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Schedule if Writing to Submit for Publication

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Students want to publish their work for many different reasons; but given the large investment in time and effort, it’s important to make sure that submitting to a highly-competitive platform is the right decision for you. Use this guide to help you decide if publishing your work is the right move.

Initial Evaluation

Deciding whether to submit your work for publication is a big decision, and not an easy one to make. If you haven’t yet explored all the options for sharing your work (including more general, and far-reaching outlets, or using different formats, such as podcasts or videos), you should take a quick look through our “Choosing Your Audience” guide.  You should also speak with your mentor or your mentorship coach to make sure that you’ve considered the correct publication platform for your intended audience.

If, after reviewing some other options, you still think you want to share your work via a highly-competitive outlet, we’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you through the decision process.

Collect the information you need to weigh in your decision

To organize your thoughts, begin by collecting the information listed below. You may need several weeks to gather everything, so begin this step as early as possible. In some cases, you may need to ask your parents, teacher, advisors, mentor, or mentorship coach for information, so make sure you consider others’ schedules and time constraints so you’re not scrambling for information or rushing into a decision.

  1. Ideal publication date (do you want your piece published in time to be considered for a competition or college application?)
  2. Amount of time it will take for you to complete the piece for submission; use our “Backwards Planning” guide if you don’t already have this information. Once you have this estimate, be sure to sanity-check with your Program Coach, mentor, or advisor.
  3. List of all social, family, romantic, religious, academic, employment-related and political commitments you have going on during the time span you will be working on the submission.
  4. List of 3 (or more) reasons you want to try to publish in a highly-competitive outlet.
  5. List of 3 (or more) reasons why alternative means of sharing your work aren’t as good of a fit for you.

Reality-Check: The Space-Time Continuum

Considering the first three answers from the above list (ideal publication date, backwards planning schedule, and list of various outside commitments), is it physically possible for you to complete the entire writing, editing, and submission process in the time allotted? Most students (from high school to grad school) underestimate the time it takes to prepare and submit a manuscript. If your backwards-planned writing schedule came out to under 12 weeks, you should revisit your estimates with the help of your parents, mentor, Program Coach, and/or advisor.

If you are at or near the time-budget you’ve calculated to complete and submit your manuscript, consider what emergencies and unexpected events might cause you to miss deadlines. Are natural disasters (and power outages) frequent during this time of year? Do you or close relations tend to get sick or have bad allergies during the season(s) you’ll be working on your manuscript? You can never plan for all of the unexpected, but thinking through some of these answers should help you gain confidence in your time estimates.

Gut-Check: Is This Right For Me?

If you have determined that you have enough time to undertake manuscript writing and submission, you should now consider the last two lists you prepared (items 4 and 5 above) to determine if you will have the mental and emotional stamina required.

Preparing a manuscript for submission is a marathon, not a sprint. Your mind and spirit should be prepared for the task–is this really what you want to do? Look at the reasons you’ve listed–are they focused on what others’ think or want? Or are they internal motivations? In some cases, these might overlap: publishing so you are more competitive for your dream internship would be one of these examples. There is nothing wrong with being externally motivated to achieve something difficult, but in the end, you’re going to be the one giving up your free time to complete the work. When you’re feeling tired, stressed, or otherwise challenged, it is easier to draw on your resilience if you can list all the good reasons you’re tackling such a feat!


If you’ve come to the decision that now is not the right time for you to undertake all that is involved with submitting work to a highly-competitive outlet, be sure to share your decision with your mentor and Program Coach as soon as possible. They will be able to help you brainstorm other options to share your work. Give yourself a pat on the back for realistically evaluating your physical, mental, and emotional resources to make the right decision–you’ve just practiced a vital life-skill that you will need throughout the rest of your professional and personal life!

If you’ve decided that you’ve got the time and resources to compose, edit, and submit a manuscript, share your decision and the supporting evidence (items 1 - 5 above) with your mentor, advisor, parents, and/or mentorship coach. Your team should support you as you undertake a project of this size; let your circle serve as the cheerleaders, sounding boards, therapists, and strategists you need! Write down the reasons (item 4 above) you’re doing this and put them on your mirror or next to your computer screen–use them to keep you going when you feel drained or need extra motivation!

Your Hugo Team wishes you the best of luck–don’t forget that we’re always here for you if you need writing support, help with time management, or could just use some words of encouragement!

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