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

Never Give UpA common theme has surfaced throughout this week in various places. Perhaps it’s that we’re at that point in January where many are giving up on their New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps it’s because in my academic circles most students are past the point of getting their money back for the semester. Perhaps it’s because there are so many reasons to quit and so many opportunities to start something new in the modern world. Whatever the reason, perhaps you’ve figured out that the theme that has emerged this week is perseverance.

Our collection of articles from around the web share this theme as well – whether you are working to finish an article or dissertation, are considering innovative research with inherent risks, or you’re battling bureaucratic obstructions in your pursuits. Whatever challenges you are facing this week – never give up – PERSEVERE!

Olympic gold medalist, Kerry Walsh, once said, “That wall is your mind playing a trick on you. You just need to say, ‘One more step, I can do this; I have more in me.’ You will be so proud of yourself once you push yourself past your threshold.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #2: Complexity

complexityAlbert Einstein is credited with saying, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” If this is true, why does it seem that academic writing is distinguished by complexity?

In this second discussion on the distinguishing features of academic writing, we aimed to understand why complexity is not only present, but acceptable in academic writing, and the challenges and benefits of reducing complexity while maintaining academic rigor. [Read more…]

First steps for a second edition

Doing Qualitative Research OnlineIt’s time for a new edition of Doing Qualitative Research Online! At SAGE, that decision isn’t an automated step. The decision is thoroughly considered and vetted. I had several meetings with my excellent acquisitions editor, then created a proposal which was sent out for review. Comments from reviewers were discussed in further conversations, and we came to an agreement.

Now I have to do the work. How should I start? Every time I write a book, I am determined to avoid problems encountered in past projects. No matter how hard I try, I end up with some degree of frenzy at the end. To lay a positive foundation, here are the questions I am exploring and the steps I am taking: [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #1: Precision

precision - pencil line being drawn with ruler on paperDuring the course of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) in November 2019, we explored five distinguishing features of academic writing – the first of which being precision.

What does it mean to write with academic precision? In this article, we recap the event where we sought the answer to this question. During the discussion, we also explored the importance of academic precision and the effects of word choice, active voice, redundancy, and organization on the goal of precision in our manuscripts. [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…]

4 Paths to writing productivity and publication success

writing successIn his 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Organizing for Writing Productivity and Publication Success”, history author Kenneth Campbell shared organizational advice and tips based on his personal writing experience.  

Specifically, Campbell offered strategies and techniques for research and writing, time management, working with editors and publishers, and responding to peer review criticisms throughout the writing process. In conclusion, he encouraged participants to “focus on the contribution you are making to educating and enriching the lives of others” if the goal is success. [Read more…]

Finding your writing niche

Writing is like growing up. From babyhood, we learn to crawl (= write junk), wobble half-upright (= write a little less junk), walk in spurts (= write much less junk), run a little (= write more of what really is us), and finally gain balance to walk and run at will (= write in our true voice).

In life, if we could jump into adulthood from childhood or even early adolescence without living through each previous stage, we’d save much time and angst. In writing too, imagine learning enough from watching, reading, and hearing about others’ experiences, mistakes, misguided decisions, and failings so we wouldn’t have to experience them at all. But, unfortunately or fortunately, we have to experience it all. [Read more…]

Reflecting on 2019

pen sitting on writing journalBefore we set down our pens on the year that has past and turn the page in our journals to the new one ahead, we offer a final post for 2019. 

It’s been a busy year for us here at the Textbook & Academic Authors Association. Nearly 600 new textbook and academic authors have joined us, 11 webinars were hosted, 31 textbook awards were given, about 150 members convened in Philadelphia for our annual conference, 29 TweetChat events were held, and more than 200 new articles were published on the blog.

As we look forward to the exciting things on the horizon for 2020 and beyond, we want to take a moment to reflect on some of the things that made 2019 great at TAA. [Read more…]

7 Ways to maintain a writing practice between academic terms

live. breathe. create.During our final #AcWriChat TweetChat event of 2019 on Twitter, December 13th, we focused our discussion on ways to maintain a writing practice between academic terms. Now in the final week of the year, amidst the holiday season, in the middle of most academic breaks, we wanted to share the list of TAA article resources included in that event.  

If you’re looking for a little inspiration to boost your productivity, adjust your routine, focus on your writing efforts, or enjoy a little break from the academic term, there’s surely something below for you in these seven ways to maintain a writing practice between academic terms. [Read more…]

Take some time away from work to work

Take some time away from work to workWe often think of the December-January holiday break as the midpoint of the academic year. Faculty need recuperative time to gear up for the semester or term, for course planning, fine-tuning, or writing syllabi.

But, what about your own writing projects? In early December, many of my clients need to step away from their daily writing practice to dive into their grading, with final grade deadlines looming. We talk about scheduling for the first week of January, and then we talk about how it will be more likely the second week of January before they sit down to begin writing again. In fact, I start to get a little nervous for them, because I know that come the second week of January, for many of them, the course planning and syllabus fine-tuning will take place that did not happen after the grading in December. And, that is okay. I get it.

However, as you look ahead to classes beginning again in mid-to-late January, what about your own writing? Does it stress you out? If it does, let’s do this instead. [Read more…]