“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…]

5 Tips for strengthening your qualitative research and writing

Qualitative research methods allow investigators to go beyond merely counting how often something occurs or with how many individuals. Rather, they provide insights in to how or why certain actions are taken or the ways in which people interact with or interpret their lived experiences. This added richness can be critical to forming effective interventions to create behavior change, which is common in not just health and medicine but educational practice as well. Yet, many researchers are hesitant to journey into qualitative research beyond a few open-ended survey questions, due to concerns about qualitative research lacking the rigor and validity of quantitative studies. Although there are many approaches to qualitative research and the accepted norms for conducting and writing up this type of research can vary according to your academic discipline, the following five tips can help provide a solid foundation for starting your qualitative journey. [Read more…]

Jumpstart your writing productivity this fall: Join the TAA Writing Gym

Writing GymFlex your writing muscles in the TAA Writing Gym! This 6-week work-out-on-your-own gym time will serve as your writing accountability partner as you work to achieve your writing goals. The gym is open to those writing textbooks, scholarly journal articles, and dissertations.

Here’s what previous Writing Gym participants have had to say:

“The presentations are very inspiring. Over the last two weeks, I managed to complete and submit a manuscript that I stopped working on for 3 months now and to start the outline for my textbook.” – Andrea McDonald, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Prairie View A&M University, Department of Health and Kinesiology [Read more…]

The new academic year – Virtually the same as any other

virtual learningBy now the academic term is in effect at schools across the country. And it’s business as usual – well virtually, at least. There’s no doubt that amid the strange circumstances of this pandemic year, a lot has changed in the way academia is operating. Socially distanced classrooms, masked faces throughout the hallways, limited gatherings on campus, and new methods of course delivery to support faculty and learners who remain off campus are just a few of the changes seen as we start the new academic year.

Despite all this change, the new academic year is still an academic year and we still have the business of teaching, learning, and scholarly writing to attend to along the way. So, here are five suggestions to maintain a virtually successful academic practice. [Read more…]

Write a syllabus for yourself

write a syllabus for yourselfIt’s that time of year when faculty are revising syllabi for the classes they teach and students are reviewing those documents in an effort to understand the expectations for the semester ahead. Academia is fueled by the course syllabus that serves to establish intended outcomes, the path by which they will be met, and the consequences of not meeting them.

Unfortunately, the syllabi that we engage with do little (beyond assigned projects) to guide and encourage our academic writing practice. So, if you have academic writing goals that are not tied to a particular course – whether finishing a thesis or dissertation or continuing your academic publishing career – consider writing a syllabus for yourself this semester.

Here are seven things you may want to include to keep yourself motivated throughout the semester ahead. [Read more…]

Too tired to write?

Do you often find you’re too tired to write? If so, you’re suffering from a widespread malady: Too Tired to Write Syndrome (TTWS). I know it well. Late at night, after three hours of primetime soaps/CIA adventures/sports/reality shows/80s reruns, we solemnly promise ourselves we’ll tackle our latest writing project early the next day. Or we solemnly assure ourselves, early in the new morning and jolted by a surge of caffeinated joy, we’ll write later today between 3:00 and 4:00.

But then . . . our promise to ourselves to write drowns in the rest of our lives. With all we have to do, we’re just too tired. [Read more…]

11 Aspects of clear academic writing

scholarly writingIn a recent TAA webinar, professional coach Caroline Eisner shared ways to write clearly across academic disciplines. Specifically, she discussed the components of clear academic writing and how these components apply to the discourse conventions across the disciplines.

Below is a summary of eleven aspects Eisner identified as essential to producing clear academic writing across the disciplines. [Read more…]

Conducting online research

conducting researchOn June 26th, TAA hosted an #AcWriChat Tweetchat event focused on online research strategies. Resources were shared relative to conducting online research, specifically on validating sources, collecting primary source data, qualitative and quantitative research practices, and online research tools.

Below is a summary of the discussion. [Read more…]

Writing stalled? Send yourself a letter

Letter to yourselfWhen I scanned the mail the other day, one letter caught my eye. I couldn’t quite place the handwriting and tore open the letter. To my shock, I saw I’d written it to myself.

Maybe I should have recognized my own handwriting, but it was like seeing yourself reflected in a window. Even though certain aspects look familiar, we often don’t have a clear picture of what we look like—or write like.

Three weeks earlier, I’d received a rejection for a particularly important writing project. After I poured out my despondency to a friend, she suggested writing a letter to myself venting my frustrations, extolling my virtues, and declaring my writing goals and mailing the letter without a second glance or draft. It should be postal mail, she emphasized—email wasn’t quite the same. I thought this idea a little hokey, but desperate followed her advice. [Read more…]

Jumpstart your writing productivity this summer: Join the TAA Writing Gym

Writing GymFlex your writing muscles in the TAA Writing Gym! This 6-week work-out-on-your-own gym time will serve as your writing accountability partner as you work to achieve your writing goals. The gym is open to those writing textbooks, scholarly journal articles, and dissertations.

Here’s what previous Writing Gym participants have had to say:

“The writing gym was fantastic. It raised my commitment to writing productively.”

“I loved the opportunity to change my writing habits. Now I am feeling guilty if I don’t at least find 30 minutes to work on a project!”

The gym will be open 24/7 from July 20-August 29, 2020. Gym time includes:

  • A TAA Writing Gym-branded writing journal
  • Weekly inspirational emails
  • Six on-demand writing classes
  • Several writing stations that allow you to target specific writing areas
  • A participation certificate (view sample)

At the end of each week you’ll be asked to share your accomplishments for weekly prize drawings.

Members: $49
Non-Members: $99 (includes a one-year TAA membership)

The deadline for signing up is July 13. We hope you’ll join us!