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The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: November 7, 2014

"The secret of it all is write...without waiting for a fit time or place." -Walt WhitmanBy now your semester is in full force, but has your writing been on the back burner? Whether you are looking for a little motivation to help you set your writing goals, tools to help you find sacred writing time, or inspiration to help you get words on the page, the following posts will help you. Did you come across any stellar motivational or helpful posts this week? Share them in the comments below. Happy writing!

Confessions of a Young, Prolific Academic
I found this piece inspiring. It’s so easy to get discouraged by all of the negative pieces about academe, writing, and research. Brian Ray expresses his pleasure of research and writing and encourages other academics to rekindle that pleasure too. I also think it’s worth reading some of the comments (there are currently 72) below his piece for more insight into Ray’s writing habits and thoughts from other academics.

How I Learned to Stop Typing and Love the Burn
I liked this piece for a number of reasons. First of all I can completely relate to the author and how exercise can allow you to refocus on the task you were trying to focus on when staring at your computer screen. I often find myself thinking of blog posts I want to write when riding my bicycle or out for a run. Secondly, I liked the down-to-earth style of writing that Gregory Semenza used. And thirdly, if you are struggling to get words down on the page, and whether or not you are an exercise enthusiast, I think the advice here will help you.

Writing and Not Writing
Whether you are participating in Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) or not I think this is a good reminder to anyone setting writing goals. Some activities can be seen as progressing your writing forward even though you aren’t actually writing, while other activities at first may seem like they are helping you but are actually hindering you. I just love this line by Rachael Cayley, “We all need to understand and resist our own habitual avoidance techniques in order to preclude the disappointment that comes from not writing.” Do you know and are you honest with yourself about what your avoidance techniques are?

Thinking Inside and Outside the Box – Finding a Realistic Academic Schedule
Is finding “sacred writing” time an almost impossible task? Maybe you just need to restructure how you schedule your writing time, i.e. use a new scheduling tool. If you are a visual learner you will appreciate this post. Or, if you are lacking structure and need some ideas on how to organize your time, you will appreciate this post.

To Be or Not to Be Online
I’m sharing this post because I think the questions raised are thought provoking and relevant to any of you not building an online presence. I personally believe that building your personal brand is important in this digital age and can allow new opportunities to present themselves (coauthors, collaborators, shared interests, financial gains). If you aren’t building your personal brand, what are your reasons for not doing so? You are “Googleable”, do you want more to be representative of you than the little information that is already out there?

Why you should consider doing Academic Writing Month throughout November 2014 #AcWriMo
Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) is already a week in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still participate! Set a goal, make it public, and get writing! Raul Pacheco-Vega offers three reasons why you should participate in AcWriMo. You can make your goals public on social media, sign-up on the #AcWriMo spreadsheet on PhD2Published, or share your goals in the comments below. Goals can be hours spent writing, word count, or a finished piece. Your goal should be challenging but attainable. (I may not be an academic, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t set my own November writing goals—I have a personal blog on fitness and nutrition. Here are my goals: a total of six blog posts, two that are “Monday Motivations”, two recipe posts, and two fitness related posts.)