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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 29, 2022

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” ~Octavia E. ButlerThere are so many aspects to academic writing, and a lot of it is centered on self-doubt and, of course, an attitude of discovery and learning. Octavia E. Butler reminds us aspiring authors, however, that “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”

This week’s collection of articles includes practices, tips, tricks, and secrets for building an effective writing practice. Further, it includes advice on building relationships, finding your publishing avenues, and tackling discussion and debate.

As you continue developing your craft as an academic author, stay persistent, learn from others who have been there, and before you know it you will be writing “good stuff” yourself. Happy writing!

The realities of writing: loving it and having to work hard for it

I love writing. I utterly, completely and absolutely adore writing. Am I naturally gifted as a writer? No. Is writing easy for me? Also no. Do I write in spite of the fact that I struggle with it? Yes.

Is Journaling a Waste of Writing Time?

Lately, I’ve noticed several working writers whom I respect—authors of multiple published books, a healthy reputation, generous with the community—quietly dissing journaling. You may know people like this as well. For me, after the initial defensiveness passed, I looked more closely at the question they raise: Is journaling a waste of time that would be better applied to writing? You know, actual writing, not diddling around in a notebook.

Do You Have to Write Every Day? 10 Pros and Cons

Should writers make it a habit to write every day? Is that the secret to success? Is that what distinguishes “real” writers?

“Parking your writing downhill” as a strategy to keep momentum with your academic writing

This blog post describes my understanding of the “parking your writing downhill” strategy to kickstart your academic writing or simply to keep going. It was Dr. Veronica Kitchen who first said to me that she usually “parks her writing downhill”. It sounded like such an interesting strategy that I had to research it.

Fast-Writing Secrets of C. S. Lewis

Though Lewis used a dip-pen, a relic of the nineteenth century, he was an amazingly productive writer. Whenever he sat down to write—which he did almost daily—he wrote confidently, intuitively, and with astonishing speed.

Finding My People: Why You Should Make Writing Friends

The best way to power through any writing challenge or project, like NaNo, is to have a group of friends that can support you and cheer you on. R.L. Merrill, a long-time NaNo Participant, writes this article in honor of her writing friends, and encourages you to find them in little pockets of the world.

How the Literary Journal Landscape Is and Isn’t Changing

Getting published in literary journals is hard—still. Editors routinely say that they often have to turn down good writing. The submission cycle takes months, and months. But some things have changed. No more snail mail submissions. All journals have an online presence and most publish in a digital format, some with a print edition too. Submitting is easier. Online portals facilitate simultaneous submitting and easy tracking. But how else has the lit mag world evolved in recent years?

Open Access and the Direction Moving Forward

Watching cOAlition-S ratchet up urgency around open access has been an object lesson in the power that funders can wield when they coordinate around an issue. Spurred by the funder-led push for authors to make their works open access, research institutions have been signing read-and-publish deals and these have swiftly accelerated the total growth of articles published as open access. But if you look closely, you will find an ideological movement has arisen which objects to these deals.

Finding debates and discussions in the literature

Working with literatures? One of the things you’re advised to do by people like me is to identify debates and discussions. That’s because you are very likely to want to contribute to a discussion. And to do this you will probably need to position yourself in relation to different lines of thinking. So you may now wonder – what’s the difference between a debate and a discussion? And how do you get to know where there is a debate and what it’s about? I’ve been asked both of these questions recently and this post offers some leads to the answers.

Writing a PhD dissertation as three (or more) papers to showcase versatility

One of the things I resented the most was not getting the guidance I required for a lot of the work that came with the PhD degree. There are things, of course, where I did get advice, and one of them was to write my doctoral dissertation as a package of three papers focusing on a coherent theme or thread. This idea came from my PhD advisor who was originally trained in physics. But I still wondered how we got to that point.