Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 11, 2020
How do you write? Why do you write? Who do you write for? And, are those answers clear in your writing practice? As authors in varying disciplines, we each have a unique style, purpose, and audience, so finding our voice is important. Elmore Leonard once said, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” Our collection of articles from around the web offers additional advice on developing your own writing rhythm.
First, we are presented a challenge to explain our research in plain language, offered ways to build confidence in our nonfiction writing, and provided answers regarding the PhD trajectory. Next, we explore the structure of a literature review, how to overcome discouragement as an author, and rules for writing clear and persuasive prose. Finally, we discuss why authors should know their target audience, how open access diversifies readership, and the steps required to self-publish a book.
This week, challenge yourself to not let proper writing get in the way of your voice. If it sounds like writing, rewrite it. Focus on your audience, your purpose, and your style of communicating your message. Happy writing!
I maintain that there is no research too complicated to be explained in plain language. In teaching and talking about this, I’ve described this is as “the Queen challenge” (when you get honored for your amazing contribution to research, how will you respond when the Queen asks her fabled question, “And what do you do?”). In contexts where such a Britishism falls flat, I try the “Thanksgiving” or “Random Relative” scenario — how would you describe your latest research activities to a family member while you peel the vegetables for a celebratory supper? In the course of my work, I’ve asked hundreds of researchers about their work, and I’ve never yet found one who couldn’t distill what they do down to something that I could understand.
The Writer’s Practice: Building Confidence in your Nonfiction Writing (John Warner) – my reading notes
I have written before about how I believe that writing is a craft and an art. Writing solid prose requires technique, inspiration and knowledge of the subject matter. Learning how to write is a process that helps authors who are interested in producing cohesive, cogent and easy to read text. But I believe that the best way in which someone can learn how to write is by developing a writing practice.
Hi Eva, I am currently done reading your wonderful book about the PhD trajectory and I have a couple of questions regarding your book; it’s about the gaps in the literature…I hope you could enlighten me about this topic…my questions are the following.
You’ll notice that I’ve said your work on the literatures/reading. What is that work? Well, in addition to closely reading some key texts which are key to your research, you also need to read more widely in order to identity the key themes that relate to your topic (to do the four tasks outlined above).
You see, when it comes to writing, you are going to inevitably face criticism and rejection. At the beginning, you’ll find that more people dislike what you are doing than like it, but that doesn’t mean your work isn’t worth something. It means you need to work harder.
I said on Twitter that my reading notes for this extraordinary book, Economical Writing: Thirty Five Rules for Clear and Persuasive Prose, by Dr. Deirdre McCloskey, would be simply an embed of a single tweet: this is a must-read book that everyone, even those not in economics, should buy and read.
If you know your target audience, you go to the art gallery, the photography club, and the art and craft club. By knowing who is most likely to buy your product, in our case books, you save time by focusing on places where you are going to sell the most for the least amount of effort.
Open access (OA) books are reaching more countries and have greater usage and higher citation numbers than non-OA books. A new analysis collaboratively produced by Springer Nature and COARD (Collaborative Open Access Research & Development) presents these and other key findings in a new white paper that explores how OA affects the geographical diversity of readers.
The modern boom of independent publishing has put the power to publish in the hands of authors—if they choose to use it. But even once you’ve decided in favor of the indie route over the traditional path of soliciting agents and pitching to publishing-house gatekeepers, what are the actual steps to self-publish your book?