Are you good enough?

writing doubtWe all have a little voice inside our head. Sometimes it is a coach, or a bully, or a nag, or a guide. The voice can be the driving force behind some of our decisions, fortunately or unfortunately. It can guide relationships, career choices, and inevitably, our writing.

Writing, editing, and researching are solitary pursuits by nature. They can be driven forward by passion and curiosity, or promoted by achieving greater heights. But they can also be way laid by self-doubt. [Read more…]

“Write Every Day!” Is it realistic?

writing desk with calendarThere is a lot of writing advice from many sources; much of it great. “Make time to write every day” is a common thread. I have suggested myself. But is it possible?

There is no shortage of items vying for your time: work, grades, committee meetings, office hours, social media, kids, chores, life! How can it be possible to shoehorn the important task of writing into a bulging schedule, let alone seven days a week?

The spirit of this advice is this: see writing as a priority and make and stick to a schedule. [Read more…]

Feedback: Ah, just right

A woman seated on a bed sampling foodsUndoubtedly, we all know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The part I have in mind, is when Goldilocks seeks equilibrium: porridge neither too hot nor cold and a bed neither too soft nor too hard.

Many authors seek out feedback or opinions on their work before submission. Of course, peer review will yield comments and likely things to change or address. All this feedback has value, but it is important to cast it in the right light. [Read more…]

Revision as the road to success

successful revisionThe creation of great content (whether a book, journal article, dissertation, or something else) involves many stages. These stages include: concept creation and formulation, initial research or investigation, the actual research, gathering information and data, outlining the communications, writing the first draft, revising your writing, feedback from others, additional revisions, final checks, submissions, and release or publication. Revising your work might be the most crucial (and overlooked) step in the process.

Some may view it as drudgery. “I did all that research and writing and now I have to check the grammar!” I suggest you abandon this mindset and embrace the revision stage as critical to the acceptance of your work (in both senses) and having it make an impact with the reader. [Read more…]

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…]