Rejecting the premise of writer’s block: Write your way out

When you talk with academic writers about productivity, you are likely to hear the term ‘writer’s block’. Despite the prevalence of this term, I am resistant to identifying common academic writing difficulties as writer’s block. Most writers who are struggling with their writing are actually struggling with their thinking. That isn’t just a semantic quibble: it matters that we grasp exactly what is inhibiting our writing processes. When we diagnose ourselves as having writer’s block, we can start to believe that we aren’t currently able to write. If you find yourself with a sore leg, it may well be that avoiding walking is a sound strategy. If you find yourself unable to write, might it be a sound strategy to avoid writing? The answer to that question is almost always no. Not writing has little-to-no curative power, in my experience. [Read more…]

4/25 TAA Webinar: ‘How to Structure and Write an Article Abstract’

Mark PedrettiWhat makes for a strong article abstract? How much is too much, not enough, and just right? What goes in and what stays out? The abstract to your article is often the first thing that readers and reviewers see, and setting the right tone up front can influence the way the rest of your text is received. Join us Wednesday, April 25 from 3-4 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar, “How to Structure and Write an Article Abstract”,  presented by Mark Pedretti, Director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric at Claremont Graduate University. [Read more…]

Get back on track: 4 types of writing stalls and how to recover

Stopping dominoes from fallingHave one or more of your writing projects seemed to stall? Do you have a project that needs finishing, but continues to be pushed aside? The good news is you’re not alone. The even better news is there are ways to identify what is keeping the project unfinished and to either move it forward or out of the way.

In her recent TAA webinar, Get Your Stalled Writing Project Back on Track, Joli Jensen, author of Write No Matter What: Advice for Academics, suggested that we “shift our attitude” regarding stalls and “acknowledge that stalls happen and are a natural part of the writing process.” By doing so, we can better identify the type of stall we are facing and apply structured techniques to overcome the stall. To help with this process, Jensen identified four types of writing stalls and methods for overcoming each. [Read more…]

5 Key principles for a sustainable writing practice

Why write? The old adage, “publish or perish” is alive and well, and there can be negative career consequences resulting from not publishing. In addition, writing and publishing bring career-enhancing rewards, visibility among our peers locally, nationally, and, even, internationally, and, as Boice (1990) underscores, writing is a form of “self-education.”

The expectation that faculty write and publish presents a number of challenges, not the least of which is fitting writing in with the other [Read more…]

32 Tech tools you want in your 2018 writer’s toolbox

When you hire a professional to do any work, you not only expect them to have the knowledge and experience necessary for the job, you also expect them to have the right tools. For example, if a carpenter showed up to the job site without a saw, you might question their abilities. By the same token, there is more than one type of saw available and having the right saw for the job is equally important. [Read more…]

My life as an alt-academic

writingI learned the term alt-academic (or alt-ac for the trendy) only recently. A colleague told me she wanted to do a book on PhDs who chose not to join “the academy.” In today’s economic climate, university positions for academics with advanced degrees seem more coveted and harder to get than ever. So they seek alt employment.

An Almost Evergreen Topic

The topic is hardly new and continues to be viable. In 2001, the first edition of So What Are You Going to Do With That? Finding Careers Outside Academia by Susan Basalla May, PhD, and Maggie Debelius, PhD, was published, and the third edition came out in 2014. [Read more…]

TAA #AcWriChat re-caps on getting organized, writing productivity, and more!

acwrimoJoin TAA on Twitter every other Friday at 11 a.m. ET for a series of Tweet Chats to exchange ideas and resources about academic writing and publishing using the hashtag #AcWriChat. See a recap of past Tweet Chat events:

11/3 Tweet Chat – Getting organized
11/17 Tweet Chat – Writing productivity
12/1 Tweet Chat – Finalizing and publishing your work
1/12 Tweet Chat – Setting goals and planning a writing project
1/26 Tweet Chat – Making time to write within the busy-ness of work & life
2/9 Tweet Chat – Being productive writers
2/23 Tweet Chat – Getting feedback while work is in progress [Read more…]

#AcWriChat TweetChat: Not on Twitter? Watch live here on 2/23 at 11 a.m. ET

acwrimoJoin TAA on Twitter on Friday, February 23 at 11 a.m. ET using the hashtag #AcWriChat for our latest TweetChat focused on getting feedback while work is in progress.

Not on Twitter? Not sure what a “Tweet Chat” is? Follow us here (you won’t be able to actively participate, but you will be able to follow the chat live).

[Read more…]

When is a manuscript finished?

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.” ~Anne LamottOne of my favorite books on writing is Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. I reread this profound book the other day. I was struck by two points; one small and one big. The small one was about how quaint it sounds in the pre-email and pre-digital era. The big one is how it has endless great advice on nearly every page. Most writers would fare well with dissecting it and following many of the precepts the author sets forth.

One of the top quotes I repeat from the book (along with countless others) is “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.” [Read more…]

2/20 TAA Webinar: “Get Your Stalled Writing Back on Track”

Write No Matter WhatJoli JensenSometimes writing projects, no matter how worthwhile or necessary, lose momentum. Stalled projects can become albatrosses, draining our energy and keeping us trapped.

Join us Tuesday, February 20 from 2-3 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Get Your Stalling Writing Project Back on Track,” presented by Joli Jenson, author of Write No Matter What: Advice for Academics. In this one-hour webinar, you’ll learn structured techniques to figure out the best way to deal with your stalled writing project, as well as strategies and support for recommitting to, reframing or appropriately relinquishing your stalled project. This makes it possible for you to move forward with a project you truly want to write. [Read more…]