The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: August 14, 2015

This week is another one jam-packed with Neil Gaiman writing quote.excellent articles. From academics lonely at work, to being a good reviewer, to e-reader screen size, you are sure to find at least one article that is useful to you or sparks your interest. Did you read an outstanding article on textbooks, textbook writing, or academic writing? If so, I encourage you to share the knowledge by sharing it in the comments below!

And, as always, happy writing!

Tips from a journal editor: being a good reviewer
R. Michael Alvarez, professor of political science at Caltech and co-editor of Political Analysis, gives an in-depth overview of what makes a good reviewer. As Alvarez states, “Being a good reviewer is not easy, but it is an important part of being a member of the scientific community.”

Should Amazon Release a Large Screen e-Reader?
I’m including this piece for those of you that have digital textbooks, or are considering a digital textbook format. I think we often think about all the other aspects digital can offer, but we fail (at times) to consider the size of the screen on which the e-textbook would be read. What do you think? Should Amazon release a larger screen? Would it be beneficial for the ease and flow of reading your e-textbook?

Protect Your Writing Mind
This is an excellent and witty piece on the difference between protecting your writing time and protecting your writing mind. In other words, quieting the critics in your head, overcoming fear while writing, and avoiding temptations that pull you away from writing.

Six ways scientists can become storytellers (and why they should)
Kudos to Karina Pombo-García, for this very inspiring piece on why scientists (and I would add academics in any field) should share their knowledge beyond paid-for publications. This isn’t a piece on open-access publishing; it’s a piece on communication and avenues in which to do so.

Calmly, Joyously, Recklessly: Writing Summer
Reading other peoples challenges and how they overcome them, at least for me, helps me to overcome my own challenges and reassure me that I am not alone in the struggle. This is an excellent example of a writer, Ayla Lepine, sharing her experiences and challenges. She also shares tips you may find useful to employ in your own writing regime.

How Many Scientists Does It Take to Write a Paper? Apparently, Thousands
According to the Thomson Reuters Web of Science there has been, since 2009, a notable spike in the number of technical reports whose author counts exceeded 1,000 people. Have you ever contributed to a journal article that had 1,000 other co-authors?!

Are most academics lonely at work?
This piece explores the loneliness and lack of community many academics feel and shares ways to overcome this. I’d like to add that becoming a member of TAA is another way to battle this “I’m in this alone” feeling and to become a part of a community all striving to reach similar goals.

Article Throwback

How much writing can you do in term time? | February 19, 2015
If you are unsure how you will accomplish any writing this semester, I suggest you read this superb piece by Jo VanEvery.

On Writer’s Block | March 31, 2014
James Hayton shares eight causes of writer’s block and “partial solutions” for how to overcome it.