Project management: Two free tools to increase efficiency in your writing projects

Project management was originally developed for civil engineering, but even if you are writing a book instead of building a bridge, there are useful approaches to borrow that will improve your work flow. In a previous article, I described that within project management, tools can be roughly divided into “project definition tools” and “implementation tools.” Project definition tools are those that help you determine the scope, the tasks, and the budget (i.e., time), whereas implementation tools are those that help you conduct the work. Here, I focus on the latter, and present two tools from the lens of project management for writing. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 22, 2021

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.What a week! As we seemingly race to the end of the first month of a new year, most new academic terms are in full swing and this week in the US it has been a week of emotion and words for many. The week began with the celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and peaked at midday on Wednesday with the inauguration of the 46th president, Joe Biden. Through it all, one thing is certain – words matter, your voice as an academic author matter, your contribution to the education of our society matters.

King once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Are you meeting this goal in your education or the education of others through your work? In this week’s collection of articles, we share advice on restarting an unfinished book, getting your “Creator” and “Editor” on the same page, and how “Words Matter”. We continue with practical strategies for hypotheses, use of ethnographic field notes, and facilitating group discussions online. Then we close with industry and social interests related to publishing, sharing your research with others, and perspectives amidst the ongoing pandemic.

As you approach the week ahead, know that words matter and, more specifically, your words matter. Choose them wisely. Think intensively. Think critically. And build both intelligence and character through your words. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Busy TAA People: Steve Barkan

Critical CriminologySteven BarkanAn article by TAA member and former Council President Steve Barkan, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at UMaine, and Michael Rocque, Associate Professor of Sociology at Bates College and a UMaine sociology alumnus, received the 2020 Outstanding Contribution Award from the Division of Biopsychosocial Criminology of the American Society of Criminology.

The article, published in Critical Criminology in 2018, is entitled, “Socioeconomic Status and Racism as Fundamental Causes of Street Criminality” [26(2):211-231]

The Award recognizes an outstanding contribution (journal article or book) in the field of biopsychosocial criminology by a scholar who has completed their Ph.D.

Round up all those stampeding ideas

lots of ideasDo ideas flood your brain like a herd gone wild? Do you flail around, physically and metaphorically, trying to corral them and drive them into the barn? Are you going mad trying to figure out how to use them all?

I am almost constantly barraged by ideas for essays, stories, poems, novel slivers, quirky descriptions, and metaphoric pearls. Ideas surface everywhere: as I edit clients’ manuscripts, wash dishes, huff through workouts, wait on line, watch people, meditate, fall asleep, and even during tactful small talk at business dinners.

All the deluging ideas used to make me groan. Sometimes I’d even feel envious of writers who complained about their sparse fits of inspiration. I’d grouse internally that my ideas never seemed to stop. How would I ever get to them all, much less organize them or make something of them? Most would end up in a mass of ragged notes or on scraps stuffed under the scanner. [Read more…]

Put your dream of publication to the test

Dream onIn his book, Put Your Dream to the Test, Dr. John C. Maxwell says, “Dreams are valuable commodities. They propel us forward. They give us energy. They make us enthusiastic. Everyone ought to have a dream.”

What is your dream? Do you have a dream of publishing a book or article, but don’t know where to start? Have you started, but lose momentum? Have you lost hope and set your dream aside?

Maxwell adds, “It’s one thing to have a dream. It’s another to do the things needed to achieve it.” To put your dream to the test, he outlines the following list of 10 questions to help you recognize your dream and seize it. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 24, 2020

“I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.” ~Peter De VriesAs we near the end of 2020, a year filled with disruption, change, and challenges resulting from the pandemic, inspiration can be hard to come by. It’s in these times that we must rely on our identified goals, routine practices, and positive experiences to move forward and stay the course. Peter De Vries summarized his writing habit as follows, “I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.”

Whether a daily routine or simply a mindset of perseverance in weathering the storms that have been and are sure to come in the future, success will be found in finding your own writing inspiration. As we see in this week’s collection of articles, we’re all facing challenges together – some new and some old – but the only way forward is through.

This week, reflect on what you have been able to sustain throughout 2020, what you want to achieve in the new year ahead, and which voices in your circle (or your own head) are ones that you should listen to in an effort to move forward with your writing efforts. Then move forward and we’ll get through this period of disruption, change, and challenges – together. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Fine-tune your writing productivity with four Scholar Actions©

Writing and publishing are not the sole definition of an academic scholar, but these two activities are major roles that faculty fulfill. Academic writing and publishing are also primary expectations for career advancement, including the dissertation writing process. At each major point along the career trajectory of a faculty member—from assistant to associate to full—academic writing and publishing are there. Even in my role as an administrator, I continue to write and publish as well as mentor others through the process.

Over the years, I have developed my scholarly voice through my writing and publishing, but I still continue to develop my practice. I am a work in progress. But how did I come to this developing as a scholar? It is quite simple in some ways. I developed good habits to support my writing and learned the process of academic publishing early in my career. [Read more…]

Making publication decisions

sticky notesOn Monday, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion titled, “What Do Publishing Trends Mean for Academic Writers?” hosted by Janet Salmons at SAGE MethodSpace. During the discussion with panelists, Rebecca Y. Bayeck and Sharon Zumbrunn, we addressed the question “What is your decision-making process about what to publish?”

This question encouraged a lot of great discussion that centered around three key decision-making principles: interest, audience, and impact. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 13, 2020

“A book is simply the container of an idea—like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.” ~Angela CarterAngela Carter once said, “A book is simply the container of an idea—like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.” What goes inside the book, however, is the challenge every author faces. It takes process, persistence, and support to complete our writing projects and to produce something that matters.

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we have advice on using outlines, setting goals, taking notes, finding your target audience, and writing conclusions. We also found information on networking, writing retreats, unspoken privilege, and growth as a writer. Finally, we explore the global outlook for open access and other academic publishing trends.

Remember that the final product – your book, paper, grant proposal, or other writing project – is merely the container. It’s the ideas that you express inside that manuscript that matter most. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Will getting published achieve what you think it will?

publishing successPeople want to be published. Whether it is a journal article, textbook, monograph, dissertation, or something else, the urge to be published is palpable with many scholars, researchers, and academics. I work with many people and they all have different motivations: tenure, career advancement, to have their work disseminated, financial rewards, and more. Many have a sense of urgency to them.

But will getting published achieve what you think it will? [Read more…]