Writing journal articles is essential for academics and professionals to develop their ideas, make an impact in their fields and progress in their careers. Research assessment makes successful performance in this form of writing even more important. This article describes a course on writing journal articles and draws on interviews with participants one year after the course in which they identified persistent challenges. These writers' accounts make visible some of the processes of writing for publication that are often tacit and identify key writing strategies. However, they also identify barriers to writing in academic workplaces and those professional workplaces where academic writing is produced. This article concludes by suggesting that while research assessment values written outputs over almost everything else, it is equally important to legitimise writing processes-and to be able to articulate the development of these processes-in communities of research practice.