6 Techniques to jumpstart writing efficiency and productivity

Vintage typewriterIn our writing projects—dissertation, article, book, presentation—after the first brilliant idea or paragraphs of exhilarated creation, our enthusiasm may turn to mud. From my own experiences with tortured writing and those of my academic coaching and editing clients, I recommend the following six techniques, with credible rationales, to help you work more efficiently and write more productively.

1) Make Separate Files

As simplistic as it seems, start by making separate files for each part of the work—prefatory pages, introduction, chapters, sections, reference list, appendices. Refer to your university handbook, journal specs, or publisher’s requirements to construct your file in the correct format. If a template is provided, use it. Later, you’ll combine all files for the finished work. [Read more…]

[Featured Members] Finding, chasing, and becoming rabbits: Learning from others on the road to the professoriate

Tracey Hodges and Katherine L. Wright

Tracey Hodges (L) and Katherine Wright (R)

TAA’s featured member profiles generally feature veteran textbook and academic authors and industry experts. In this issue we are delighted to feature two recent doctoral-recipients-turned-assistant-professors.

Tracey S. Hodges is an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi where she teaches graduate and undergraduate literacy courses. In addition, Tracey conducts research focusing on writing strategies, instruction with text structures, and content area literacy.

Katherine L. Wright is an Assistant Professor at Boise State University in the Department of Literacy, Language & Culture. Her research interests include reading and writing motivation, second language content-area literacy, writing-to-learn, and scientific literacy development. [Read more…]

How to leverage technology to benefit writing collaboration

mobile educationAlthough collaborative writing projects can present challenges in terms of communication, work flow, and organization, there are several technology tools available that can help increase productivity and the overall success of the project. Kathleen P. King, Professor and Program Director of Higher Education & Policy Studies at the University of Central Florida, Orlando discussed this topic in her 2016 TAA conference presentation, “Leveraging Online Learning Technology & Environments to Benefit Research Group Writing”.

King’s first piece of advice is to consider the person in the group that has the hardest time adjusting to new technology and choose a tool that will fit their comfort level. This may mean that you use a more familiar option such as Skype or Google docs to aid in your collaborations, rather than some of the more advanced options. In group collaborations, the project’s success is dependent on all group members feeling comfortable with the technology tools used. [Read more…]

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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Make it happen: 6 Strategies to improve productivity

productivityLike many members of the Textbook & Academic Authors Association, I hold a tenure-track position which includes—for the most part—the usual expectations. Scholarship is particularly important, with peer-reviewed publication the expected outcome of my research. Service to the profession is important, but less so. In my current position (Director of Public Services, Evans Library, Texas A&M University), I do not teach, but I am expected to demonstrate excellence in the performance of my duties. These duties, in my case, include leading about thirty-five employees who staff three service desks in two buildings (one of which is open twenty-four hours, five days per week). It is very challenging to oversee a busy public services unit and maintain a research agenda that will result in a sufficient number of publications to satisfy the University Libraries’ Committee on Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure. [Read more…]

Join us 9/27 at 12 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, ‘The 10 Habits of Highly Productive Academic Writers’

Gina HiattOne of academia’s secrets is that most people struggle to get enough writing done. This is partly because they believe some heinous myths about writing, and also because they don’t know the correct habits. On top of that, scholarly writers are often quite anxious – about failure, about not writing enough, and about their careers. They frequently are perfectionists, but perfectionism leads to procrastination, which leads to paralysis.

Join us Tuesday, September 27, from 12-1 p.m. ET, for the TAA Webinar, “The 10 Habits of Highly Productive Academic Writers”. Dr. Gina J. Hiatt, Founder and President of Academic Ladder® Inc., will show you how some simple changes in your habits will lead to big payoffs in your writing productivity and creativity. [Read more…]

Recognition for Review is focus for Peer Review Week 2016

Peer Review WeekTo honor and celebrate peer review, 20 organizations worked collaboratively to plan the second annual Peer Review Week, a week-long series of activities and events that will run September 19-25, 2016.

This year’s theme is Recognition for Review, and will explore all aspects of how those participating in review activity – in publishing, grant review, conference submissions, promotion and tenure, and more – should be recognized for their contribution. [Read more…]

Join us today @ 3pm ET for the TAA Webinar: 5 Steps to Creating a Publication Strategy

Janet SalmonsYou have research. You have academic papers, a thesis, and/or a dissertation. You may have written reports or social media posts. Now what? The tasks involved with moving forward towards developing publishable articles or chapters seems overwhelming. Where do you start?

Join us today from 3-4 p.m. ET, for the TAA Webinar, “5 Steps to Creating a Publication Strategy”. Janet Salmons, an independent researcher, writer and consultant with Vision2Lead, Inc., will share practical tips and a step-by-step process for evaluating your current status, and making a plan to achieve publication goals. [Read more…]