Thursday, January 26, 2012

The five-year paper

I am getting published. In a bona-fide journal.

You are allowed to think for a moment that this is glamorous.


Now you will remember the title of this post. And you think, surely no one takes 5 years to publish a paper (dissertations don't count).

I did.

Five and a half years ago I went to Argentina with BYU's nursing program.

While I was there I interviewed women at the maternity hospital about their eating habits during pregnancy and their views on nutrition. Easy enough. I figured I'd have my research published within a year.

Then I hit a few snags.

Problem #1: Camber's husband

I got engaged within a few months of returning to America. Then I got married.

No further explanation required.

Problem #2: Camber's Spanish skills

My Spanish comprehension, while perfect when listening to other gringos speak Spanish, is paltry when speaking to native Argentine women from the countryside with several missing teeth. (Yes, they lose their teeth young down there). When I sat down to translate the tapes later on, I realized I had no idea what the heck any of them were saying.

Just a glitch.

So I hired a native speaker to translate them for me, and let me tell you, that was the best-spent $80 of my life.

With my tapes effectively translated, I figured it was smooth sailing from then on.

Except for Problem #3: Camber's attention span

I'm pretty sure I wrote this paper in 5-10 minute spurts. I usually sat down dutifully at the computer and then remembered a pressing duty somewhere else. Like the dishes. And the books on the shelves that really needed to be alphabetized. And why not get around to organizing the cosmetics while I was at it?

No deadlines. No pressure. No bueno.

And then, Problem #4: Camber's publisher

Turns out, publishing takes forever. This is how it goes:

Step 1) Turn in your paper. Wait 4-6 months. Forget you ever wrote it. Hear back, "We'll publish this...maybe."

Step 2) Make the proposed changes. Wait 4-6 months. Forget you ever wrote it. Hear back, "We'll publish this...maybe." Make another set of changes for problems they apparently didn't notice the first time.

Repeat two more times. 

And at last, this link to the journal article.

Glamorous? Not exactly. But we all benefitted from fewer dishes.

Through all this, my greatest asset was Erin Maughan, my mentor. Without her this never would have happened. No, really, without her, this never would have happened. After a few months of stalling I'd get a gentle email, "Camber, I really think this paper is worth publishing. What can I do to help you?"

Thanks Erin.

And just for fun, 2 more pictures from Argentina. Because it was really, really fun there.

Doing what nurses do. Poking small children. 

Hang-gliding. What was I thinking?


  1. I love this!! A huge CONGRATS on being published- that is a BIG deal. I know because I went through the same thing and I am pretty sure it would have taken my 5 years except I had my professor bugging me about it daily-- You def. documented this true to form. Publishers are the worst. Why can't they tell you everything they want changed in 1 draft? haha

  2. HOLY COW! That is so awesome!! I am so proud. Publishing is tough and I cannot tell you how truly impressed I am!! Congrats!

  3. Way to go Camber! And you've never told us the hang-gliding story before...

  4. Yet another reason why my Cammy Poo is so dang amazing!!!

  5. Camber, I am so proud of you! That's awesome!

  6. Congratulations!! You're amazing, I love it!

  7. Camber. I'm speechless. You're amazing.

  8. Awesome job! I hate writing papers, so I understand the slow progress...and don't you love Erin?...and it's a good thing the husband came after the trip because that's why I didn't go...lame.
    Again, Awesome! I think it's pretty cool.

  9. Is there anything you don't do? Publish a paper, hang-glide, etc...

    1. Yes, there is. Buy necklaces :)

      Among a host of other things.

  10. I also have a 5 year paper. I am debating on whether I should give up or somehow get it done, which requires help from my mentor which is tricky to get. Sigh. I'm impressed. Maybe you could join my paper as a collaborator and finish it for me now that you have this awesome publishing experience. I could use your expertise!
    PS fun trip!

  11. Yay for being published! It's an exciting feeling!!!!

    I still wish I could have done the hang-gliding that week. . .someday!

  12. Camber...I found your blog through Wendy too. Your paper sounds awesome! Congrats on getting it published!