A new page

The 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.

Cultivating your writing garden

I 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.

The changing nature of ye olde academic writing

Likely 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.

Can blogging help get you published?

Blogging 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:

Why we write

Why 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.