Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 6, 2022
Academic writing is a process with many parts. Whether writing a journal article, a dissertation, or a book, it is an investment of time, a research process, and involves various challenges and opportunities from idea to publication. To be successful, we must find the right content, audience, and resources to bring the project to completion.
One way to move a project along is to maintain a focused approach. Perhaps try the one Elmore Leonard uses who said, “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” You also may find value in the articles we’ve collected on meeting deadlines, improving your writing, facing rejection, defending yourself against predatory publishers, and more.
Wherever you are in your current writing project, face the challenges, embrace the opportunities, and leave out the parts that people skip. Happy writing!
A unique cafe in Japan has been drawing attention in recent weeks. The Manuscript Writing Cafe offers little by way of food or drink (just self-service coffee or tea), but what it does offer is concentration and motivation for writers struggling to finish their work. Patrons pay a small hourly fee and write down their goals (and how strictly they want them enforced) as they enter. Services include an hourly check-in or having someone stand silently behind you as you work. The catch is that patrons are not allowed to leave until they’ve met their goals.
To become a skilled writer you need to pour blood, sweat, and tears into your craft for years—and no amount of good advice will get you there overnight. That said, if you’re here, chances are you’ve already started your journey and you’re now looking to level up your writing skills.
Every journal article is expected to make a contribution. The writer has to say something that adds to the conversation about the particular topic in the target journal. And through this addition, they participate in the discussion in the field. If a journal article does not offer a contribution, or if the contribution is not new or is not significant, then it runs the risk of being rejected. New and significant, that’s the thing to note today. Editors say that a common reason for rejection is that the writer has nothing new or significant to offer.
The barriers to getting a book published have never been lower, and the consequence of this reality—that anyone can publish a book—is that predatory bad actors come out of the woodwork, and would-be authors must be on guard.
I have no idea how the game of geopolitics is played, especially against a backdrop of nuclear weaponry; it is like watching a chess game played by grandmasters, one of whom is bound to lose in the end. What has caught my attention is how the research community is being brought into this game. Research and researchers are now being weaponized as assuredly as digital networks and a chunk of uranium. This is not, as far as I can determine, how researchers like to think of themselves and their work. After all, what is the meaning of academic freedom when the academy is itself put to work for the benefit of an imperial power determined to hold sway over another imperial power?
While book sizes may seem like more of an aesthetic choice, consider the following ways your book size influences the context it is placed in:
- Whether it fits well in a backpack or purse
- How word count affects thickness
- How it lays on a coffee table
- Shelf space at bookstores
These factors may seem nonconsequential until further thought is put into them.