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Member Spotlight: Erin M. McTigue

Erin M. McTigueTAA member Erin M. McTigue is a writing coach & research scientist and is an academic author in the literacy writing discipline.

Her most recent publication is a study about very young writers: Writing in First Grade: The Quantity and Quality of Practices, published with her Norwegian colleagues. They found, unfortunately, that many Norwegian teachers believe that students need to know all their letters and how to spell before composing. Now they are working to challenge that belief and give more opportunities to the very young authors among us. To date, she has published over 50 academic articles and book chapters in the area of education, many co-authored with fellow TAA members (e.g., Tracey Hodges, Katherine Wright, Sharon Matthews).

What are you currently working on?
My most fun current writing project comes from requests from friends. You see, when my twin boys were 2, we moved to Norway for the year and that led us on a whole series of (continuing) travel adventures – which have been accomplished with varying levels of success. So I’m writing a short guide about “international travel with kids without losing your mind — or your sense of humor”. After this summer, I can add in a new, very specific section addressing – What to do if your kid breaks a bone in a foreign country.

Share a recent accomplishment.
Ignoring much pressure to remain in the stability of being a tenured professor, I actually “made a break for it”, and have not looked back! I started an academic writing and coaching business, The Positive Academic. And to “stay in the game” I work as an independent researcher at the Norwegian Center for Reading Research.

What is your favorite textbook writing tip or strategy?
Tricking myself to sit down and write when I really, really don’t want to. I make a deal to write for 5 minutes. I set a timer and promise myself a guilt-free stop at ring time. Yet, almost always, when the timer rings, I realize that the task was nearly not as horrid as I feared and I actually want to continue.

What is your best TAA experience so far?
Definitely the conferences! I love how there is time for 1:1 conversations with new (and old) friends. I enjoy meeting people whose areas of expertise are so distant away from mine, but we share a love of research and writing.