How to field those horrible questions about your academic project

Fielding questions about your academic projectWhether you’re writing your dissertation, or post-dissertation, sweating through the first article from it, or a book chapter, or an entire book, at least one person always turns up among your family or friends who shamelessly asks those questions that make you squirm. They’re right up there with the in-your-face “How come you’re still single?” or “When are you going to have kids?”

To help you field the equivalent questions about your academic project, maintain your self-respect, and even jab a little in return, here are several of the most common questions, and variations. I’ve collected these from my academic coaching clients who are agonizing through writing their dissertations, articles, and books. [Read more…]

Give your faculty authors a boost: Host a TAA sponsored writing workshop at your institution

During the 2017-18 academic year, TAA will help sponsor a limited number of faculty writing workshops at universities and colleges across the country. TAA’s sponsorship covers the majority of the cost of bringing a presenter to your institution. The host institution is responsible for a fee of $1,650, which includes up to 75 TAA faculty memberships, available to faculty whether or not they attend the workshop. TAA provides an online institutional membership application process that makes joining TAA easy for both the institution and faculty. [Read more…]

Busy TAA People: William H. Koenecke

Write Well Right NowWilliam KoeneckeTAA member William H. Koenecke recently published a new book, Write Well Right Now: A Guidebook on English Grammar, Punctuation, and Writing. “It’s a simple book for anyone who wishes to improve his/her grammar, punctuation, and written communication skills,” he said. “It’s not written for people who are proficient in these areas; however, I believe this book will and can be of benefit to all people of any age and occupation.”

Koenecke, a retired university professor from the Department of Adolescent, Career and Special Education at Murray State, understands the need for improving the writing skills of tomorrow’s teachers. He has over 40 years’ experience in the field of education.

Learn more about Write Well Right Now

Kick-off your summer writing with these posts from the blogosphere

summer writingWhen summer rolls around, it can seem almost impossible to get work done. With the beautiful weather, neighborhood barbeques, and days poolside, our desks begin to sound like one of the last places we would like to spend the day. But, believe it or not, summer can also bring new inspiration and a breath of fresh air for your writing. A new season brings new ideas and perspectives perfect for fighting off writer’s block and beating procrastination. Even as I am sitting out on my back porch writing this, I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle each project that comes my way. Here I’ve shared posts that can help you tackle some projects of your own and stay on track this summer season. [Read more…]

6 Tips for avoiding website agita

Website launchAs writers and academics, most of us recognize the necessity of having a website about our work and services. With WordPress and other DIY websites becoming ever easier, many writers are savvy enough to design and mount their own sites. But some of us aren’t, or can’t face trekking up that learning curve.

When I needed a website for publication of my book, Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams, at first I procrastinated mightily. I didn’t want a prepackaged site (à la WordPress), although they can be fine. I knew I needed a site for promotion and wanted one that reflected the themes and gorgeous cover of my book. I was willing to spend a few dollars. So, to allay if not cure my website agita, I hired a professional web designer.

Once I did, I learned some shocking lessons. Whether you intend to create your own site, redesign it, or hire a specialist, I share my baptism warnings and questions to help ease your plunge into the arctic waters of the website world. [Read more…]

Trade vs. textbooks: 6 Key takeaways from my experiences

Competency Based Education in Aviation

Suzanne Kearns’s trade book, “Competency-Based Education in Aviation”, published by Routledge

Suzanne KearnsI am the author or co-author of three books. A textbook with a vanity publisher, two trade books with an academic publisher, and an upcoming introductory textbook.

My first book was the result of a publisher’s agent knocking on my office door and asking if I would be interested in writing a textbook. All the publisher asked was that I would require the book within my courses and sign away the copyright. I was excited to get started, so I barely even read the publishing contract. I now know this experience epitomizes that of working with a vanity publisher – the goal is to generate some revenue rather than produce the ideal product.  The textbook ended up being an effective tool within my course, but it wasn’t adopted anywhere else. [Read more…]

For academics: What to do when your partner wails, ‘I never see you anymore!’

Work Life BalanceWhen you’re furrowed-brow deep in your academic project, and your partner suddenly blurts out “I never see you anymore!” it’s time to stop, look, and close your computer. After such outbursts, many of my academic clients with partners in my coaching and editing practice have found ways to manage the complaints and restore a harmonious home. Here are some of the major methods clients have used as they pursue the (successful) productions of articles, presentations, chapters for a volume, and dissertations. [Read more…]

Textbook development tip: Aim for good expository writing

Write wellThe best way to ensure clarity is to write well. When editors mark passages “Not Clear,” they are not being stupid but are basing their judgments both on the perceived needs of your target audience and on standards of good expository writing. All good writing for any audience at any educational level has the same basic qualities, including clarity, concision, unity, coherence, and emphasis. Wordiness is perhaps the greatest enemy of good writing. [Read more…]

Harness the power of habits for writing productivity

Have you ever heard a writer say – I’d really like to break my pesky writing habit? Likely not. Writers generally agree that writing habits work: Momentum drives progress. Each day becomes easier to overcome resistance and start producing. Additionally, with regular progress, planning becomes more predictable.

Surprisingly though, despite motivation, as writers, we often know markedly little about research in habit building. In lieu of research, unhelpful myths circulate, such as: If I could just write for 21 straight days, then my habit would be in place. Thankfully, there is worthwhile research on habit building, so let’s look at a few key principles and the framework underlying any habit.  [Read more…]

6 Techniques to jumpstart writing efficiency and productivity

Vintage typewriterIn our writing projects—dissertation, article, book, presentation—after the first brilliant idea or paragraphs of exhilarated creation, our enthusiasm may turn to mud. From my own experiences with tortured writing and those of my academic coaching and editing clients, I recommend the following six techniques, with credible rationales, to help you work more efficiently and write more productively.

1) Make Separate Files

As simplistic as it seems, start by making separate files for each part of the work—prefatory pages, introduction, chapters, sections, reference list, appendices. Refer to your university handbook, journal specs, or publisher’s requirements to construct your file in the correct format. If a template is provided, use it. Later, you’ll combine all files for the finished work. [Read more…]