Become a more productive writer: 5 Tips from authors

Productivity is key for any writer looking to stay on Beomce a more productive writertrack and complete their writing project on time. These authors share five tips to help you become a more productive writer:

1. Jump-start the process instead of staring at a blank screen or page.

“Like stretching before exercise, I start my writing day with a heavy edit and rewrite of my previous day’s work. That seamlessly catapults me into today’s writing.” – Jerry Jenkins

See all of Jerry Jenkins’ tips here. [Read more…]

How to write clear, concise (and more enjoyable to read) scientific academic articles

Scientific writingAcademics are often trained to write in a way that actually runs directly contrary to the principles of effective scientific writing, said Kristin Sainani, an associate professor at Stanford University, who has taught a popular open online course on writing in the sciences.

“What we need to do in science and academia is to convey our ideas in a clear, concise, and even enjoyable way,” she said, during her TAA webinar, “Principles of Effective Scientific Writing”. “Even if we are talking about complex ideas, we don’t need to use complex language. I think a lot of times when academics sit down to write we don’t really have in the back of our minds, ‘oh, I want to make it enjoyable for the reader’. But we should think about that because we do want people to read what we write, and if it’s very hard to get through and not enjoyable, people aren’t going to read it.” [Read more…]

5 Strategies to move your writing forward after rejection

Rejection can be devastating and even crippling leaf on a beachfor a writer after pouring hours, months, or even years into a manuscript. Having strategies in place to help you cope with the sting of rejection will help move your writing forward. Here are five such strategies to use:

  1. Allow yourself to be upset. No matter how far you are in your career, rejection will always hurt. The key here is to only allow yourself a short, defined amount of time to be upset. Take the afternoon off. Go for a walk. Sit at your favorite coffee shop and read. Talk to a colleague. Whatever it is you have to do to feel and let go.
  2. Focus on another writing project and start working on it immediately. Focusing on a new project, or another project that was in the works before the rejection, will help you stay in the writing habit and focus your attention away from the rejection and on to this other piece.
  3. Recap all that you have accomplished to this point. Reminding yourself of all your past successes will help keep you positive and ease the emotions of rejection. Make a list or a file full of accepted papers to turn to anytime you need motivation or receive a rejection letter. If you are yet to be published, look at all of the comments from professors or colleagues that have been positive.
  4. When you are ready, create an action plan for revisions. When you can approach the reviews less emotionally, read through them and determine how you can use them to make your work better for resubmission.
  5. Join a writing community for support from follow authors that know what rejection feels like. Belonging to a writing community can help ease the sting of rejection, offer encouragement, and ways to address the reviewer comments for revising.

[Read more…]

3 Steps to consider when crafting an article introduction

writingtreeThe introduction is perhaps the most important section of an article, but unfortunately it can be notoriously difficult to write. To help make the process less painful and more productive, Meagan Kittle Autry, the Director of Thesis and Dissertation Support Services at NC State University, shared advice for writing exceptional introductions in a recent TAA podcast entitled How to Write an Introduction That Will Get Your Article Accepted. [Read more…]

5 Tips for Kickstarter success for writers

Earth Joy WritingI recently completed my third successful Kickstarter campaign to help promote my new book, Earth Joy Writing: Creating Harmony through Journaling and Nature, which will be released on Earth Day, April 22nd.

In all three cases, my books were published by small, independent presses that didn’t have funds for promotional campaigns, publicity, or book tours. So I used the Kickstarter funds to promote my books in these ways.

Often people shy away from Kickstarter and prefer to use other crowdfunding programs because of the requirement that the funding goal be met in order to get any funds at all. In my experience (and we know this as writers), having the goal of completion can spur us to take bolder action. A half-written book isn’t really a book, is it? [Read more…]

6 Tips for finding writing time

Every day can feel like a whirlwind with little time toold fashion clock_square fit anything in, especially your writing. So how can you find time to write? One way is to be creative and open to change. If your life is busy than you have to get creative with how you can fit writing into your day. Being open to change means you know that something in your daily routine is holding you back from achieving your writing goals and you’re willing to try something different. Although ultimately the key to finding time is different for all of us, the end goal is the same: writing more.

So to help you, here are six tips on how to find time to write: [Read more…]

Creating balance through writing and nature

Creating Balance Through Writing and NatureAs a writing coach who works with academics, one of the stumbling blocks my clients come up against at a certain point in their career is what I call “path block.” This usually happens, ironically, after a big success: finishing the dissertation, getting a new job, or having a book published.

I understand this block and I have experienced it myself. Nature even gave me a literal experience of this block one day many years ago when I was walking in the woods behind my house and the briars and brambles around me stopped me in my tracks. I thought to myself, “It would be so much easier if I had a path.” I looked down and there on the ground was a hawk feather. I picked it up and realized I must make my own path. [Read more…]

How to publish an article in an academic journal: Avoid rookie mistakes

publishingI have reviewed an insane amount of articles this past year and have noticed that many of these articles should never have been sent out for review, because they were missing key components.

The authors of these articles thus waited three months for someone to tell them that they do not have a clear argument, that there is no literature review, or that they need to describe their ethnographic methods. Sometimes they waited this long or longer only to hear other fairly generic advice.
I frequently am in the process of submitting an article to a journal. As such, I was inspired to write this article both to make sure that I practice what I preach, and to offer some examples from my own writing that might be useful as you prepare your own article. This article is primarily directed at authors of empirical social science articles, but I believe the main points may be applicable to other fields as well. [Read more…]

Tip of the Trade: Be strict about the type of editing that is suitable for each stage of the revision process

Tips of the Trade ImageAdvice about academic writing often stresses the iterative nature of the writing process; the creation of an effective final draft generally requires multiple drafts and extensive revision. A crucial corollary to a commitment to extensive revision is an acceptance that revision mustn’t be allowed to go on indefinitely. Otherwise, a certain mania can set in: any draft can always be other than it is. After a certain point, we have to ask ourselves about diminishing returns and about the very real possibility of messing up what is already working. [Read more…]

How to establish author order when collaborating with multiple authors

collaborateWhen multiple authors collaborate to write a journal article, the task of determining authorship order inevitably arises. In some situations, the order may be obvious, but in many cases, it can be difficult to decide, and having a plan in place to establish author order can help the process go more smoothly.

Collaborating authors are usually listed in order of the relative size of each author’s contribution to the article, but sometimes it can be a challenge to gauge the size or importance of each author’s contributions. One way of facing this challenge is to take a mathematical approach to determining each author’s contribution, and thus author order. For example, Christine Beveridge and Suzanne Morris, the authors of the July 25, 2007 Nature article entitled “Order of merit,” recommend using a multi-criterion decision making approach, which involves the following steps: [Read more…]