The power of words

Yesterday, January 20, 2021, we witnessed the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States and of Vice-President Kamala Harris. The ceremony was filled with messages, constructed by words, shared by many people in positions of power – both in our national government and in the entertainment industry – through speech, recitation, song, and poetry. These messages and the effect of the words delivered throughout the event caused me to revisit a quote from Margaret Atwood who said, “A word after a word after a word is power.”

In this post, I want to highlight some of the words that resonated with me from yesterday’s event, other historical instances of the power of words, and advice for how you can ensure that the words you use in your writing exhibit the power of your message.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 11, 2020

How do you write? Why do you write? Who do you write for? And, are those answers clear in your writing practice? As authors in varying disciplines, we each have a unique style, purpose, and audience, so finding our voice is important. Elmore Leonard once said, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” Our collection of articles from around the web offers additional advice on developing your own writing rhythm.

First, we are presented a challenge to explain our research in plain language, offered ways to build confidence in our nonfiction writing, and provided answers regarding the PhD trajectory. Next, we explore the structure of a literature review, how to overcome discouragement as an author, and rules for writing clear and persuasive prose. Finally, we discuss why authors should know their target audience, how open access diversifies readership, and the steps required to self-publish a book.

Academic writing styles: Critical academic writing

Academic writing is far from a one-size-fits-all genre. Applicable to the broad variety of academic disciplines and their unique approaches to conducting and documenting research efforts in the field, one might find it challenging to identify clearly what constitutes academic writing.

In our latest series of #AcWriChat TweetChat events on Twitter, we explored four commonly accepted academic writing styles: descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical. This article focuses on the discussion about the last of those four styles – critical academic writing.

Academic writing styles: Persuasive academic writing

Academic writing is far from a one-size-fits-all genre. Applicable to the broad variety of academic disciplines and their unique approaches to conducting and documenting research efforts in the field, one might find it challenging to identify clearly what constitutes academic writing.

In our latest series of #AcWriChat TweetChat events on Twitter, we explored four commonly accepted academic writing styles: descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical. This article focuses on the discussion about the third of those four styles – persuasive academic writing.

Why we write

Why are you writing? Next week is Peer Review Week which makes this a great time to discuss what may seem like a simple question. Perhaps all peer review (or all writing endeavors) should start with Why.

To fully understand what drives your effort as a writer, ask yourself why you are embarking on writing that article, textbook, monograph, etc. Here are some reasons that I have heard in the past.

Academic writing styles: Analytical academic writing

Academic writing is far from a one-size-fits-all genre. Applicable to the broad variety of academic disciplines and their unique approaches to conducting and documenting research efforts in the field, one might find it challenging to identify clearly what constitutes academic writing.

In our latest series of #AcWriChat TweetChat events on Twitter, we have begun exploring four commonly accepted academic writing styles: descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical. This article focuses on the discussion about the second of those four styles – analytical academic writing.

Academic writing styles: Descriptive academic writing

Academic writing is far from a one-size-fits-all genre. Applicable to the broad variety of academic disciplines and their unique approaches to conducting and documenting research efforts in the field, one might find it challenging to identify clearly what constitutes academic writing.

In our latest series of #AcWriChat TweetChat events on Twitter, we have begun exploring four commonly accepted academic writing styles: descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical. This article focuses on the discussion about the first of those four styles – descriptive academic writing.

Stop and speak

I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks. Add these to the podcasts I subscribe to, and I have converted much of my leisure and professional “reading” to listening. In turn, I have come to appreciate a good narrator or speaker more than ever before.

What I have also become cognizant of is non-optimal writing. I have suggested for years to the authors I work with, to read all their work out loud. And yes, that includes scholarly journal articles and books. It can seem duplicative or even laborious, but it is very beneficial.

Selecting visuals to illustrate your post, article, or book

It was great to see many TAA members at the recent conference in Philadelphia! Since not everyone could attend, I’m sharing my presentation about “Enhance Your Writing: How to Design, Select or Create Effective Visuals” in this and future Abstract posts. See the previous post, Figuring it out: Trends for visuals in academic writing. Next month I will write about ways to create original visuals.

Yes, you need visuals!

How to explain complex ideas in a simple way

As teachers and authors, we are often faced with the challenging task of conveying information that, although second nature to us, is completely foreign to the students learning the material. Several experienced textbook authors share their best practices for explaining complex ideas in a simple way, including the use of metaphors, visuals, procedures/processes, and hands-on multisensory activities to improve learning success.