2020 – looking back, looking forward

Good bye 2020Regardless of the plans you started the year 2020 with, it’s likely a safe assumption to say that things didn’t go as planned. But as we close out the year that was, we want to share with you some of the highlights from TAA that have kept us going strong and remaining optimistic for an even brighter future ahead with you in 2021.

Despite the unexpected events and disruptions the pandemic brought to the world around us, TAA has continued to serve the textbook and academic writing community by maintaining our long-standing tradition of quality programs and resources while finding new opportunities to adapt to the changing environment, offer more online services, and develop new membership benefits for the years ahead. [Read more…]

7 Time management strategies to begin, keep working on, and complete your projects

life will not waitProcrastination is a term applied to putting things off until later, but what can we do about it? In a recent TAA webinar, “Seven Time Management Strategies to Begin, Keep Working On, and Complete Your Projects“, academic writing coach, editor, and author of How to Become an Academic Coach, Mary Beth Averill shared seven proven strategies for getting started, keeping at it, and finishing our projects.

While she did an excellent job providing practical advice on implementing each of the seven strategies – life management, seeing yourself as a writer, saying no, scheduling, getting started, following through, and finishing – she supported those strategies with insightful quotes from her faculty writers group that may provide bite-sized pearls of wisdom to help you begin, keep working on, and complete your projects. [Read more…]

2 Key systems for juggling multiple writing projects

sticky notesAre you an academic author who is working on multiple projects at the same time? If so, you understand the challenges associated with keeping track of all the pieces for each project in order to meet individual submission deadlines.

In her recent TAA webinar, “Juggling Multiple Writing Projects…and Completing ALL of Them“, Christine Tulley, author of How Writing Faculty Write and career advice columnist for Inside Higher Education, shared two key systems to log all stages of all of the projects and schedule writing time for each to aid in multiple writing project management. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 24, 2020

“I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.” ~Peter De VriesAs we near the end of 2020, a year filled with disruption, change, and challenges resulting from the pandemic, inspiration can be hard to come by. It’s in these times that we must rely on our identified goals, routine practices, and positive experiences to move forward and stay the course. Peter De Vries summarized his writing habit as follows, “I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.”

Whether a daily routine or simply a mindset of perseverance in weathering the storms that have been and are sure to come in the future, success will be found in finding your own writing inspiration. As we see in this week’s collection of articles, we’re all facing challenges together – some new and some old – but the only way forward is through.

This week, reflect on what you have been able to sustain throughout 2020, what you want to achieve in the new year ahead, and which voices in your circle (or your own head) are ones that you should listen to in an effort to move forward with your writing efforts. Then move forward and we’ll get through this period of disruption, change, and challenges – together. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Using your textbook as the foundation for an online course

How to Use Any Textbook as the Foundation for an Online CourseIn a recent TAA webinar titled, “How to Use Any Textbook as the Foundation for an Online Course“, mathematics textbook author Pat McKeague shared a process for building an online course from textbook content and associated ancillaries.

As many instructors found themselves forced into online learning environments as a result of the pandemic in 2020, quick, but effective, transition of teaching methods through online courses became an essential skill. Using examples from his own publishing company, XYZ Textbooks, McKeague demonstrated the benefits of using LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) to integrate an electronic textbook into an LMS (Learning Management System) to develop a foundation course and then expand upon that foundation by having instructors “put yourself in it”. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 18, 2020

"As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand." ~Ernest HemingwayErnest Hemingway once said, “As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.” In our academic writing, there are certainly a number of places where understanding is important.

Seen in this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we must understand how to develop a first draft, what questions we need to answer to move forward, what our research data tells us, what makes writing worthwhile, how to maintain a productive schedule, how to balance work with periods of rest, how to survive through crisis, and the general state of the publishing industry.

Without judgement of yourself or others, as we begin to close out the year that was 2020 in the back half of December, reflect on your academic writing efforts, not with judgement, but with understanding of what has been, what is, and what you hope will be moving forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

How to use your academic break to improve your writing productivity

stretch and take a breakAcademia works in regular patterns of intensive study and classwork followed by scheduled breaks between or in the middle of academic terms. Whether your institution works on a traditional semester system with breaks between the spring, summer, and fall semesters or on a year-round or quarterly system with breaks strategically scheduled throughout the year, it is important to use these breaks in a way that they can improve your productivity and move you forward.

In this article, I offer two suggestions for using breaks, like the winter break beginning now for most of our readers as we close out 2020, to improve your writing productivity either during or following the break. The advice depends on your regular practice during the academic year. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 11, 2020

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." ~John SteinbeckJohn Steinbeck once said, “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” There’s much more to successful writing than ideas, though. We must be able to handle them.

In this week’s collection of posts from around the web, we found some ideas for handling ideas like focusing on process, a shared peer-review taxonomy, revising like a reader, fostering trust, getting confident with statistics, subscribing to open, and making the most of the time you have for writing. We also look ahead to the holidays and new year with posts on changes to journal impact factor, increasing work-life balance, strategic actions for productive writing, and thoughtful gifts for writers.

We hope that you find inspiration in the posts below that help you to turn your ideas into published manuscripts. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Welcome new members to TAA: November 2020

Welcome to TAAWith membership in TAA, you are not alone. You become part of a diverse community of textbook and academic authors with similar interests and goals. We are pleased to announce the addition of 18 new TAA members who joined us in November 2020.  [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 4, 2020

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself." ~Albert CamusWhat’s your purpose as an academic author? According to Albert Camus, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Our work as academic and textbook authors can have significant influence on our colleagues, our field, and society at large. So, do you know your purpose? And, are you fulfilling it?

We begin this week’s collection of articles from around the web with questions that probe the concept of purpose as researchers and authors. We then explore topics of support for our writing, pursuit of relevance, societal impact, and trust & credibility. Our list continues with practical advice on writing practices including note-taking, scheduling, literature review, perseverance, visual communications, writing groups, and a recognition that today is yet another opportunity to do more and to do better.

This week I challenge you to define (or refine) your purpose as an academic author and align your writing practice with that purpose for the remainder of 2020 and into the new year. Happy writing! [Read more…]