Writing a journal article is a very cyclical process. After finishing the research and creating a rough draft, articles will often cycle multiple times between the writer and other coauthors or mentors. Then, after an article is submitted to a journal and sent out to reviewers, there are typically more revisions that must be made before being accepted and PUBLISHED!
Managing Expectations and Handling Rejection
Be sure not to judge your draft—or even the first iteration—of your article based on someone else’s final, published manuscript. It’s very likely that their first draft was messy, because writing is a messy process for everyone! Remember, “revise and resubmit” is the most common response from journals.
Rejection is a completely normal and expected part of the publishing process. Everyone gets an article rejected, from first-time publishers to well-seasoned scholars. The most common reasons for rejection are that a piece is too broad or narrow, poorly organized, underdeveloped, not proofread, strikes the wrong tone, or raises concerns about its methods or theoretical framework. These are almost all things that can be strengthened and/or reconsidered during revisions. Take time to rethink your article, to absorb the useful parts of the feedback you’ve received, and dig back in. It may also be useful to rethink the appropriate audience for your article, and therefore also the journal you’ll be submitting the piece to.
Here are some further resources to help you in starting and revising your article: