6 Reasons to participate in a writing boot camp

Nothing Worth Doing is Ever EasyAshley Sanders, a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University and leader of TAA’s Dissertators United Chapter Writing Boot Camps, (the second boot camp, “Writing With POWER”, will be held Sept. 20-21. Register today) shares these six reasons to participate in a writing boot camp:

(1) Create space and time in our schedules to make significant progress on our writing goals
(2) Develop goal-setting skills
(3) Increase the writers’ awareness of their own process through writing logs
(4) Share writing resources
(5) Determine sustainable writing habits
(6) Offer both camaraderie and accountability

Read Ashley’s article about writing boot camps on Inside Higher Ed [Read more…]

How to Write a Sophisticated, Dynamic Scholarly Argument

Tweed Gears

It is incumbent upon early-career academics to distinguish their research as mature scholarship, not student work. So as an editor who often works with junior faculty and recent PhDs, I’m always on the lookout for hallmarks of amateur writing that scholars can identify and excise.

Perhaps most academics can name some of the tics that unfortunately characterize graduate-student writing: overqualification, hedging, extensive literature review, and a high ratio of quotation to original material are just a few.

Another quirk I’ve noticed is that less effective manuscripts—whether they’re written by early-career scholars or not—tend to organize information into lists. That may not sound so damning, but lists become vulnerabilities when they are presented as arguments. [Read more…]

How to identify yourself as an academic writer

Identify yourself as a writerDoctoral study involves a transition from student to researcher; a key aspect of that transition is becoming an academic writer. This is not to say that most new PhDs would readily describe themselves as academic writers. But that level of accomplishment requires the development of a set of academic writing skills that were likely not present at the outset of doctoral study. It’s also likely the case that the development of those crucial skills was a significant challenge.

Why is doctoral writing such a challenge? This question is a vital one given the centrality of writing to all that we do as academics. It’s common for new graduate students to feel as though their writing skills have suddenly become worse, as though the adequate writing skills honed over their undergraduate years have abandoned them just when they need them the most. A linear trajectory that would naturally make us better writers with each passing year may seem a reasonable expectation, but the reality is more complicated than that. Understanding this reality can help novice academic writers start to approach writing in a more confident and efficient manner. [Read more…]

Your dissertation as a journal article: Where do you submit it?

Q: “I have an idea for an article based on my dissertation, but I don’t know where to send it. How can I make a reasonable choice?”

A: Tara Gray, presenter of the Publish & Flourish: Become A Prolific Author workshop, sponsored by TAA:

“Ask your colleagues and consider the journals in your own bibliography. Then, query the journal editor by asking him or her if your manuscript fits their understanding of the journal’s mission.” [Read more…]