Tech tools for the professional writer

In the winter edition of TAA’s newsletter, I shared with you the importance of having the right tools on hand for your career as a writer and provided a list of 32 tools in eight categories to get you started. If you missed that article, you can read it here.

In this article I highlight a few more tech tools with the goal of helping you find the tools that fit best in your belt! In these last weeks of summer, I encourage you to explore some of these tools that you may not have time to experiment with during the school year. You may just find that they can help you free up valuable time as the busy fall semester comes around again. [Read more…]

6 Takeaways from the TAA Writing Gym

TAA Writing Gym

Over the last six weeks, TAA Writing Gym members have had the opportunity to participate in six writing classes designed to help them with their writing, including creating goals, identifying their audience, getting their research organized, writing clearly, proofing and revising their work, and getting their work completed. Here is a takeaway from each of the six classes. [Read more…]

5 Rhetorical moves for writing abstracts

An article abstract is often the first thing that readers and reviewers see. Setting the right tone up front can impact whether your readers continue reading, influence the way the rest of your text is received, and, in terms of reviewers, it may determine whether your article is accepted to be published. What makes for a strong article abstract? What goes in and what stays out?

According to Mark Pedretti, Director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric at Claremont Graduate University, there is something very commonsensical about writing an abstract. In his webinar titled “How to Structure & Write an Article Abstract,” Pedretti recommends thinking of an abstract as a cognitive roadmap for your readers; it generates the expectations that are going to inform how the reader approaches the text. The abstract signals to the reader what to pay attention to and where to expect transition, organizing the reading experience before it ever takes place. [Read more…]

How a personal writing team can increase your productivity through accountability

Writing TeamAt the 2018 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM, panelists at three different career stages discussed how they came together to form a “personal writing team” that supports writing goals, productivity, and accountability. Unique to this group, said panelist Felicia Moore Mensah, an associate dean and faculty member at Teachers College, Columbia University, is the support that women of color can provide and need for increased mentorship for early career scholars.

The complete recording of their presentation, “A Personal Writing Team for Productivity and Accountability,” can be found in TAA’s library of Presentations on Demand. [Read more…]

3 Tips for writing an effective figure caption

Research with figureIn a recent post on constructing effective tables and figures, I noted the need for figures to include captions that “succinctly describe the accompanying content.” In this post, we will discuss the purpose of captions and how to write one that is effective.

It is important to remember that figures should be clearly understood, even in isolation from the rest of the manuscript. The caption provides an opportunity for the author to provide context and connection to the rest of the article, as it relates to the visual element. [Read more…]

Time and friendship and writing

friendship and writingAs I’ve chosen to reduce socializing in favor of more writing time, I’ve also chosen to keep up or reconnect with a very few friends and realize an essential characteristic of friendship: time doesn’t matter. However long the moments, weeks, or years between contacts, real friendship knows no steel-banded boundaries of time, distance, erratic mobile phone connections, or sporadic emails.

I recall a friend of twenty years ago who lived nearby, and I still cherish our many calls and visits. When we both moved, our interests diverged, and contact ended. [Read more…]

Exercises in writing accountability – The TAA Writing Gym

TAA Writing GymThe TAA Writing Gym has officially opened its doors for the first time and we are excited to announce that 173 TAA members have committed to a six-week workout regimen in writing accountability.

From July 16 through August 26, TAA Writing Gym participants will be held accountable for their weekly writing goals by logging hours as they work on their individual writing projects. To support and encourage their progress, the gym provides weekly motivational writing classes, writing stations filled with exclusive TAA resources, and a listserv for communication with other gym members. [Read more…]

A delicate balance: Humility and self-respect

FeedbackWhether you are a doctoral student wrestling the drafts of your dissertation or an academic author wrestling with the drafts of your book, you have encountered, or will, the often-intimidating presence and feedback of your chair or editor. As with any interpersonal relationship, it’s advisable to steer between abject obeisance and independent arrogance. Neither will get you what you want—approval of your dissertation or publication of your book.

In my academic editing and coaching profession, I suggest to clients that an optimum way to establish and maintain a good working relationship is a combination of humility and self-respect. Whatever your past accomplishments, humility before the perceived power of the chair or editor is required. [Read more…]

How to smash an unexpected block: When the writing’s going well

No negative thoughts allowedWe’ve all probably read articles about writer’s block that stumps and paralyzes, but several writers I know have experienced another unexpected and surprising block. One described it: “My fingers play the computer keyboard like a concert pianist, my pages pile up like gold. ‘Wow, I think, I’m gonna go all night!’”

Then he confessed, “‘Faster than a form rejection, more powerful than an editor’s frown, able to freeze me in a single flash, a horrible thought darkens my brain: I can’t stand it anymore!’”

What? The writing was going just too well. [Read more…]

Your writing accountability partner this summer: 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 free with your TAA membership, and is open to those writing textbooks, scholarly journal articles, and dissertations.

The gym will be open 24 hours from July 16-August 26, 2018. The deadline for signing up is July 9. [Read more…]