The power of words

“A word after a word after a word is power.” ~Margaret AtwoodYesterday, 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. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 4, 2020

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself." ~Albert CamusWhat’s your purpose as an academic author? According to Albert Camus, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Our work as academic and textbook authors can have significant influence on our colleagues, our field, and society at large. So, do you know your purpose? And, are you fulfilling it?

We begin this week’s collection of articles from around the web with questions that probe the concept of purpose as researchers and authors. We then explore topics of support for our writing, pursuit of relevance, societal impact, and trust & credibility. Our list continues with practical advice on writing practices including note-taking, scheduling, literature review, perseverance, visual communications, writing groups, and a recognition that today is yet another opportunity to do more and to do better.

This week I challenge you to define (or refine) your purpose as an academic author and align your writing practice with that purpose for the remainder of 2020 and into the new year. Happy writing! [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: October 23, 2020

“When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.” ~Margaret LaurenceWriting takes work. Whether starting a PhD or working on another published book or manuscript, academic authoring is work and should be treated as a professional endeavor. Margaret Laurence once said, “When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.” Our writing must receive focus and time for us to be successful.

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we have advice on early career authoring, building an impact and brand, and current trends in publishing. As you embark on the week ahead, give your writing the focus it deserves. After all, everything else is just odd jobs. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 17, 2020

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.” ~Ralph Waldo EmersonRalph Waldo Emerson once noted, “that which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.” In our collection of articles from around the web this week, we see several suggestions on how to make our lives as academic writers easier by increasing our ability to do.

Suggestions include writing for the public for more impact, forming a brain trust, expanding our knowledge set with new literatures, collaborating around Big Data, and providing choice on how to pay for peer review and publication. This week, we encourage you to explore these and other ways to make your tasks as an author easier and to increase your ability to do. Happy Writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 10, 2020

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.” ~ConfuciusThis week’s collection of articles from around the web focuses on some core elements of success: self-care, personal belief systems, fresh thinking, fundamentals, integrity, and being able to stand for something. As the first full week of 2020 comes to an end, these articles remind us of the importance of core values and beliefs in our daily work.

Confucius once said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.” Be sure to judge yourself and your progress against your own goals and beliefs rather than the influences or expectations around you and keep going toward those goals in the year ahead. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 27, 2019

“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.” ~Ray BradburyAs is often the case during this holiday season, sources of academic writing experience and wisdom are quieter than usual, and those making noise across the internet are often reflective as we close one year and prepare for the next. In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we found both advice for improving writing, research, and impact, as well as reflections on some of the accomplishments and best advice of 2019.

Ray Bradbury once wrote, “And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.” In this last weekly post of 2019, we remind you that your writing is a gift and one that you should treasure year-round. See you again in 2020! Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: December 7, 2018

Starve your distractions : Feed your focusOur weekly collection of posts from around the web contains a variety of topics beginning with the mental health of academics and the process of giving feedback on academic writing. We then explore some academic elements often challenging to writers: statistics and theory. Next we look at industry concerns when setting up a new academic journal and the impact of Plan S on society publishers. We continue with discussion of the relationship between measurement systems and impact goals as well as concerns related to scientific misconduct. Finally, as we approach the holiday season, we have a list of gift ideas for the academics on your list.

This week, as the end of academic semesters approach for many of us and the holidays add new elements of obligation to our already busy schedules, focus on this simple message – Starve your distractions : Feed your focus. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Academic writers tackle social issues

Social IssuesWhether the discussion is about changes to our global climate or our cultural climate, the dominance of uninformed opinions can aggravate those of us who want to see the need for evidence derived from empirical research.

Academic writing for social good supports efforts for change to improve the well-being of people in our communities or around the world. While we might hope that all academic writing has potential to benefit society, the kinds of writing we are considering here have an intentional purpose. In a TAA webinar offered last year, Lynn Wilson and I discussed four ways that scholars and researchers can frame their writing. (View the recording here.) Let’s look at each one. [Read more…]

TweetChat Recap: #AcWriChat 11/3 – Get Organized

AcWriMoOn November 3rd, TAA co-hosted its first TweetChat event with SAGE Methodspace as part of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo). The focus on this event was getting organized with your academic writing projects. Six questions were presented during the hour-long event on type of project, inspiration, organization steps, audience influence, desired impact, and next steps. The full conversation is available in the Storify record below. Mark your calendar and join the discussion this Friday, November 17th at 11am ET as we discuss writing productivity. Simply log in to your Twitter account and search for #AcWriChat. As questions are posted, tag your responses with the #AcWriChat hashtag. See you there! [Read more…]