Paul de Silva (2014) talks about writing with impact as writing which makes a difference in the scholarly conversation. He distinguishes between writing for ‘mere publication’ and ‘writing for impact’. Writing with impact is about influencing peers in order to change minds about something the field cares about. His definition is: ‘Writing for impact is trying to change the conversation: pointing out something new and interesting, changing how people think about a familiar problem. Refining the field’s vocabulary, adding new concepts and tools’ (de Silva, 2014: 10).
de Silva, P. (2014) Write it up: Practical strategies for writing and publishing journal articles. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Writing which challenges me, provokes me, and encourages me to think in new ways about research, theory or practice;
- Writing which makes me stop for longer than a moment to consider a problem from a different perspective;
- Writing which combines theories I wouldn’t have thought of bringing together and makes them work in ways which shed light on an issue;
- Writing which deconstructs the conventional formats of writing-as-usual in exciting methodological ways;
- Writing which persuades me that something is worth considering that I hadn’t paid any attention to so far.
For me, writing with impact is something that is read, used and considered to be useful by others.
Writing with impact shifts the reader, calls forth a response, makes demands, troubles, delights, surprises. It may take time. Impact may not be immediate, may not be accessible, may not be what the reader desires. Writing with impact concerns the writer too: writing with impact means being present as a writer, committing to the process, staying in touch, holding on. It means allowing the writing to affect us, allowing it to lead, to take us somewhere we hadn’t intended. It means respecting writing.