September 1, 2006

Emergency! Abstract needed!

The first author of a piece I'm third or fourth author of e-mailed me with an urgent request to shape the abstract before it's sent off, tonight, to an editor. This is a long MS (88 pages), and he hoped to have the abstract in an hour "or so." 

I leaned on the "or so" heavily.

It's an important piece to me, or I wouldn't have seen it as an urgent request, but occasionally you can drop everything else without going nuts. (And there are other considerations I won't describe.) I'm glad he didn't e-mail in the middle of my make-up chat to take care of students who were absent from Wednesday's chat thanks to Ernesto.

But it's an act of relative concentration to review a MS that you've seen most (but not all of) in a prior draft and try to squeeze the ideas into 250 words in a short time.  I failed: my abstract draft was 350 words. And I still cut out many of the rather cool small points (that other coauthors wrote).

I think I just experienced what writing on a deadline is like. I haven't done that since my stint as Junior Journalist in high school. I can do it, but it's not my joy.

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Posted in Reading on September 1, 2006 11:13 PM |