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…]

Two new templates added to TAA’s Templates & Samples Resource Library

Templates and SamplesTwo new templates have been added to TAA’s Templates & Samples Resource Library – a Workflow Chart Template, and a Royalty Tracking Template.

The Workflow Chart Template was contributed by Kevin Patton, author of Anatomy & Physiology (9e), who uses it to track his workflow. Available in both landscape and portrait, each row is a chapter or section and columns track items such as chapter number/title, research, reviews, copyedited draft, etc. [Read more…]

Textbook award-winning insight (part 2): Scheduling writing time and getting involved in marketing

2016 TAA Textbook Award QA
A couple of weeks ago, I reached out to winners of the 2016 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about their textbook writing. I had so many great responses I decided to create a three-part series to share them. The first installment focused on why they decided to write their textbook, how they got started, and what they do to boost their confidence as a writer.

This second installment in the three-part series focuses on how they fit writing time into their schedule, what software they use, what their favorite pedagogical elements are, and what involvement they have had in marketing their book. [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…]

10 Reasons why academics should blog [Infographic]

How can you improve your writing and productivity, collaborate and network more easily, find new and unexpected experiences, disseminate your research more widely, and build your reputation? Start a blog. Academics can realize many benefits from blogging. This infographic shares ten of those benefits: [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: February 5, 2016

“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it W. Somerset Maugham — 'I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp.'strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”
—W. Somerset Maugham

Do you sit and write religiously at the same time every single day? Disciplined like a marathon runner is to running every morning? Sometimes discipline and routine come easy. We have a goal that we want to achieve or a passion we are pursuing. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to be disciplined. We have to force ourselves to show up every day. Rewards and fast approaching deadlines do this well. Even frequent breaks and a change of scenery can help. But what other strategies do you use? What do you do on those days when anything at all seems more appealing than sitting to write?

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…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: January 22, 2016

Benjamin Franklin — 'Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.'It’s so easy for us to say, “I’ll do that tomorrow”, “I’ll start on my writing projects, tomorrow” and tomorrow keeps getting pushed further and further away. Procrastination is easy. Yet, never satisfying. Chances are you have the time to get started today. So start! End the infinite tomorrow and do as Benjamin Franklin reminds us, and, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

Happy writing! [Read more…]