Need help with a writing project? Sign up for a one-hour editing or coaching session from TAA

What could you do with one hour of editing or coaching?

TAA members can apply to receive a one-hour editing or coaching session from one of our professional editor or coach partners. You can accomplish a lot in one hour! Get a partial copyedit or developmental edit of several pages of your academic journal article or book chapter, or receive one-on-one coaching to help you over a hurdle with your project.

Members must be in good standing to apply for a session. Applications are being accepted between September 1 and December 31. The September application deadline is the 30th and sessions will be awarded October 11. Learn more or apply

Scholars, balance between humility and self-respect

Whether you’re a doctoral student wrestling with the drafts of your dissertation or an academic author wrestling with the drafts of your article or book, you probably 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 scholarly work.

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. Not that you must kowtow; they’ll know you’re toadying. Some students and authors have stellar long-term experience, titles, and positions, and likely make more annually than their chairs or editors, not to mention owning lavish summer homes. Nevertheless, humility is called for with the dissertation chair or editor. Not easy, I know.

Why thank the editor?

Craving publication, we may view journal editors as the enemy, obstructing our fame, fortune, and at least one publication. And when the acceptance finally arrives (and with relentless perseverance, it will), we rejoice, send out email blasts to everyone we know, and reply to world-renowned conference directors with gracious replies. Before all this, though, we should do one thing that’s both considerate and diplomatic: thank the editor.

This action makes sense for several sound reasons:

How to shut down your inner editor

It can blare out while you’re working on any piece, anytime, anywhere. You’re writing along like butter, and suddenly a stomach-wrenching jolt slams you up against a concrete wall. That thunderous voice in your head rebukes: “THAT’S THE WORST, MOST HORRIBLE, STUPID PHRASE SINCE . . . .” And you’re paralyzed.

Take heart. Such a message doesn’t have to plunge you into a full block. Recognize it for what it is—your ever-present inner editor, often old programming, maybe residue of parental strictures, telling you that you shouldn’t be writing, you’ll never be a writer, and you might as well go sell burner phones (if that’s not your day job already).

Strategies for revising and editing

During our last #AcWriChat Tweetchat event on June 12th, we discussed the difference between revision and editing in addition to strategies for completing both of these essential elements of the academic writing process. Chat participants Marc Ouellette and Sonal Mehta added their perspectives to the discussion.

Below is a summary of the ideas and resources presented during the event.