To progress on your project, to friends and organizations say no…thanks

Do you feel you can’t refuse the requests or plans of friends or volunteer groups? Do you secretly resent or rage at them? That they’re eroding or wasting your time, the time you want to or need to use for other activities, like your current article, book chapter, or dissertation?
 
We all have such feelings. To assert ourselves for ourselves takes commitment and practice, especially without making enemies of cherished friends we’ve had for a long time or turning away groups and activities we believe in. [Read more…]

#AcWriChat Tweet Chat: Not on Twitter? Watch live here

acwrimoJoin TAA on Twitter every other Friday at 11 a.m. ET using the hashtag #AcWriChat for a TweetChat on various aspects of academic writing.

Not on Twitter? Not sure what a “Tweet Chat” is? Follow us here (you won’t be able to actively participate, but you will be able to follow the chat live).

[Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 10, 2019

"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go." ~E. L. DoctorowSeveral things textbook and academic authors are never short on: commitments, obligations, things to learn, and changing landscapes. This week’s collection of articles from around the web includes them all as well.

We start with the question of why college students are sleep deprived and overextended, look at tips for building a career in scholarly communication, and what it takes to be a co-author. We then explore different strategies for writing papers, making the most of summer plans, University Journals, and interdisciplinary mentoring. Finally we explore industry changes as Wiley buys Knewton and the University of California’s decision on Elsevier.

In the words of E. L. Doctorow, “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” This week we encourage you to write, explore, and learn as you go. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The Why: Explaining the significance of your research

The Why: Explaining the significance of your researchIn the first four articles of this series, we examined The What: Defining a research project, The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment, The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research, and The Who: Finding key sources in the existing literature. In this article, we will explore the fifth, and final, W of academic writing, The Why: Explaining the significance of your research. [Read more…]

Lemonade stand writing lessons: Honesty and kindness

lemonade standMy friend Jon invited me to the summer tenth birthday party of his daughter at their condo lawn near the pool. As his wife placed after-candles cake slices in front of us, Lisbeth exclaimed, “Dad! I don’t have school for the whole summer! How about doing a lemonade stand!”

I looked at Jon’s face—it registered dismay, knowing he’d have to shepherd the project. Then he smiled enthusiastically. [Read more…]

Commit to submit: 5 Steps to journal publishing success

Want to submit that article you’ve been working on for years?

In my work with Academic Coaching & Writing, I’ve worked with many authors who have done substantial research toward a journal article but haven’t quite been able to put it all together and get it out the door. This delay often stems, at least in part, from a nagging fear that their piece may be rejected. To greatly improve your article’s chance of successful publication, consider taking these five steps. [Read more…]

Defensive scheduling: Increase your productivity & piece of mind

I am a big, big fan of protecting time in your schedule. I live and die by my Google calendar, because I can always access it, but on that calendar, you’ll find more than appointments.

There are two kinds of scheduling – appointment and defensive. Appointment scheduling is pretty self-explanatory – you have somewhere to be at a certain time, and so you put it in your calendar. These are the kinds of things that people usually use their calendar/schedule/planner for, and of course, it’s useful. It gets you to where you need to be when you need to be there!

But defensive scheduling is a little different. It’s about protecting time, rather than filling it up. You put something on your calendar so you WON’T give that time away to someone/something else. You claim your time before someone else does. [Read more…]

Focus time lets you do the work you’re obligated and committed to do

Focus timeWhen I’m coaching and teaching academics, I recommend that they designate and protect four kinds of time: Free, Fixed, Focus, and Flow. Previously in this series, we looked at Free time and Fixed time. In this short article, let’s consider Focus time.

During designated Focus time, you deliberately design your half or full day to maximize what you accomplish from your task and project list. Before the Focus time block begins, you examine your upcoming deadlines, commitments, and progress milestones and then carefully decide what you will Focus on and for about how long. [Read more…]

The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment

The Where: Constructing an effective writing environmentOnce you know what you need to work on, establishing an environment with the right atmosphere, tools, and resources necessary for completing the project is equally important. In the previous article, we explored the first W – The What: Defining a research project.

In this article, we will focus on The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment. This discussion began with a self-reporting of participant writing environments and continued with discussion of ways to improve them.

Q1: How would you describe your current writing environment? [Read more…]

To keep writing, use a time log

time log“What did I do today!” you wail. For the life of you, wiped out at the end of the day and ready for binge TV, you can’t remember anything you did except overeat for lunch. Maybe you recall writing for eight minutes midmorning and half-heartedly pecking at your journal article in progress, but otherwise the day’s a blank. And paradoxically, you feel you’re always so busy, dashing from one thing to the next and never getting it all done.

Sound familiar? Where does the time go? Especially for academic writers, with the responsibilities of teaching, mandatory committee meetings, office hours, reading endless memos, emailing responses, and comforting a colleague who just got her article rejected—again—it’s an ongoing challenge to take hold and wrestle our writing time to the ground, or desk.

I found a remedy, though, that you may have read about: keep a time log. [Read more…]