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…]

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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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…]

New 2016 Fall Webinars – Improve Your Skills

TAA fall webinar seriesWhether you are interested in learning how to create a publication strategy; plan, propose and publish an edited book, become a more productive academic writer; or how textbooks can support deeper engagement and more effective learning, TAA’s fall webinar series for textbook and academic authors has you covered. Join us as various industry experts share their expertise on academic and textbook writing topics. Sign-up early to reserve your spot! Not a TAA member? Learn more about member benefits and join today. [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…]

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…]

Join us 3/10 for the TAA webinar, Get Organized With ‘OneNote’

Eric SchmiederLearn the power of Microsoft OneNote 2013, an unsung hero of Microsoft Office that can be used to organize your thoughts, ideas and projects in one place, accessible whenever and wherever you need them. Join us Thursday, March 10 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Get Organized With ‘OneNote”, for an overview of OneNote 2013, its features, and the ways to access and edit your OneNote notebooks from a PC to web browser, or mobile device. Register [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: February 12, 2016

Roses are redAcademicValentines_TAA blog
Violets are blue
‘Revise and Resubmit’
Roses are a prickly bush or shrub
Violets are a herbaceous plant
Watch for more #AcademicValentines on Twitter throughout the weekend—you don’t even need a Twitter account to see all of the hilarious tweets!

Happy writing! [Read more…]

How to start writing again after a break

Taking a long break from anything,Mahatma Gandhi — 'The future depends on what you do today.' writing included, can make it difficult to know how or where to start again. Two of the biggest hurdles to overcome are allowing yourself to let go of any guilt you have from not writing and putting to rest the infinite “I’ll do it tomorrow” mentality. Of course that isn’t to say that breaks are often necessary. They allow you to come back to your writing rejuvenated, more motivated, and re-inspired. However, when a break turns into weeks and months without writing, the daunting task of how and where to start again is often suffocating.

So what can you do to get back into your writing routine? [Read more…]