Lessons learned from false starts

unfinished puzzlesWe are all parts of various communities. The ones we physically live in. Our extended family is a community. You are part of an academic discipline which is an important group, as is where you work.

As a writer (even a beginner), you are part of a community. I do worry sometimes, that the writing community is made up a large group of individuals each on their own island. Each of us may be experiencing the same challenges and be suffering them in silence as we try to solve own our issues. Groups like TAA and this blog help address challenges. How do you create a writing schedule and stick to it? How do you approach revising your own work? When is your project “done” and ready for submission? [Read more…]

Seize the day

carpe diemThe Coronavirus or Covid-19 has changed the rules of the game for virtually all of us. I hope you and your family are staying safe and that there is a return to normalcy for all of us in the near future.

Until then, we have a lot of disruption to deal with. Perhaps sheltering in place at home, teaching online classes, family concerns, and much more. In the realm of writing, however, perhaps this is an opportunity instead of a concern. [Read more…]

Navigating “permanent whitewater”

permanent whitewaterI was listening to a podcast series by the National Association of Independent Schools called the Trustee Table (I highly recommend it by the way).  A guest on one episode used the term “permanent whitewater” in regard to what he was experiencing in his field.

The phrase has really stuck with me since I heard it. It applies in so many ways to so many aspects of what we are all experiencing. [Read more…]

A new page

everyday is a fresh startThe year (and decade) has changed and it’s time to start anew. I am sure lots of people have personal resolutions about self-improvement, health, work, and more. I wish you well with yours and hope to keep 50% or more of mine!

As the year begins, consider what to do with existing projects. If you are staring at a blank page or a new idea, then go in peace and good luck. Many of us, however, have research or writing projects in progress. This is a good time to take stock of their status and determine how to move forward. Of course, finishing them or getting them published seems like the obvious answer. But take a moment. [Read more…]

Cultivating your writing garden

cultivate your gardenI admit to being addicted to quotes. I have kept a list for years and it grows with each book I read. “Let us cultivate our garden,” is a well-known aphorism by Voltaire. It applies to so many areas of life: relationships, work, gardening, and of course, writing.

Quite a few authors or would-be authors I speak with feel unsure or uncertain about their writing and editing skills. I get it. Most authors have spent years honing their content mastery and little of their precious “free time” on becoming better writers or editors. [Read more…]

The changing nature of ye olde academic writing

classic booksLikely we all remember Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. It was written in the late 1300’s in Middle English. Here are the first few lines:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote

The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,    

And bathed every veyne in swich licour,        

Of which vertu engendred is the flour;          

Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth

Inspired hath in every holt and heeth

The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne

I am sure we are all flashing back to high school and suffering though this classic long work. Most of us read an updated version written in modern English, thankfully. Likely you remember the discussion of the evolution of language. [Read more…]

Can blogging help get you published?

blogging to publishedBlogging is often discussed and sometimes misunderstood, as it relates to academic publishing. Some people feel it takes away from valuable book or article writing time.  This can be true, depending on how disciplined (or not) a person is. Others feel the format is so free form that it does not help hone the skills of an academic writer.

I think blogging can be a valuable addition to your writing life. The blog can be professional, like my relatively new blog on scholarly publishing, or personal. Regardless, here are some reasons to consider blogging and how doing so may help get your work published: [Read more…]

Why we write

Why we writeWhy are you writing? Next week is Peer Review Week which makes this a great time to discuss what may seem like a simple question. Perhaps all peer review (or all writing endeavors) should start with Why.

To fully understand what drives your effort as a writer, ask yourself why you are embarking on writing that article, textbook, monograph, etc. Here are some reasons that I have heard in the past. [Read more…]

Stop and speak

read aloudI have been listening to a lot of audiobooks. Add these to the podcasts I subscribe to, and I have converted much of my leisure and professional “reading” to listening. In turn, I have come to appreciate a good narrator or speaker more than ever before.

What I have also become cognizant of is non-optimal writing. I have suggested for years to the authors I work with, to read all their work out loud. And yes, that includes scholarly journal articles and books. It can seem duplicative or even laborious, but it is very beneficial. [Read more…]

Open access is now: Good news or bad news?

open signAt the TAA Conference in Philadelphia this past month, I heard many comments about open access. They varied widely from support, to derision, to misunderstanding, to apathy.

First, what is open access? In its purest form, open access is offering or publishing material online, free of cost or barriers with an open license that removes most restrictions on use and reuse. The open access or OA movement has been around twenty plus years with its roots going back much farther than that. [Read more…]