Evolution of a project.
1. Pilot experiments
Interpretation: Oh my god, did it actually work?
Expectations: I hope it works
Interpretation: Was the result of the pilot just an artifact? Maybe I just fucked it up. I should try it again.
Expectations: This better fucking work, and it better be publication-quality
Interpretation: This would have fucking worked if someone else in the lab hadn't used up something I needed, and I didn't know until the last step on a Friday night and I can't order more until next week. FUCK. Well that's another week of my life I'll never get back.
4. Drafting the paper
Expectations: This is fucking cool! Everyone will love it!
Interpretation: Wait until they see my amazing contribution. It was totally worth all the hard work.
5. Waiting for advisor to read the draft
Expectations: Can't be much longer now. I'm next in line after only 2 other manuscripts.
Interpretation: Everyone has to wait, I should just be patient. I am so far ahead with this work, I don't even need to worry about getting scooped.
6. Waiting for advisor to read the draft part 2
Expectations: This is taking longer than I hoped.
Interpretation: I should revise a little more while I'm waiting. And add those other experiments I did while I was waiting. It's getting better so it's just as well that nobody read the first five drafts I gave them.
7. Writing with advisor.
Expectations: Give and take, right? A meeting of the minds?
Interpretation: Advisors always think they are great writers, but they rarely are. And yet, I will have to pick my battles. And this is taking longer than I hoped.
8. Submitting the paper.
Expectations: It might get rejected right away. Then we'll know in a week. It might get reviewed and then rejected. Then we'll know in a month. If it takes longer than that, it's buried on someone's desk and they forgot about it. We'll call if we don't hear anything in a month.
Interpretation: Who the fuck knows what will happen. This is the part where we pray, even if we don't believe in God.
9. Waiting to hear back.
Expectations: It will probably get rejected one way or another. Will probably have to do more experiments.
Interpretations: Quick! Do all those personal errands you put off while you were writing, before it gets rejected!
10. Getting the reviews.
Expectations: This is going to suck. Nobody likes being criticized.
Interpretation: Have low expectations, and you'll always be pleasantly surprised.
Expectations: I'm going to get this done quick, before I'm sick of this project.
Interpretation: This is par for the course, but the end is in sight.
Expectations: I will be sick of this project before we finish revising.
Interpretation: I need a vacation when this paper is accepted.
13. Repeat steps 5-12 at least once, maybe twice.
Expectations: None. I am already sick of this project. I might get scooped.
Interpretation: I'm not getting that vacation anytime soon. Everyone is wondering why it's not published yet. I must be a total loser. And I am so fucking mad at my advisor.
14. Accepted for publication.
Expectations: I was thoroughly sick of this project months ago. It's old news.
Interpretation: This is totally anticlimactic. I thought it would get into a better journal, or at least get into this journal a whole lot easier. Why did I think I'd be excited when it finally got published? Maybe I'll be excited when I see it in print.
15. Print copies arrive.
Expectations: This will mean nothing to me. I am dead inside.
Interpretation: Huh. My name looks pretty good there up at the top. And the figures look nice. I guess we did a pretty good job. I hope somebody reads it. Maybe I should go look myself up on Pubmed again.