For dissertation writers: When your partner wails, ‘I never see you anymore!’

You’re knee-deep or, more accurately, file/notecard/article/laptop-deep in your dissertation. You don’t hear anything around you—refrigerator opening, kids tussling, clothes washer whirring. You don’t even hear your name called for dinner. When you come up for air, you realize that your partner hasn’t spoken to you for days. When they do, it’s only to wail, I never see you anymore!”

Why success is not enough

Are you successful? What does success look like? Is it a specific number of published works? Is it a certain amount of annual royalties? Is it the completion of a degree or the achievement of a specific title or position? How do you define success?

Now that you have a clear image of success in your mind, ask yourself, is success the goal? Will those checkmarks of achievement satisfy your pursuit of happiness and meaning or are they merely stepping stones to something more?

Don’t get me wrong, I want to be successful – and you should too – but success is not enough.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 12, 2020

Someone once said, “Be stronger than your excuses.” It is certainly easy to make excuses for not writing, not moving forward on our projects, not accomplishing our goals – especially in a time of disruption like we have faced for the past few months. Or in time of “vacation” if we have the summer “off”. But to be successful, we have to be stronger.

Our collection of articles from around the web includes an 11-year-old’s advice on busting excuses, summer planning strategies, and actionable steps for developing a routine, being creative, and training your brain. There’s also information on how to improve the academic writing process, to make your research meaningful, and to be excited by the practices that have emerged from the pandemic. Finally, we have questions to ask before signing a publishing contract and useful websites for writers.

Explore the links below, refuel your passion, and be stronger than your excuses! Happy writing!

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

A common theme has surfaced throughout this week in various places. Perhaps it’s that we’re at that point in January where many are giving up on their New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps it’s because in my academic circles most students are past the point of getting their money back for the semester. Perhaps it’s because there are so many reasons to quit and so many opportunities to start something new in the modern world. Whatever the reason, perhaps you’ve figured out that the theme that has emerged this week is perseverance.

Our collection of articles from around the web share this theme as well – whether you are working to finish an article or dissertation, are considering innovative research with inherent risks, or you’re battling bureaucratic obstructions in your pursuits. Whatever challenges you are facing this week – never give up – PERSEVERE!

Olympic gold medalist, Kerry Walsh, once said, “That wall is your mind playing a trick on you. You just need to say, ‘One more step, I can do this; I have more in me.’ You will be so proud of yourself once you push yourself past your threshold.” Happy writing!

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 19, 2019

Albert Einstein once said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” This week’s collection of posts from around the web may challenge your thoughts about academic and textbook writing and processes.

Included in the collection are ways to change your thinking when publishing journal articles, completing a dissertation, or reading over the summer. There are articles on open science, open educational resources, and Pearson’s announcement of a “digital first” textbook publishing model. We close the list with articles on retaining perspective and developing new skills. This week, I challenge you to change your thinking to improve your writing practice. Happy writing!

For lagging doctoral candidates: How to finish your dissertation and keep your family

If you are in the throes of your dissertation, you probably realize that, other than yourself, your family is most affected by your dissertation, and they most affect your progress. It can be hard for family members to understand what you’re going through and must continue to endure for several years.

A poignant example from one of my dissertation coaching clients: Ava wailed to me, “I get calls daily from my mother, my three sisters, and my two cousins! They all say they’re tired of me not coming to the family events. I had to go to the reunion!”

Like Ava’s relatives, family can start squeezing you.

Can I help you in any way? Dissertation

“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real”. Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well.

In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’ll highlight some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions. In this post, we’re focused on questions about requirements related to writing a thesis or dissertation.

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: November 16, 2018

Halfway through AcWriMo 2018, this week’s collection of articles from around the web explores topics of where to write, new options for sharing research efforts beyond the published results, and topics of etiquette and legal requirements in the modern communication age.

The collection begins with an article highlighting some of our discussion points from the 11/9 #AcWriChat TweetChat event hosted by TAA, written by Janet Salmons on the SAGE MethodSpace blog. We follow with thoughtful consideration of research theory, different methods for disseminating research efforts beyond words on a printed page or digital replicate, and new places for sharing our research, including public forums, podcasts, and new open access platforms. Our collection closes with topics of communication etiquette and the information needed for informed consent.

We hope that you are finding success in your writing as we enter the back half of AcWriMo 2018. Happy writing!

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: November 9, 2018

John Rogers said, “You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” The ways in which we approach our academic writing impact the mindset that drives progress and success. In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we have found several suggestions of ways to improve your writing practice that may just get you through your next “thinking block”.

First, we found examples of habits leading to writing productivity and satisfaction, and a connection between teaching, research, and writing. Next we explore the fundamental element of the paragraph, and honesty and originality in academic writing. We then found discussions on collaboration and unity of the scholarly community at large, ways to get involved as an academic, and a poll on the time commitment of a dissertation effort. Finally, our collection includes industry topics of open access, academic freedom, ethics and data breaches.

If you find yourself facing challenges in your writing efforts this week, we hope you take the advice of John Rogers. Realize that your block is not a writing block, but a thinking block, and write yourself out. Happy writing!

How to balance the demands of teaching and working on your thesis

If you asked most people about the demands of a teaching position, they’d quickly agree that time extends beyond the classroom hours with grading and student interaction turning most part-time roles into full-time commitments of time and full-time roles into, well, more. Ask the same about the time involved in getting a graduate degree, especially during the research-intensive processes of a thesis or dissertation, and in most cases, you’ll hear of it being a full-time job unto itself.

So how can one person balance the demands of these two time-intensive efforts? For the answer, we sought the opinions of several TAA members, and as a bonus have included some additional resources to assist you if you are currently in or considering such a balancing act yourself.