Harness the power of habits for writing productivity

Have you ever heard a writer say – I’d really like to break my pesky writing habit? Likely not. Writers generally agree that writing habits work: Momentum drives progress. Each day becomes easier to overcome resistance and start producing. Additionally, with regular progress, planning becomes more predictable.

Surprisingly though, despite motivation, as writers, we often know markedly little about research in habit building. In lieu of research, unhelpful myths circulate, such as: If I could just write for 21 straight days, then my habit would be in place. Thankfully, there is worthwhile research on habit building, so let’s look at a few key principles and the framework underlying any habit.  [Read more…]

Speaker spotlight: Wendy Laura Belcher to speak at TAA’s 2017 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference

Wendy Laura Belcher, an Associate Professor at Princeton University and author of the best-selling book, Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: A Guide to Academic Writing Success, will be a featured speaker at TAA’s 30th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, June 9-10, 2017.

Belcher’s session, “Writing a Journal Article in 12 Weeks: Inspiration, Concepts, and Success,” will highlight key strategies for being a productive academic author and provide insight and inspiration for you as authors, educators, and writing mentors. [Read more…]

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…]

Register early for TAA’s Textbook & Academic Writing Conference

fbregopenLooking for inspiration with your writing? Join us for TAA’s 30th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, June 9-10, 2017. Early registration is now open!

Learn from industry experts, gain new perspectives, and get inspired for your writing projects. All conference activities will take place at the beautiful Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel, a 4-Star luxury hotel located in the heart of Providence. The recently renovated boutique hotel is housed in a historic 1920’s era building, providing a one-of-a-kind backdrop for a memorable conference and visit! [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…]

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…]

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 11/3 for the TAA webinar, ‘Plan, Propose & Publish an Edited Book’

Janet SalmonsWant to publish a book, but lack the content for a full manuscript? Consider creating an edited book! You can include your own material, as well as chapters by other scholars.

Join us Thursday, November 3 from 3-4 p.m. ET for this one-hour webinar, “Plan, Propose & Publish an Edited Book”. Writer and editor Janet Salmons will share strategies she learned by creating edited books, contributing chapters to numerous edited books, and serving on editorial review boards. She will provide an overview of the entire process, from proposal through final review.
[Read more…]

9 Questions to help you discover your writing working preferences

Your Working EnvironmentIt’s hard enough to start, much less continue, our writing, scholarly or otherwise. When we ask ourselves some important questions and act on the answers, we can more easily sneak up on the current project and get started.

The questions and answers are completely between us and us, and we have the best and only answers. Whatever other advice we’ve read or heard, however loudly others swear theirs is the only way, it’s our answers to ourselves that matter.

For my own writing and that of the dissertation- and article-producing clients I coach, I’ve found the following questions are the most crucial and tell us what we need to know about our working preferences. Answer the questions below and others that may arise to diagnose your perfect work environment. [Read more…]