When yet another paper gets rejected…

When I finally published  3 research papers they asked:

“How did you go about it?”

 or

“Could you teach me how to write a paper?”

The only answer I have is:

START SOMEWHERE AND DONT GIVE UP!

I don’t have a Ph.D. or even a commendable MSc.

But I had research projects that I had helped complete. There was the data, and no one had time to write it into a paper. I remembered the efforts of the students who had done the research and the value of the results itself and decided: The world needs to know about this. I asked for permission to write a paper and it was granted. No one probably trusted me to do it. But I loved writing and wanted to try scientific writing.

Not knowing exactly where to start, and not having anyone to guide me, I joined a course on Coursera on “How to write and publish a scientific paper”. Then I picked up a second hand APA Publication Manual- and read it twice through.

Then I started to write paper 1. Once it was done, I was pleased with myself and sent it to my guide (A). I never got a reply. I sent it again, estimating the time that was polite to resend the mail. I still didn’t get a reply. I sent it to an Indian journal, which rejected it straight.

Then I gave up.

With a spark of enthusiasm, I started on paper 2. Once completed, I sent it to another set of guides (B and C). It sat in one of their inboxes for 8 months- despite monthly reminders. The other one never saw it. I took the courage to ask if I could send it to a journal anyway- they agreed.

The first time it got rejected after 4 months. The reviewers left a few friendly comments though, which were encouraging. After picking up my reigns and making corrections, I sent it again. This time it came back with questions and queries 10 pages long; my answers to them were 15 pages long. I did it anyway. But it took a lot of courage.

And then it got rejected.

In the meanwhile, I was working on paper 3. I had little hopes that it would get published since it was guide A again. But I wrote it because I was learning so much through writing papers. Besides, I felt that I was getting better at this. It did not meet the scientific requirements of the first journal I sent it to and was rejected.

While browsing the internet, I came across a journal which looked compatible with paper 2. There was nothing to lose and I decided to give it one last shot. It came back (after a few months) with a new set of queries and corrections. I had done it before and been disappointed, I really did not want the process repeated. But I did, I’m not sure what made me- maybe it was all the effort and time spent on the paper already. I pushed myself, gathered all my self-will and replied.

It got accepted, with minor revisions and then published- 2 years after I had written it.

That gave me enough momentum to send paper 3 to a pretty good journal. I didn’t wait for the guide or the student who said she couldn’t find time for 3 months to sign and scan the author agreement. They send it after 3 months with pages and pages of corrections. Once I made the corrections I sent it back. This went back and forth 4 times before it was accepted.

By now 3 years had passed since I started writing my first paper.

The fourth paper I wrote got accepted immediately with minor revisions, to one of the best journals in my field.

What did I learn from my experience?

  1. I learned to trust my skills and abilities. I always felt before that my work wasn’t good enough and depended on others for validation. I wasted a lot of time in that, and realize now that I did not need it.
  2. I learned that no one has to teach you– you just need the motivation to learn. There are so many resources available which are free and so helpful.
  3. I learned to be patient. I learned not to check the journal updates every day. I learned to get on with life while waiting.
  4. I learned that hard work pays off– This is to all my colleagues who frowned when I didn’t join in the midday gossip sessions and typed away.
  5. I learned not to back down and give up. Your efforts are worth the results, it is just a matter of time.
  6. If you feel discouraged- Treat yourself with chocolate ( or pizza or whatever you like), pick yourself back up and give it just one last try.
  7. It’s never too late to learn. I thought I was well past my time of learning, but that is never true.
  8. Learning never ends. I thought once I had written 3 papers, I would be the master of writing. Nothing could be further from the truth! I am still learning with every sentence I write. I am currently doing this amazing course called “Writing in the Sciences.” I have so much left to learn!

And guess what- currently I’m writing paper 5 and 6, and I’m not going to stop!

 

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Can angels harm us?

The Guardian- Jane Hamilton

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Tabris, a guardian angel has committed an unforgivable crime. A crime that deserved banishment from God’s presence forever. But God has chosen to give him one more chance to make things right.

The other angels are angry and amazed. Angry that he would do something so unforgivable to the child he was responsible for; amazed at God’s grace. They do not want to accept Tabris back in their midst and they do not trust him. In the meanwhile Tabris is plaqued by guilt and is tempted by Satan to forsake God. Will he be able to resist the temptation in the absence of friends?

He makes a friend however, someone who bears pain for his sake. Who doesn’t back down even when Tabris rejects him. With his friendship and God’s love, Tabris is able to forgive himself and accept God’s forgiveness.

The book makes angels come alive. My children loved having the book read to them. It provides reassurance of the protection God offers them. The theme of friendship and selflessness is emphasized. It can be recommended for young teens, but also for old people like me, who just want an easy nice read.

I also found a nice website on the emotions of angels which can be accessed here.

You can get the book from amazon here.

 

 

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What it is like to be on SSRIs.

To have a curable illness and to leave it untreated except for prayer is like sticking your hand in a fire and asking God to remove the flame. – Sandra L. Douglas

 

My intention in this article is not to advise, but to share my experience of taking antidepressants.

Over the past 3 years, I had depressive phases which lasted for months, before I had short periods of clarity and some joy in living. Then the cycle repeated itself.

I debated long before agreeing to medications for depression.

When you have a treatable clinical condition, why would you not avail of it?

For me, it was a moral dilemma. A lot of Christian views are against taking antidepressants.

My husband and the psychiatrist tried had to persuade me to get some relief, and thought I was unreasonable to refuse medication.

His argument was that “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Matthew 9:9-12

The truth was that I was afraid. I felt like I held my ‘condition’ so tightly in control, that if I took medication, I would lose control. I even thought that maybe I would not be able to have a close relationship with God.

I also saw other people who suffered from depression and were on medication, who just did not have it all put together. Besides, all I had to do was google the side effects, to firmly resolve not to take medications.

So I suffered long, but also grew closer to God.

They say God shouts in your pain. Nothing could have been truer.

But I do not believe looking back, that he wanted me to suffer the way I did.

There was not just hopelessness all the time, there were times that I had fun in life, I was creative, painted, wrote articles- I was not dysfunctional. This lasted for short periods, before cloudiness and haziness set in.

Some say that this is what life is about, not about being happy, but about suffering. Didn’t all the saints suffer? Happiness, they said, is an illusion. Or they said that the only happiness you find is in God, not in your circumstances. That we have to bear our crosses, no matter how hard, because that is what God expects from us.

All of them meant well. Maybe they had bad experiences with medications or had seen other people suffer from the side effects of it. There are also probably people who misuse the medication or take it without a proper diagnosis of depression. I don’t know.

This year I thought had been better than others, when I had yet another episode of fear- depression- anxiety.

Taking medication was an impulsive decision, like plastering a wound at a time of intense pain.

I was surprised at its effect on me. I had not expected it to start working so soon. 3 days after starting medication I woke up clear headed. The dark clouds were gone and my thinking was clear. The first few days felt funny. The extreme emotions that resulted from stressful situations just did not arise. As a result my anxiety decreased, and I could face situations better.

I did have side effects. I have never yawned as much as I have in the past 3 weeks. But the drowsiness is getting better. I was a bit constipated, which also resolved with more fruits and veggies. I have dry mouth, as a result of which I am drinking more water- which isn’t a bad thing.

I’m sleeping so much better. I am able to plan my day better. My thinking is much clearer. I am a better mother and a better wife. I once again have goals in life and ambitions. It’s not about the daily struggle anymore, though they still exist at times, I get less overwhelmed.

At times I wonder- This is what normal people feel like all the time?

Jea Drevecky in a daily devotional called “Hope for today” writes:

“But the human brain is a physical organ. Why can’t we accept that the brain can get sick, just like the heart or the liver can?

So don’t just sit there and let someone tell you to pull yourself together; you may be physically incapable of pulling yourself together. Even if you’re afraid of what you might find out, face that fear and get professional help to find out what is causing your problems and what can be done to help you.”

“For the sadness that is used by God brings a change of heart that leads to salvation- and there is no regret in that! But sadness that is merely human causes death.”

2 Corinthians 7:10

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Spoilt rich kids and their opinions

I wish you would

Look.  Beyond.  Yourself.

And see the world for what it is.

For it does not exist-

To serve YOU.

I’ve heard enough of your petty sufferings,

And imagined illnesses.

May be you can’t help your tinted glasses?

But do you really think you are less lucky than:

Your maid who cleans up the mess,

Your driver at your beg and call,

Your hairdresser who can never get it right,

Your tailor who doesn’t keep the dates,

Your cook who makes too oily food.

Have some compassion, before you criticize:

The poor mother who can’t afford healthy food.

The co worker who is badly dressed.

The fat woman who won’t sign up for a gym.

The woman who doesn’t have it all put together.

It takes more than discipline and willingness.

Put yourself in their shoes.

Take off those glasses, if only for a while.

The world is so tall, so large, so wide….

You miss so much

With your selective eyesight,

With your hearing of only pleasantness,

With your touch of only that’s clean,

With your taste of exquisite food.

You didn’t deserve to be where you are.

Neither did anyone else.

 

 

 

 

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Love and other emotions

“I hate you, I love you,

I wish I was indifferent.

I wish feelings had numbers,

And emotions were transparent.

I wish when we said we loved,

It was forever and simple,

I wish when we hated,

We did cos of what the other did,

Not cos of how it made us feel.”

He set out with a change of heart
He promised himself he would only LOVE.
He would not allow emotions to control him.
He prepared for this for many years…  while meditating alone on the mountain tops.

He suceeded for a while.
He saw an expensive car, he didn’t desire it.
He was hungry but ate only what he was given.
He went without water.
He denied himself luxuries that he was entitled to from his former position in the family.
He wrote off his share of the property.
He was good to all.
He helped the poor, and all who needed any kind of help came to him.
He gave his love to everyone.
Including the slender girl.

Who wore orange coloured flowers in her hair.

And fetched water from a stream near the place he stayed.
After a few shy glances, suppressed smiles, he felt an attraction so strong he increased his hours of meditation.

And even then her glances penetrated his serenity.
We are called to love he reasoned, so he did.
All love is from God.
A few days later, she didn’t come for water.
He was sad.
When she didn’t come the next day also, he grew afraid
So he decided to visit her house- he was worried!
Her father was not humoured.

“It isn’t right for you to see my daughter, you who have no property on your name- how would you take care of her? Please leave!”
Her brother then came out and slapped him, chasing him away.
Now he was angry.
The next day when he saw another young man from the village talking to the girl with the orange flowers-  he was jealous.

The next time they met she raised her eyebrows in contempt.

He realised that the overwhelming feeling rising inside himself was a perfect hatred.

Love-Hate word

Love and hatred are opposite sides of the same coin!

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Where does your confidence come from?

From the neat lines and shades,

applied on your face,

the expensive dress.

From the carvings created by muscles,

 you painfully work,

your expensive suit.

From the famous people

you associate with,

your high profile job.

The search results of your name,

publications,

the number of likes.

From the respect people show,

as you enter,

 your proximity to the stage.

From your family legacy,

your success,

that of your children.

It is from knowing inside,

who you are,

where you come from.

In knowing your weaknesses,

valuing your strengths,

having a goal.

Knowing when you fall,

you can get back up,

that people will stand by you.

My confidence oh God,

comes from You.

you guide my way.

 

 

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his

will, he heareth us.” 1 John 5: 14- 15

I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121: 1-2

 

 

Picture credit: https://in.pinterest.com/maaritjarho/jeanne-bessette

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Lady Godiva- Who was she?

Godiva: The Viking Sagas

David Rose

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In a small town of Coventry, a beautiful brave young girl grows up in an ideal world. She is loved and treasured. She grows up learning Christian songs and loves to be in the abbey with her friend sister Osburga. Sister Osburga though elderly is young in spirit and makes a great listener. She guides this free-spirited girl, Godiva, in doing what is right.

King Canute, the ruthless Viking, is determined to conquer England. He uses brute force and kills all who come in his path without mercy. His quest is for power:  any sign of weakness in himself or anybody else is despised. No one knows this better than his wife, who was forced into the marriage for political reasons.

One fateful day, King Canute invades England, he has allies among the English Noblemen, who join him in treason. The little town Coventry is completely destroyed, the abbey is burnt, people ruthlessly butchered. In a single day, Godiva loses her parents and all her belongings. Godiva’s life is spared when sister Osburga distracts the soldiers and is captured instead. She dies a painful death, being burnt on the stake, for defying the king’s authority and refusing to bow before him. King Canute is haunted by her peaceful countenance and the song that she sings while being burnt for many years to come.

The Earl’s son, Leofric is disillusioned and confused. His brother has joined the enemy forces as a traitor to his country, his father is advising him to keep the appearance of loyalty to the enemy king for his and the country’s safety. He is against the violence used by King Canute to gain power. He accidentally meets Godiva who is hiding from the enemy and rescues her from the attack of a soldier. He then provides a home for Godiva and her brother, making lasting friendship.

Many years later, Godiva is a beautiful young woman. The country is in disarray, the farmers suppressed and anyone speaking against the king openly executed. Leofric and Godiva are married and Leofric assumes the position of an Earl. In the meanwhile, the king seems to have changed too. He envisions a great kingdom and he has realized that force does not produce loyalty. He now wants an ally with Leofric in the making of this great kingdom. Leofric is torn between the loyalty expected from the king and his wife’s beliefs. Godiva is still bitter about the loss of her parents and her friends at the hands of this king and wants justice for the farmers. When she realizes that her hatred for the king is affecting her, she tries to forgive him.

Leofric on the other hand has to deal with riots that have broken out because of the taxes that were imposed. Leofric is forced to use the military to suppress the riot, but his wife Godiva comes in between and pays the taxes of the entire town with her family jewelry. There is a rift between them which widens when the king announces that taxes cannot be paid by an individual on behalf of a person. The news of this event spreads and riots break out all over the country.

Now the king has an offer to make to suppress the riots- If Godiva will ride on a horse naked at the peak of a pagan festival, as was the custom during the festival, the taxes would be cancelled.

He knows that doing this is against Godiva’s belief and that if she were to do so, she would be excommunicated from the church. He is sure that she would not do it.

The farmers in the country prepare themselves for battle against the military forces. Leofric realizes that loyalty to his own people is what he had promised when he assumed the post, loyalty to the king was secondary. He joins the battle on the side of the farmers.

Godiva considers her options. She has to decide between saving her people or loyalty to the church. As she ponders over it, she realizes how Jesus was unclothed on the cross, and reasons that she could do it too.

She arrives at the battle field, just on time, and does what is required, while the crowds shame her for being a Christian woman who has accepted to follow the pagan tradition. At the end of her walk, she is received by her husband and brother and the king himself. King Canute has a change of heart. He asks for the forgiveness of the people and embraces Christianity.

The country is governed with faithfulness and dignity thereafter and all live happily ever after.

The story is written in a simple style, does not require knowledge of complex vocabulary or deep reflection. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading it as a simple read. What struck me most was Godiva’s effort to come in terms with religious beliefs versus her relationship with the one God. Reading the book also helped me understand a bit about history, the story is written true to dates. I would recommend the book to young girls who are trying to find their path in belief. Ideal as a present or a weekend read.

 

You can get the book on Amazon here.

 

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