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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 15, 2019

Stressed and chewing a pencilToday marks the halfway point in Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) 2019. Most academics are also about a month away from the end of the semester and a holiday break. For Americans, we’re less than two weeks from the Thanksgiving holiday and everyone is a month and a half from a new decade.

There’s no question that this time of year brings with it a heightened sense of stress, urgency, and emotions associated with perceived “endings” and “new beginnings”. Our collection of articles from around the web this week covers many of the things academics face in their writing efforts and ways to promote success and satisfaction in the process.

We begin with six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction, ways to set yourself free of perfectionism, considering the goal of “high quality” research evidence, and habits to boost writing productivity. We then explore support resources from peers, mindfulness practices, and publishers. Finally, we include topics on reviewing the work of indigenous scholars and using social media for book promotion.

As you continue your AcWriMo writing efforts and face the challenges of the endings and new beginnings associated with the last month and a half of the calendar year, be sure to seek out ways to improve your results and minimize your stress, leaving your more successful and satisfied with the process. Happy writing!

Six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction

For the ambitious academic, focus fixed on producing world-changing research, feeling happy about your writing process might only be a secondary concern, at best. But the interim findings of our survey questioning the writing “habits” of academics – now with 510 responses from over 40 countries – indicate that writing satisfaction is strongly linked to publishing productivity and, potentially, career success.

Setting yourself free of perfectionism?

I realised the other day, in the midst of a brutal surge of anxiety about my PhD, that I never fully commit… to… A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G…. UNLESS I am assured it will be successful. Mistakes? Phooey. Perfection. YES! Pleasing and impressing. YES! Life’s Journey in a straight line. YES!

When “high-quality” evidence maybe shouldn’t be the goal

Within minutes this week, two articles crossed my Twitter feed, both telling me how difficult it is to study some very important things. One was on diet (“Why Diet Research Is So Spectacularly Thin,” by David S. Ludwig and Steven B. Heymsfield) and the other was on teaching writing (“Scientific Evidence on How to Teach Writing Is Slim,” by Jill Barshay). The similarities beyond the headlines (“Thin”/”Slim”) are striking. Both articles focus on the lack of “high-quality” research in their respective areas.

Habits to boost productivity in academic writing

Today, many academics feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. They’re under huge pressure to write and publish but an ever-growing mountain of teaching and admin is stopping them doing just that. Our research finds that whilst nobody is immune to these pressures, some academics cope better than others – and that’s because over the years, they’ve developed personal “systems” to help them write.

Peer support for you and your PhD

Do you ever feel like the world is conspiring against efforts to complete your PhD? Are you hesitant to reach out for help? We all need friends during our PhD, and here we share our story to show how peer support helped us – and might help you.

How mindfulness helps grad students

Ph.D. students already have too much to do and a long list of challenges, from research setbacks to paying the bills on a meager salary. That’s not to mention the things that can really go wrong for a graduate student, such as having an abusive adviser. So the notion that a bit of mindfulness — however popular it’s become — can make a difference in a graduate student’s life may seem annoyingly quaint, or even offensive.

Working with your publisher

Using the tag #AcWriMo, writers around the world discuss their goals and progress, and share resources throughout November.  Find the evolving series here. If you log into MethodSpace, you will be subscribed and receive new posts by email.

Reviewing work by indigenous scholars

Reviewing written work is a different matter. I have been asked, by prominent Euro-Western academic journals, to review articles by Indigenous scholars. Here is an example of actual email correspondence I have had with such a journal.

Social media for book promotion

In a crowded marketplace filled with unread and unloved books it’s necessary to be proactive if you want to ensure that your book finds an audience. Social media can’t solve this problem but it can provide us with easy means to help spread the word about your book, helping people who might be interested find their way to it.