For academics: Are your kids growing up without you?

Work Life BalanceYou were probably thrilled beyond words (mono- and polysyllabic) when your kids were born and you witnessed the true miracle of those so-young lives. The kids grew older, and you hunkered down into your academic career. Maybe your feelings changed—you don’t love them any less, but you may see the children as distracters and interrupters of your work. After all, we have important completions of all the conference abstracts, articles, books, chapters, dissertations, even the course syllabi. And we need to finish all these projects for advancement.

Granted, children can be annoyances and disrupters. Most of the time, though, barring a fall from the tree house, they are bothering you because they want—no, crave—your attention. [Read more…]

Dissertation support groups (part 2): Success!

SupportPreface: This is the second of two posts on dissertation support groups. In the previous piece, “Dissertation support groups (part 1): Watch out!”, I described several benefits and cautioned readers about drawbacks of a group. In this piece, I report on a successful group in the words of its founders and members. The philosophies and methods may help graduate students seeking support groups and faculty desiring to start them.

“I couldn’t write. I’d be in the library, staring at the portrait of the bearded benefactor, and the time would just tick by. That’s when I decided to join the group.”

This member of a dissertation support group was not alone in her dilemma. [Read more…]

5 Key takeaways from the TAA webinar, ‘5 Ways to Use Your Dissertation for Publications’

Dissertation to publicationsJanet Salmons, PhD, mined every element of her dissertation to launch a publishing strategy that has resulted in five books and numerous chapters and cases, articles and blog posts. She created a typology of five options for drawing from, building on, or applying student writing, which she shared in the May 18 TAA Webinar, “5 Ways to Use Your Dissertation for Publications”. Here are 5 key takeaways from the presentation: [Read more…]

Dissertation support groups (part 1): Watch out!

 Pros and cons of writing support groupsThis is the first of two posts on dissertation support groups. In this post, I acknowledge some of the advantages and alert you to some of the dangers of a group. In the next post, I describe a successful group in the words of its members.

In the seemingly endless struggles with your dissertation, you may think about joining a dissertation support group. A group can be excellent for “solace, support and motivation” (Axelrod & Windell, 2012, p. 101) and sharing of information and writing techniques (Grant & Tomal, 2013; Joyner, Rouse, & Glatthorn, 2012; Rockinson-Szapkiw & Spaulding, 2014). The group can also be a great source of consolation and camaraderie, a welcome environment in which everyone speaks the dissertationese dialect, and a welcome spot for empathetic grousing. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: February 26, 2016

Print this quote and keep it next to where you write. This way, you will the first draft is nothing more than a starting pointalways be reminded, “The first draft is nothing more than a starting point,” as Andrew Stanton urges. You do not have to get the words out perfectly the first time; you just have to get them down. Remember, editing (and editing over and over again) exists for a reason! Below you’ll find excellent articles from around the web this past week. From the future of textbooks to how to get your first academic paper published, and so much in-between, I know you’ll find an article that is useful to you. And, as always, happy writing! [Read more…]

8 [MORE!] Academic writing blogs you should be following

Are you ready for more great academic writing blogs to follow?! blog logoThe original, 8 Academic writing blogs you should be following, was so popular (and continues to be) it seemed fitting to bring you a second addition—not to mention the fact that the blogs below are worthy of being followed! In no particular order, here are eight academic writing blogs that offer superb advice on everything academic writing and publishing related, plus life as an academic: [Read more…]

10 Ways to tease out your perfect dissertation topic

You deserve the perfect dissertation topic, and you will reach your answer.If you’re beginning or in the throes of your dissertation, you may know from other long-suffering students that the work engenders a love-hate relationship, with all the exasperations, frustrations, teeth-clenching, and eye-rolling, and occasional affection, elation, and fulfillment (eventually) of a primary human relationship. Therefore, your topic, like your partner, should be one that initially excites you and sustains you throughout the inevitable rages and reconciliations, desires to divorce yourself from it or run back to its scholarly arms, and finally settle into a consistent satisfying relationship. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: June 4, 2015

I spent a good 40 minutes writing this week’s lead in paragraph. keep calm it's only a first draftIt was slightly witty (or at least I’m telling myself that it was) and related to one of the articles highlighted this week. In the end, it was crap. There was simply no point. I was trying to explain the stress June brings and how it is a struggle to fit everything into my day and how that relates to you, as a writer, with a job and a life trying to squeeze in writing time. Alas, there was no amount of editing that could save it. Had it been written on paper it would have been crumpled up and tossed in the direction of the garbage can only to, as if in one last laugh at me, land a full foot away on the floor. Instead, it’s forever going to sit in a word document highlighted in awful yellow (something I do with text I wish to change before finalizing a post). All I can say this week is, I hope your writing endeavors have been more accomplished than mine. And whether they have or haven’t been, the articles below will at least give you advice and encouragement that tomorrow is a fresh start. Or, if nothing else, that you aren’t alone in this struggle.

Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: May 28, 2015

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” –Stephen King "The scariest moment is always just before you start." Stephen King quote

I cannot say with certainty that, “the scariest moment is always just before you start.” I have to think that I am not alone in thinking the scariest moment is right before submitting the final draft. As a perfectionist I always strive to get it perfect, yet in writing (and most everything in life), I know that it will always have errors. An extra comma or two are almost always inevitable. If you too face the internal struggles of perfectionism and knowing that it will never be perfect, than you will appreciate a few of this week’s articles below. Maybe you are more of the 95-percenter (see The Thesis Whisper’s The last 5%) and the perfectionism struggle does not apply. Fortunately for you there are many other great articles this week that are well worth the read. 😉

Happy reading and, as always, happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: May 8, 2015

If you find you are stuck, that the words just will not flow, focus onFocus your attention on writing-and, if necessary, on why you write and on what inspires you to write-and you will write. why you write. Focus on what inspires you to write. Remembering why you started is a great way to get re-inspired and back to putting words down on the page. Nina Amir’s quote, “Focus your attention on writing—and, if necessary, on why you write and on what inspires you to write—and you will write”, is spot on. When the journey gets tough—when you want to give everything up—remember why you started this journey. Maybe the textbook you wanted to teach from did not exist and you knew you could create exactly the version your students needed. Maybe you are on the tenure track and getting published will fulfill your goals and dreams. Whatever it is, let that be your inspiration to move your writing project forward this weekend. Happy writing! [Read more…]