Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 8, 2022
Where are you starting with your writing? Anne Lamott says, “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” Whether you are starting as a graduate student, a post-doc defining your research agenda, a new writing project, or a more extensive writing career, your new “first” effort will be a start (perhaps terrible) but not the end.
In this collection of articles from around the web, we find advice on academic authoring in the first person, writer’s block, research agendas, and protecting your ideas. We also find content on achieving goals as young writers, making writing a career, and considering University Presses for your next publication.
Whatever you are writing, start where you are and move forward. Happy writing!
There’s one issue that invariably comes up in a graduate writing class: the permissibility of using the first person. No matter what aspect of academic writing I am covering, someone will pose this question. My basic answer is simple: ‘Yes, you can definitely use the first person in academic writing’. To clarify this point, I like to reframe the first person as the ‘authorial first person’: the use of the first person to position yourself as the author of this piece of research writing.
“There’s no such thing as writer’s block!” No doubt you’ve heard this myth before. Worse, you may have believed it. And that’s rarely a good thing, as it tends to keep you where you are—in that stuck place you dare not call writer’s block.
I used to hate on the Ventilation File and this blog post is about how I changed my mind about it. The Ventilation File is a document (or a folder with a series of documents) where you go vent (hence the name) and dump your frustrations regarding your writing rut (if you are in one).
One of the challenges for new Drs is to move past thinking about the next project that they can do, a project that they can conceptualise as being something similar to the PhD. A singleton researcher working on a boundaried project with discrete publications and associated activities.
Academics are always worried about having their ideas ‘stolen’. This deep cultural anxiety affects PhD students more than almost any other member of the community. There’s a good reason why PhD students should be anxious about protecting their ideas – examination. A PhD is meant to be a signal that you’re fit to be a professional academic researcher, in charge of your own projects. One of the tests you must pass during examination is to have generated ‘original knowledge’ and done so ‘independently’.
I’ve only done NaNoWriMo once before, but I absolutely loved the experience! Not only did I manage to write a full 50k novel, but I also gained a lot of friends and knowledge about the craft of writing. Now I want to pass it on to you, by telling you how you can fulfill your Camp NaNoWriMo goals as a young writer.
How do you become a writer? After thirty years of writing and publishing dozens of books, and sharing more than one million words of instruction via blogging, here’s my easy answer.
Within the past few years university presses have been publishing some of the most exciting, critically acclaimed trade books around. Last year, for instance, three out of the ten books longlisted for a National Book Award for Nonfiction were published by university presses. West Virginia University Press, which puts out 18 to 20 books a year and is the state of West Virginia’s only book publisher, has earned the sort of recognition and media attention you’d typically expect from a hip new indie press or house ten times its size.