5 Ways to minimize writing anxiety & maximize self-efficacy

Writing AnxietyAcademic writers often have high writing anxiety, so you’re not alone if you feel anxious when you write, said Margarita Huerta, assistant professor of educational and clinical studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. They also tend to have low self-efficacy, she said, which can lead to less confidence in their capability to write. [Read more…]

Make your dissertation your priority

Today means action. Carry out your priorities.As you undoubtedly already know, writing a dissertation is different from anything you’ve ever done. This enterprise requires you to adjust, if not radically change, your lifestyle. If you ever really want to complete the dissertation, and in a timely manner (if that isn’t an oxymoron), you need to rethink your priorities.

Your full-time job, of course, should be high on the priority list. You may have been used to putting family first. But rethink this priority. Heartless and psychologically suspect as this statement may sound, you can make it up to them in many other ways—later (that’s another article). [Read more…]

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

“Scripturient.” What a great word that I’ve only now "scripturient"just discovered! According to Merriam-Webster it means, “having a strong urge to write.” Do you ever have a strong urge that you have to sit and write? I get these urges from time to time. It can be a glorious thing (if you don’t get in the way of yourself and your writing). For me, as soon as I start thinking too much or try to form the perfect sentence, the words stop flowing so easily. Embrace those urges to write and just put everything on to the page that you can. Editing is for making sense of it all!

Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: August 14, 2015

This week is another one jam-packed with Neil Gaiman writing quote.excellent articles. From academics lonely at work, to being a good reviewer, to e-reader screen size, you are sure to find at least one article that is useful to you or sparks your interest. Did you read an outstanding article on textbooks, textbook writing, or academic writing? If so, I encourage you to share the knowledge by sharing it in the comments below!

And, as always, happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: July 24, 2015

Wouldn’t it be nice if in fact inspiration truth is... inspiration doesn't always just stike when we need itwould strike at just the very moment we need it? Sometimes I like to live in the delusion that it will, but really, it’s often deadlines that spark the most “inspiration.” Maybe you know this feeling too. We can try and force inspiration (like a deadline), but really it is in the moments that we aren’t looking for it that inspiration strikes. Maybe that is the key—to not go looking for it—to let it come on it’s own. Or, if all else fails follow the brilliant advice of Peter De Vries, “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.

Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: July 17, 2015

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts.You need to start somewhere.” –Anne Lamott

No piece of writing is perfect when first written—that’s why they call it a first draft and why editing exists. Pat Thomson offers a bit of comfort in her piece this week in that all academic writers (or any writer for that matter) face the same struggles. She focuses on being ‘stuck’ with a writing piece and how to move thru it. Today, just focus on getting started and let the rest fall into place. The rest will either fall into place or, if nothing else, give you direction for where to go on the page next time you sit to write. Either way, just start and know that you can (and will) edit later.

Happy writing! [Read more…]

Walking in truth: On mentors, teachers and your own way

Make your own pathEarlier this month, I taught the last class of a 3-month online course for women professors called The Feminar. Over Skype, I asked each woman in the class to talk about the greatest lesson the class had to teach. Each one replied with a different version of the same answer: “I learned to walk my own way.”

As academics, we work within a system that allows us to learn from others: mentors, supervisors, dissertation advisors, chairpersons, and deans. Then there is the larger context for our work: editors, publishers, readers, and the wider circle of the “field” itself. Even within our work, we look to those who have gone before, responding and critiquing and refining their arguments, theories, and conclusions. [Read more…]

How to move through writing blocks

Writer's BlockA big thank you to Boot Camp Leader Ashley Sanders and everyone who participated in TAA’s Dissertators United Chapter Boot Camps! The last boot camp was held May 17. All of the resources from these boot camps are now online and open to all TAA members. Resources include recordings of mini-webinars, articles, templates, and links to resources such as books, apps, and more.

In the May Boot Camp, Sanders shared 16 ways to move through writing blocks, including the use of “permission slips”, an idea that comes from the work of Dr. Brené Brown, a University of Houston researcher. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: April 17, 2015

There are SO many great articlesdon't give up on your article in this week’s most useful textbook & academic writing posts! I’m so excited about what’s below that I’m not even going to write a long introductory paragraph. I’m just going to say, I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did and of course: Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: March 27, 2015

“You can’t think yourself out You can't think yourself out of a writing blockof a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” ~John Rogers

At first thought, I had mixed feelings about Rogers’ statement, thinking that at times it’s nearly impossible to find the right words to get them down on the page. Then it struck me. The thinking is precisely the thing that often gets in my way of getting those words down. My mind is trying to get it just right before allowing my fingers to type the words. I get lost in my head and that causes me to get stuck. Do you find that this too is what happens to you? Do you get lost in your thoughts or lost in trying to get your writing perfect before getting anything down on the page? Rogers’ words are pause for thought, to really analyze why it is that we get blocks. Sure, there are also many other factors that may come into play that deter us from writing, but you may also find, as I did, that the root of many of those are due to overthinking. Next time you have a block, stop thinking and start writing. Sometimes all it takes is allowing for your fingers to start typing to get the words flowing. Happy writing! [Read more…]