Two more types of university friends you may have never thought of (part 2)

Don't be reticent in contacting fellow students and former professors.If you’re a graduate student struggling with your dissertation, you probably crave at least a few people who really understand and can help you get through the long and torturous journey. Many dissertation writers have confided to me as their editor and coach that their chairs and committee members, unfortunately, may not be the most supportive or nurturing. In Part 1 of this series, I recommended two types of individuals you may not have thought of who can be immense help: librarians and secretaries. Here I’ll suggest two more. [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.
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9 Questions to help you discover your writing working preferences

Your Working EnvironmentIt’s hard enough to start, much less continue, our writing, scholarly or otherwise. When we ask ourselves some important questions and act on the answers, we can more easily sneak up on the current project and get started.

The questions and answers are completely between us and us, and we have the best and only answers. Whatever other advice we’ve read or heard, however loudly others swear theirs is the only way, it’s our answers to ourselves that matter.

For my own writing and that of the dissertation- and article-producing clients I coach, I’ve found the following questions are the most crucial and tell us what we need to know about our working preferences. Answer the questions below and others that may arise to diagnose your perfect work environment. [Read more…]

Promoting a book? Making a career move? Join us 10/14 for the TAA webinar, ‘The Art of Being Interviewed’

Amy DeLouise producersplaybookFor many of us, conducting an interview is easier than being interviewed. But when promoting a book, or even making a career move, you may be the interviewee. What does it take to deliver a “good” interview? How do you build a relationship with your interviewer? How do you prepare? What are the different ways to handle an in-person, an audio-only interview, and one that takes place on camera? How do you turn a bad question into a good answer? For on-camera interviews, what are the special considerations for attire that works on video?

Join us Friday, October 14, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET, for the TAA Webinar, “The Art of Being Interviewed”, led by Amy DeLouise, an experienced interviewer and video producer-director who has conducted thousands of interviews. She will walk us through the process, field questions, and help you feel confident for your next interview. [Read more…]

Call for proposals deadline October 6 for TAA’s 2017 Conference

TAA’s 30th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring 17Conf-CFP-TwitterConference session proposals deadline is October 6, 2016. TAA invites the submission of presentations relevant to authoring and publishing textbooks and academic works (journal articles, academic books, and monographs).

The conference will be held at the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel, Providence, RI, June 9-10, 2017. The conference will be attended by authors and aspiring authors of textbooks, journal articles, and other academic works, as well as by industry professionals from across the country. [Read more…]

Take breaks before you’re broken

Break timeThe obsession with work seems embedded not only into our current civilization but also into academic pursuits. We are all focused, dedicated, committed, even driven in our scholarly work. We live, breathe, almost eat our work, or always eat while we work.

You may have noticed that many scholars self-righteously announce (I too am guilty), “Oh, I work all the time. Of course, I work every weekend.” Our working compulsion may be motivated by any number of worries. A few—the lurking impostor syndrome, feeling that time is running out, others’ propagating vitae, some upstart new PhD on our heels, tenure just beyond our grasp.

But working all the time has a price. Often an unsettling sense creeps in, something like discontent, dissatisfaction, weariness, frustration, restlessness, and even futility. This is a warning sign that, most often, you’ve lost perspective. You need a break. [Read more…]

5 Web tools to help you manage and organize citations

citationsWhen it comes to academic writing, it is important to be diligent about collecting and organizing sources that will support your statements. The success of the overall project is often determined by the organizational skills you show during the research stage, and if you lose track of the sources of your ideas, you may also end up inadvertently committing plagiarism.

The following five tools can help you manage your sources and organize citations in accordance with whichever citation format you follow. [Read more…]

How writers can use feedback effectively

FeedbackA good writing practice—a habit of coming back to work on your project regularly—is the foundation of good writing. One of the biggest challenges to many writing practices is to keep going after receiving difficult feedback. And perhaps an even bigger challenge is the fear of receiving feedback, which often contributes to writer’s block. If you’re submitting to a publisher, a journal, to your dissertation committee, or anyone else who might provide feedback, it will help if you feel like you can use the feedback you get effectively.

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

2016 TAA Conference was a huge success!

2016 TAA Conference attendeesThe 2016 TAA Conference was a huge success! Attendees from across the country representing a variety of writing disciplines gathered to discuss the latest information and trends in the field of textbook and academic authoring and publishing.

TAA thanks all those who contributed to the program as well as the attendees who enriched the discussions throughout the conference. [Read more…]