Friday, August 31, 2007

Academic Perspiration

Sten Jönssen's contribution to the European Business Review's special issue on academic journals and academic publishing is a good elaboration on the familiar maxim that genius is a matter perspiration not inspiration. Indeed, most of his advice "on academic writing" is of either a moral or practical kind. While he talks of "tricks of the trade" he is really saying there isn't a trick to it. It's just a matter of working at it, moving forward a bit at a time. Writing academically is not so much about ideas as about sweat and a healthy attitude to the sometimes tedious writing and publication process.

Putting it that way may seem to take the joy out of it. It is therefore important to keep in mind that good work habits and linguistic mastery, once established, fall into the background, allowing you to use your skills and endurance to produce the most interesting effects possible. Once you are in shape, you may well be able to make interesting interventions in the academic discourse without breaking a sweat. That's when your ideas will once again be decisive.

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