Polishing your scholarly manuscript–and letting it go

man writingIn this post, the fifth in a series of five, you will learn how to polish your prose by reading it out loud “backwards”—and then letting it go.

Before submitting your manuscript, read the manuscript out loud read it out loud s-l-o-w-l-y (Goodson, 2017, p. 36). To force yourself to read slowly, try reading your prose paragraph by paragraph backwards. That is, start with the last paragraph in your manuscript and move backward paragraph by paragraph until you reach the first paragraph. You will read more slowly because reading backwards is somewhat jarring. You will focus on each paragraph so you see problems that were previously invisible to you. You will read as though you were reading for the first time. You will divorce yourself from your prose and gain some distance from—and perspective about—your writing. You will see your manuscript through a new lens because what you were thinking at the time that you wrote and what you actually wrote can be different. [Read more…]

Solicit and use informal feedback before formal peer review

woman writerThis post, the fourth in a series of five, shows you how to seek informal feedback before formal review, which will increase your chances for getting manuscripts accepted and grants funded. After peer review, journal articles improve on 33 out of 34 measures (Goodman et al., 1994). There is no reason to believe that this is any different for informal reviews. You can seek informal feedback effectively by asking the right readers for the right kind of feedback—and then listening avidly and responding quickly and thoroughly.

Seek informal feedback before seeking formal peer review because it is the eyes of our readers that really “count”—we are not (supposed to be) communicating primarily with ourselves. [Read more…]

Triple your scholarly productivity by writing daily

typing on keyboardSome scholars astonish others in terms of their numbers of papers accepted and grants funded. Why do some flourish while others flounder? Even when you can’t work harder, there are important ways to work smarter. This post, the first in a series of five, offers strategies that can help you learn to draft manuscripts quickly and well by writing daily and by holding yourself accountable to someone else for doing so.

Scholars have found these strategies triple productivity. In one study (Gray et al., 2018), more than 90 faculty members and graduate students followed these strategies by writing for 30 minutes daily and holding themselves accountable to others for doing so. The participants increased their annual rate of finishing manuscripts from two to nearly six (Gray et al., 2018). Participants accomplished this by writing for only 30 minutes per day, four days per week. [Read more…]

Embracing an imperfect writing practice: Ebb and flow, organization & persistence

Julie Peterson Combs is a Professor of Educational Leadership and Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at Sam Houston State University. In addition to maintaining an active research agenda, she has written over 84 journal articles, seven book chapters, and co-authored four books including The Trust Factor: Strategies for School Leaders (Routledge).

Here Julie talks about the evolution of her writing practice and how ebb and flow and persistence can win the day.

TAA: With two decades of academic writing experience, how has your writing practice evolved and what have you learned? [Read more…]

Systematic reviews: Avoiding the common pitfalls that lead to rejection

File Stack and Magnifying GlassSystematic reviews are an increasingly popular academic research method and manuscript style, often garnering many citations when published. In fact, the most recent bibliometric analysis of more than 1,200 published systematic reviews found they were cited an average of 26 times over a 4-year period after publication, or 6.6 citations per year. While publishing a systematic review can certainly add to your academic profile, with 85% of these manuscripts being rejected by journals at submission, success if far from guaranteed.

Although systematic reviews originated in clinical medicine, other disciplines are now finding the method effective to synthesize evidence as well. The following tips will help you avoid the common pitfalls that lead to high rejection rates of systematic review submissions. [Read more…]

11/19 TAA Webinar – “Responding to Reviewers’ Comments”

Mark PedrettiWhether submitting journal articles or book manuscripts, academic authors can expect their work to be anonymously reviewed by expert peers. Sometimes helpful, sometimes infuriating, reviewers’ comments can make or break a publication; a negative review can bring your piece to a screeching halt. Join us Tuesday, November 19, from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar, “Responding to Reviewers’ Comments”, where presenter Mark Pedretti, an Assistant Director of English at Providence College, will discuss strategies for engaging with reviewer’s comments — both positive and negative. He will also:

  • Explore ways to figure out the importance placed upon comments in a given publishing context, the relationship between editor and reviewer, and whether comments are in fact “make or break.”
  • Talk about strategies for documenting responses to suggestions, and how to politely decline to make changes that are off base.

The goal: to equip webinar participants with a set of tools for navigating the unspoken rules of the review process.

[Read more…]

Safeguarding your scholarship in OA: What to look for and what to avoid

As open access publishing matures into an accepted (and in some disciplines, the standard) form of scholarly communication, it is more important than ever to be able to spot what Jeffrey Beall calls “predatory publications”, publications that accept article processing fees but fail to provide essential editorial services.  As academic librarians who have many years of experience helping faculty navigate this new landscape, we recommend using the following strategies for safeguarding your scholarship while pursuing open access options for your work. [Read more…]

10 Tips on getting writing started

Many academics find sitting down at the computer and starting to write to be one of the most difficult challenges facing them. One reason for this, as one of my students put it so well, “if I never start, then I never fail.” Other reasons include getting out of the habit of writing—or never having a writing habit at all.

While tough to overcome, these obstacles do have some straightforward solutions. Here I share ten tips on getting your writing project started and moving it toward completion. [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…]

Just two weeks left to register early and save!

Early registration for TAA’s June Conference ends April 15. All rates increase by $50 after that date. Join us in Old City, Philadelphia, June 14-15 and prepare to be inspired!

TAA’s conference program features three writing tracks:

Academic Writing Track: Learn tips on how to plan your writing projects for maximum productivity; create writing that is clearer, better organized, and more compelling; revise at the macro and micro levels with efficiency; safeguard your scholarship; get started with conducting and writing systematic reviews; use qualitative coding to enrich data analysis; collaborate more effectively; and more. [Read more…]