Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 8, 2021
What goals have you set for yourself in the past week? It’s the New Year, the time of resolutions and planning, so I know you have set them – even if you have creatively named them something else because “you don’t set resolutions”. As you define your goals, whether for the new year or simply for the new day as you continue to grow and develop as a writer, I encourage you to consider the words of Ted Turner who said, “You should set goals beyond your reach so you always have something to live for.”
As we look back, there are lessons to be learned from where we’ve been (especially in 2020), and opportunities for where we are heading in the future. As you set goals, consider the advice below on taking more risks, selling books, being a healthier writer, finding ways to overcome your “if only” excuses for not writing, and managing your anxiety as a writer. Additionally, this week’s collection includes academic writing choices and how to think about research questions.
Set your goals beyond your reach this year and then stretch yourself to meet them. Happy writing!
For me, the turning of the year is certainly a time of examining habits, renewing intentions, and creating plans. But more than setting goals for the coming year, I prefer to think about the lessons I have learned from the year that has passed. In my experience, goals all but just happen when their required foundations are in place.
Writers are often by nature a cautious bunch. We like to make sure everything is right before we take that leap. That’s usually a good approach when it comes to the writing itself, but it can stunt your growth in the rest of your writing career.
In the late spring I wrote with fellow historian Lindsay Chervinsky about new ways historians and their publishers were marketing their books during the pandemic. Much of what we discussed — especially the increased burden on authors with the disappearance of in-person conferences and other events and the potential for online engagement – only intensified over the course of 2020.
Let’s make 2021 a healthy, creative year! In today’s show, Dr. Euan Lawson talks about ways to improve your physical and mental health, and how it can impact your creativity in a positive way.
Anton Chekhov wrote: “My country house is full of people, they never leave me alone; if only they would go away I could be a good writer.” I bet you have your own “if only …” sentence that tells why you haven’t reached your writing goals. Mine change from time to time. “If only I was more knowledgeable about this topic, I would feel confident enough to finish this novel” (my present “if only”). “If only I wasn’t so easily distracted” … “If only I felt more motivated” … I’ll tell you one thing that does help me break through my “if only” dilemma, and that’s working on something I’m really excited about.
I don’t know about you, but during 2020, I often felt like a helpless bus passenger being driven towards the edge of a cliff by incompetent politicians and powerful business interests. I feel this way about climate change all the time, but the pandemic made the feeling so much worse. All through 2020, my anxiety level was way off the charts. It made everything, including work, difficult. I expect better from 2021, but a lot of these anxiety inducing problems are not going to magically disappear. I’m wondering how best to prepare for the year ahead and I don’t think making a bunch of resolutions is going to cut it.
So these are choices that blog writers need to consider. Together they constitute the particular personality of the blog. Now of course, most of these author choices apply to any form of academic writing, not just blogs. I am considering writing more about them in this new year.
This month we will be looking at ways qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods researchers think about research questions. Let’s start with the basics. This description is adapted from Byrne’s introduction to the SAGE Research Methods Project Planner.