For doctoral students, publishing in peer-reviewed journals is a task many face with anxiety and trepidation. The world of publishing, from choosing a journal, negotiating with editors and navigating reviewers’ responses is a bewildering place. Looking in from the outside, it seems that successful and productive academic writers have knowledge that is inaccessible to novice scholars. While there is a growing literature on writing for scholarly publication, many of these publications promote writing and publishing as a straightforward activity that anyone can achieve if they follow the rules. We argue that the specific and situated contexts in which academic writers negotiate publishing practices is more complicated and messy. In this paper, we attempt to make explicit our publishing processes to highlight the complex nature of publishing. We use autoethnographic narratives to provide discussion points and insights into the challenges of publishing peer reviewed articles. One narrative is by a doctoral student at the beginning of her publishing career, who expresses her desires, concerns and anxieties about writing for publication. The other narrative focuses on the publishing practices of a more experienced academic writer. Both are international scholars working in the Canadian context. The purpose of this paper is to explore academic publishing through the juxtaposition of these two narratives to make explicit some of the more implicit processes. Four themes emerge from these narratives. To publish successfully, academic writers need: (1) to be discourse analysts; (2) to have a critical competence; (3) to have writing fluency; and (4) to be emotionally intelligent.
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