps along the PhD road, but nothing meaningful or worthwhile comes without its headaches.
I have confidence that you pull through this.
Wish I could give you a hug and throw back some port with you. ♥

Jan said...

I also recently sent out a proposal, for a conference paper.The first one - ever! Immediate feedback was that it was great, a strong contender, it really depended on who else submitted & if my paper would fit in with others. I found out last week I had been turned down due to the volume of submissions. I, despite being told not to, have taken it personally and have lost confidence. So at the moment, I know what you mean. I am also still waiting to hear if I have been given a place to do my Phd. I have had strong encouragement for two potential supervisors, but this rejection has dented my confidence.

Anonymous said...

You are a wonderful mother, wonderful wife, wonderful daughter-in-law sure sounds "good enough" to me. Besides the second reviewer couldn't even get her comments in on time, take what you can from her response, get a great big family hug (I'll be there in spirit) and move on. You are loved.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

:( I'm sorry that so much is going on. I hope that spring break will give you some time to catch up - and if not, summer. It's so hard to juggle all of this with kids and dissertation, etc. I feel your pain, lady. :(

C. Troubadour said...

"I can't do all of this, people! I don't care if the college is falling apart! I want my life to be about me! I want to focus on me! I feel guilty about neglecting my family! I'm tired of giving so much to the college! My scholarship sucks, and I have no idea how I will ever finish my dissertation!"

GEW, I hear ya. I have felt so much of what you said above, and I say sing it loud. It helps, a little, I hope.

Someone reminded me of the Good Enough Principle when I was in despair that I would ever finish my thesis. It made me think of you and how you are able to juggle so much in your life and actually do things like send out articles on top of teaching, kid-raising, and writing your dissertation. You are one tough, hard-working woman! And what you are doing -- sorting through what you want to make top priority and determining that it's you -- is a very sane response to overgrown demands on your time and resources. (Which I'm sure you know.) Just wanted to tell you I'm sending sympathetic thoughts your way and cheering you on from my corner.

Good Enough Woman said...

Thanks, everybody for the supportive comments! They will be helpful as I take the time to read carefully the review of my article. This week, I only had time to read the quickly. But when I go back to study them more closely, I will occasionally come back to this thread to read your support. BTW, the weekend in the mountains has been a GREAT break from the college crisis, and I hope to get a little dissertation work in on Monday.

Good Enough Woman said...

Oh, and I plan to come back with some more specific comments to each of you when I'm not on the iPad (since the iPad keyboard totally kicks my ass and drives me crazy). Totes.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell said...

GEW *hugs* I'm with C. Troubadour--I had complete shivers of recognition. In fact, my day job was so "crisis management" mentality, I ended up looking for and finding (thank goodness) another job. The new place is far more supportive of my finishing the dissertation.

I know that isolation intimately--it's a large part of the reason I joined Dame Eleanor's writing group. I think there is fertile ground there for a lot of support among the members--borne out by several of the members commenting on each other's posts, and Ink being here (Hi, Ink!)--and would gladly make the effort to support others in the selfish goal of getting support myself.

Deep breath. As for the article, look at the half-full glass, like Ink says.

Finally, know that you are not alone.