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…]

Tip of the trade: The role writing environment plays in productivity

Q: What roles do the writing work space and environment play in productivity?

writingA: Noelle Sterne, author, editor and writing consultant:

“As an academic and mainstream writer and editor, I firmly believe that one’s writing work space and work environment tremendously influence productivity. To discover your best writing environment requires self-analysis and candid (if uncomfortable) answers to several important questions:

1) What is your optimal time for a work session? An hour, three, fifteen minutes? My optimal session is about an hour and a half. But sometimes my brain bubbles like a hot spring, and I can work for three hours straight without hearing my stomach growl. [Read more…]

Textbook development: 5 Tips for controlling length

LengthYou might be informed by your copy editor that your textbook manuscript is too long. Say, for example, your copy editor has returned five of your chapters marked as seriously over length. Instructions say to reduce length by the equivalent of three manuscript pages per chapter. Reading over the manuscript, barring a word here or there, you believe there is simply no way you can cut without destroying the brilliance and integrity of your exposition. You ask if the book can just be made sixteen pages longer. The answer, categorically, is no, because of the cost. What should you do? [Read more…]

9 Ways to improve your academic writing style

writingWhen it comes to academia, the quality of your writing has a lot riding on it. Whether you are in university or are employed as a teacher and/or researcher, the work you produce can make or break your academic career.

Strong writing (and empirical content, of course) is a major factor in whether a paper you write will be published in a reputable journal. So before you begin drafting your next article, consider these 9 ways to improve your academic writing. [Read more…]

Join us 11/18 for the TAA webinar ‘Becoming a Productive Writer: Strategies for Success’

Rachael CayleyWhy does it seem like there’s never enough time to write? One of the key challenges of academic life is balancing the many demands on our time; while writing is generally key to professional success, finding time to write is consistently challenging. Most academics realize that they need to protect their writing time but still struggle to do so. Rather than seeing not-writing as a simple failure, it can be helpful to see it as a reflection of the inherent difficulties of writing and time management.

Join us Friday, November 18 from 12-1 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Becoming a Productive Writer: Strategies for Success,” where presenter Rachael Cayley, who blogs at Explorations of Style and tweets at @explorstyle, will discuss how and why academic writing is so hard and look at some strategies for establishing a productive writing practice.
[Read more…]

[Storify] Tips, strategies, takeaways & fun-filled tweets from #2016TAA

2016 TAA Conference

“A must-attend conference for newbie writers like me!” – Claire Resilla (bottom right with a group of attendees from SHSU)

The 2016 TAA Conference in San Antonio Texas, June 24-25 was a huge success!

Here are some tips, strategies, takeaways & fun-filled tweets from the meeting. [Read more…]

Writers: Don’t get caught in the ‘downward spiral’

Getting the Best of Your Dissertation

A good writing practice is the foundation of good writing. A good practice is built on regular action, and depends on the ideas or perspectives that lead to effective action. When faced with a large writing project, it is important to look at the relationship between your work practice and your emotions. Today’s actions influence tomorrow’s approach to the project, and work today can make it easier to work tomorrow.

The following is a slightly edited excerpt from my book, Getting the Best of Your Dissertation: Practical Perspectives for Effective Research: [Read more…]

Textbook award-winning insight (part 1): Getting started and boosting your confidence

2016 Textbook Award winners q&a
I recently reached out to winners of the 2016 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about how they made the decision to write their textbook, how they interested a publisher, what they do to boost their writing confidence, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and more. I will be sharing their answers in a series of posts over the next few weeks.

This first installment of the three-part series focuses on why they decided to write their textbook, how they got started, and what they do to boost their confidence as a writer. [Read more…]

Join us for the 4/21 webinar, ‘3 Essential Steps to Breaking Your Writing Block’

Cassie Premo SteeleYou know the feeling. You have a writing project and you have a deadline. You think about the project all the time—but when you sit down to write, nothing comes. You do the dishes. You check Facebook. You run an errand. You organize your file cabinet, for goodness sake! You have so much energy for everything—except for writing.

Could you have a case of the dreaded writing block? Join us Thursday, April 21, from 12-1 pm ET, for the TAA webinar, “3 Essential Steps to Breaking Your Writing Block”, where writing coach Cassie Premo Steele will share: [Read more…]

Join us in San Antonio for TAA’s 29th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference!

San Antonio Riverwalk

Join us in San Antonio for TAA’s 2016 Conference!

Mark your calendars, the Textbook & Academic Authors Association’s 29th Annual Conference is fast approaching. Don’t miss out on this valuable two-day writing conference where you will gain inspiration for your writing projects, network with veteran authors, and learn strategies to help increase your publishing success. The conference program is ambitious, offering a wide variety of session topics for both veteran and novice authors. Register soon to take advantage of early registration rates. [Read more…]