Reflect and reboot

reflect and rebootIn my part of the world, the days are short and bright, and the nights are long and dark. Without the screen of leaves, without colors from leaves and flowers, the brilliant blue sky draws my attention. Along with these seasonal changes, we can’t help but notice that we’re on the last page of the calendar. This is a time for reflection.

Let’s face it, in the pre-smartphone days we had small reflective moments now fractured by sound bites and fragments of news or photos of elementary school friends’ new babies. How can we pull away long enough to reconsider the proverbial big picture? [Read more…]

Quandaries in your academic project? Use your inner mentor

you as academic mentorMost of us probably had mentors in graduate school and may still maintain contact with them. But they may not be available every time we need their advice or guidance. I suggest that we all have a mentor that is always available, night and day, every season and semester, for every situation and circumstance.

The IM

This is your Inner Mentor (IM), also called your inner guide, self, voice, spirit, higher power, soul, subconscious, guidance system, intuition, even your heart or gut. It has more power than your department or committee chair, the dean of your school, and even the guy who issues your annual parking sticker. [Read more…]

AcWriMo 2018: A month in review

typing on a laptopEach November since 2011, academic writers from around the world have committed themselves to a month of forward progress in their personal academic writing efforts through an event known as AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month). To achieve greater levels of accountability and connectedness with other academics, many take to Twitter and other social media outlets to share their plans, challenges, accomplishments, and resources using the hashtag #AcWriMo.

While originally inspired by the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) concept, AcWriMo does not share the objective of completing a single project (i.e. a novel) in the 30 calendar days of November, but rather provides a means for focusing individuals on their own academic writing project(s) during that time. If you participated in AcWriMo 2018, we’d love to hear about your accomplishments in the comments below. If not, perhaps you can gain some inspiration from the documented efforts of others shared in this article. [Read more…]

From solo to global: AcWriMo

acwrimo - Twitter Search - mapWriting is usually a solitary activity. Staring at our monitors or notebooks, we wonder: is this brilliant or nuts? Is this straightforward and clear, or so simplistic that the reader will yawn? Have we written something that will entice the reader to follow our train of thought, or will they jump off with the next distraction? The way novelist Helen Garner described her work as a writer resonates with me:

the absolute inability, while you are working, to judge whether or not what you are doing has any value at all– thus the blind faith and grim stubbornness required in order to keep going; the episodes of elation, the occasional sense of hitting your stride, or of being in tune with the force that creates–the feeling that now you’ve got it, now you can’t put a foot wrong… [Read more…]

5 Surprising lessons for writers from the business world

Open for BusinessLike most writers, I keep bumping up against articles on how to treat my writing more like a business. And probably like many writers, I rebel at this advice, always trying to pry more time for the writing itself. But in an infrequent browse through an older business publication, I stumbled on an article that didn’t give me administrative agita. Even immersed in creative bliss, a writer can hardly resist the title: “Ten Traits That Make You Filthy-Rich” by Jeffrey Strain (TheStreet.com, February 1, 2008).

The five points I discuss here from Strain’s evergreen article  may be new to writers. The parallels remind us what we need to do not only to become rich (yes, it’s possible) but to stay true to our writing potential. (Strain’s traits are in italics.)   [Read more…]

Getting ready for #AcWriMo 2018

#AcWriMo 2018In a little over two weeks, we will begin our annual celebration of Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo) for the month of November. When Charlotte Frost at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) started the first #AcWriMo event in 2011, she “aimed to develop an event that would push her and her colleagues to work on their respective academic writing projects and create a writing ‘team’ among them and the wider global academic community.” (Source: Wikipedia)

During #AcWriMo 2018, TAA plans to continue this tradition of motivation and collaboration with a focus on the 5 W’s of Academic Writing. [Read more…]

Three unmistakable signs you need to revise

revisionBetween bouts of hating what we write, we may secretly admire our creations. And we’re entitled to. But there’s a difference between these feelings and excessive love of our own words. Such love blinds us to editorial blunders, judicious cutting, and revision, and reduces the possibilities of publication. [Read more…]

19 Reasons to start a journal

JournalingA journal is a time-honored writer’s tool to record and develop ideas, work out projects and plots, and save meaningful aphorisms and perfect overheard phrases. We can use a journal for these, other issues, and any aspect of our writing. Whether you’ve kept a journal for decades, or have never started one, consider these tips not only to help you write more but also to make your writing more effective. [Read more…]

First TAA Writing Gym receives high marks, participation

TAA Writing GymIn a survey of this summer’s TAA Writing Gym, 45% of respondents said they used the gym 2-4 days a week. “The TAA Writing Gym helped me move from writing sporadically to writing every day,” said one respondent. “My writing approach has improved as well since I am now thinking about my projects regularly and I can work through ways to approach topics even when I am not actively writing.” [Read more…]

Purdue global nondisclosure agreement runs roughshod over faculty rights

documentThe American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has released a copy of a four-page non-disclosure agreement that appears to be a condition of employment for Purdue Global employees, including instructional faculty, that states that any work product, including all course materials “or other intellectual property that arises in any part in the course of … employment at Purdue Global, is commissioned and owned by Purdue Global as a work-for-hire and may not be used, duplicated or distributed outside of Purdue Global.” [Read more…]