Project management: Two free tools to increase efficiency in your writing projects

Project management was originally developed for civil engineering, but even if you are writing a book instead of building a bridge, there are useful approaches to borrow that will improve your work flow. In a previous article, I described that within project management, tools can be roughly divided into “project definition tools” and “implementation tools.” Project definition tools are those that help you determine the scope, the tasks, and the budget (i.e., time), whereas implementation tools are those that help you conduct the work. Here, I focus on the latter, and present two tools from the lens of project management for writing.

TAA announces 2021 Textbook Award winners

2021 Textbook Awards by the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA). Six textbooks received William Holmes McGuffey Longevity Awards, nine textbooks received Textbook Excellence Awards, and ten textbooks received Most Promising New Textbook Awards.

The McGuffey Longevity Award recognizes textbooks and learning materials whose excellence has been demonstrated over time. The Textbook Excellence Award recognizes excellence in current textbooks and learning materials. The Most Promising New Textbook Award recognizes excellence in 1st edition textbooks and learning materials.

The awardees will be recognized during an online textbook awards ceremony at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, March 19, 2021. The ceremony will be open to anyone who would like to help celebrate this year’s winners. Information about how to participate in the ceremony will be posted next week.

Academic podcasting: The time is now

Podcasting is an easily produced, but powerful, medium to connect with potential or current textbook users, scholars in your discipline niche, readers of your work, and potential consulting clients. It can extend your brand and expand your professional network.

I have been mentioning in TAA media that now is great time—the very best time—to start an academic podcast. A hundred thousand new podcasts are being launched each month and podcast listenership is growing rapidly as mobile devices add native podcast apps, and platforms such as Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, and Audible add podcasts to their offerings. We are just now at the point where “start a podcast” is about to overtake “start a blog” as a search term in Google Trends.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 19, 2021

How do you define success? As you refine your writing practice, especially in an environment constantly changing, it’s important to be able to answer this question. David M. Burns cautions, however that success does not equal reflection. “Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism.” Success requires overcoming fear and moving forward.

Our collection of articles this week includes some practical advice on common challenges academic authors face.

Writing and systems: Beyond strategies, beyond tools

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad 2020 has ended. The year was exhausting and disrupting on so many levels. I watched my productivity hang on like a spider web in a hurricane, and my soul curl up inside, challenging assumptions, questioning most everything. Invariably, I thought quite a lot about my academic writing; I wrote very little. I thought more than I wrote, yes, but the thinking nurtured the writing, offered renewed perspectives. With these, hope revived. With hope, the deep satisfaction of having stayed the course, having written somethingeven if not enough – and been sustained by the writing habit, by the comfort and familiarity of a writing routine.