Be Good to Yourself

By John Bond

We have all read the stories about mental health over the past few years, particularly in the wake of COVID (not that it is gone). Whether articles about depression, anxiety, loneliness, or other challenges, mental health has been elevated in our national discourse. Thankfully.

All of that being said, mental health can have an effect on your writing, in both directions. Lack of progress, a false start, a problematic co-author, or movement in the wrong direction can hit a writer hard. It can cause one to question the work they are doing, or just stop.

The Value of Continued Connections

By John Bond

Writing, to many, is solitary work. Research, as well, can connote time by yourself spent interpreting data, not to mention the time spent on the literature review. When it comes time to submit for publication, there are numerous hours of combing over your writing for accuracy and grammar. Then checking proofs prior to publication.

All of this adds up to time alone. Many academics, by nature, are solo people. Not all, but some. They understand the heavy lifting the individual has to do. Don’t get me wrong. I have met some big personalities in writing and publishing that love to talk. But they may not be, hmm, the rule.

Do Side Writing Projects Sideline Your Book Project?

By John Bond
Journal articles. Grant proposals. Book chapters. White papers. Blog posts for a friend. Contributions to the university newsletter. Alumni magazine articles.

There are lots of “opportunities” or requests from colleagues and friends to write. As you develop in your career, the number will increase, especially if you can deliver. On time and with the expected results. But there may come a day when you will have a contract for your own textbook or monograph. Then things will all be on your shoulders.

And the other writing request will keep on coming. Is this a good thing? Do they help or hinder the book project? As with most questions, the answer is that it depends.

Choosing a Knowledge Level for Your Target Reader

Your research is done. You have been thinking about getting down to writing for a while. You have decided on your format (e.g., poster presentation, peer review journal article, monograph, textbook). Maybe you have a target publisher or website in mind.

Before you start to write, think about your target reader (or conference attendee or book customer) and what their level of knowledge is. This may seem like a given but take a moment.

Consider Creating a ‘Commonplace Book’ to Inspire, Remind, and Refresh You and Your Writing

A Commonplace Book is a way to compile knowledge important to you. It can become a valued snapshot of you and your interests as you grow in your life and career. I was keeping a Commonplace Book for decades and didn’t realize I was doing it!

Commonplace Books might include quotations, connections to important literature or sources, meaningful articles, key data, journals (personal or professional), your curriculum vitae, and any other centralized information. They are often informal and may sit on your desktop, in the cloud, in your notes program, or maybe even in your In Box.