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…]

Kick off your summer writing program with TAA’s June writing conference

2018 TAA ConferenceLooking for inspiration and structure for your summer writing projects? Look no further. TAA’s 31st Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference features veteran authors, industry professionals, and intellectual property attorneys who can provide strategies and guidance on how to move forward with your writing projects to reach your publication goals. Join us at La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, NM, June 15-16 and prepare to be inspired. [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…]

Scholarly Kitchen founder Kent Anderson to keynote at 2018 TAA Conference

Kicking off TAA’s 2018 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference this year is keynoter Kent R. Anderson, CEO of RedLink, a past-President of the Society for Scholarly Publishing, and the founder of “The Scholarly Kitchen” blog. In his keynote, Anderson will discuss how scholarly practices are of critical importance as we face an information economy that has become increasingly overwhelmed with self-interested distortions of fact presented on an equal footing with facts and research findings. As the current environment evolves, scholars who seek to express and share findings based in observable reality are increasingly challenged or, worse, dismissed. He will argue the need for new approaches, governance, and practices by researchers, educators, and publishers in order to preserve quality information, the relevance of science, and the ascendancy of objective reality.
[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…]

Become the master of your writing universe

We are all up against a relentless stream of competing demands when we are trying to write. These demands often seem urgent, and while they can be compelling and tantalizing, they also represent ever-present obstacles to getting our writing done. To combat this problem, and better enable yourself to achieve your writing goals, author, professor, and writing coach Kathleen P. King suggests that you become the master of your writing universe.  [Read more…]

Timesaving tech tip: Customize and create styles for consistent, instant document formatting

I’ve got my own writing style. I’m sure you do too. Regardless, you likely have editors, publishers, and/or teachers who insist on specific style requirements that can be quite tedious and time-consuming to apply on a document by document basis.

Timesaving tip: Customize and create styles for consistent and instant formatting. [Read more…]

Exploring new terrain: Mentoring academic authors across the pond

Erin McTigue is exploring new terrain, recently embarking on a unique adventure in her academic career. After resigning her post as an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University and Associate Director of Texas A&M’s POWER writing services program, this fall Erin stepped into the position of Associate Professor II at the National Reading Education and Research Center of Norway, within the University of Stavanger. A full-time, flexible position, Erin will split her time between working remotely from her home in Texas and traveling to Norway for a few weeks each quarter.

In addition to conducting her own research and academic writing projects, Erin will present writing workshops, facilitate writing retreats, and work one-on-one with graduate students and junior faculty to help them create their optimal writing practices. [Read more…]

Time to register for TAA’s 31st Annual Conference

Join us in Santa Fe, New Mexico for TAA’s 31st Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference. Early registration is now open!

TAA’s conference will be held on June 15-16 at the beautiful La Fonda on the Plaza, a 4-Diamond luxury hotel located on the historic Santa Fe Plaza. The recently renovated hotel combines elegance and old world charm with the splendor of the American Southwest to provide a truly memorable Santa Fe experience. [Read more…]