A new page

everyday is a fresh startThe year (and decade) has changed and it’s time to start anew. I am sure lots of people have personal resolutions about self-improvement, health, work, and more. I wish you well with yours and hope to keep 50% or more of mine!

As the year begins, consider what to do with existing projects. If you are staring at a blank page or a new idea, then go in peace and good luck. Many of us, however, have research or writing projects in progress. This is a good time to take stock of their status and determine how to move forward. Of course, finishing them or getting them published seems like the obvious answer. But take a moment. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 3, 2020

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~Peter DruckerWelcome to 2020! This week I want you to consider what your vision for the new year and new decade is. What does that vision look like for your individual writing goals on textbook and academic projects? What does that look like for the publishing industry at large? How can you plan now to accomplish those goals in the coming days, months, and years?

This week’s collection of articles begins with a look back on 2019, looks at the difference between free and OER when discussing textbooks, offers suggestion on how to select the right planning and project management tools, and considers the abolition of academic prizes. As we begin this new year of textbook and academic writing, I encourage you to remember the words of Peter Drucker, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Happy Writing! [Read more…]

Take some time away from work to work

Take some time away from work to workWe often think of the December-January holiday break as the midpoint of the academic year. Faculty need recuperative time to gear up for the semester or term, for course planning, fine-tuning, or writing syllabi.

But, what about your own writing projects? In early December, many of my clients need to step away from their daily writing practice to dive into their grading, with final grade deadlines looming. We talk about scheduling for the first week of January, and then we talk about how it will be more likely the second week of January before they sit down to begin writing again. In fact, I start to get a little nervous for them, because I know that come the second week of January, for many of them, the course planning and syllabus fine-tuning will take place that did not happen after the grading in December. And, that is okay. I get it.

However, as you look ahead to classes beginning again in mid-to-late January, what about your own writing? Does it stress you out? If it does, let’s do this instead. [Read more…]

4 benefits of using Trello as an academic

publishing pipeline on paperIn March 2019, Angelique M. Davis, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Global African Studies at Seattle University; and academic editor and writing consultant, Rose Ernst, presented a TAA webinar titled “How Trello Can Transform Your Life as an Academic”. For those unfamiliar with the tool, Trello is a collaborative platform that uses boards, lists, and cards to organize projects.

During this event, Davis and Ernst incorporated a demonstration and template of a Trello board based on Erin Furtak’s publishing pipeline. As related to the publishing pipeline, they shared the following four specific benefits academics can gain by using Trello. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 12, 2019

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” ~John RuskinThis week’s collection of articles from around the web offers tools and advice for moving your academic writing projects forward. Whether that requires beating the summer writing blues, getting your PhD on track, thinking about the warrant for a paper, or building authority and expanding your network, this list has you covered. We also found insight on surviving the conference marathon and reasons researchers should volunteer for global evidence gathering processes.

Whatever your current writing entails, strive to make the product of your work that of highest quality. As John Ruskin once said, “Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 28, 2019

Summer hat, sunglasses, beach towel, and tablet computerAs we come to the end of the first official week of summer, many of us are a month or more into our summer “break” – a time for tackling the list of things that find their way to “unfinished” during the school year. If your summer to-do list contains interdisciplinary reading, prioritization of your writing projects, qualitative research, research promotion, PhD by publication, or simply keeping up with the latest trends in scholarly writing, this week’s collection has something for you!

While rest and relaxation are also essential components of the break that summer often provides, tackling some of those items on the to-do list, rethinking your schedule for the next academic year, and maintaining a healthy writing practice during these “off” months have advantage as well. Happy summer and happy writing! [Read more…]

The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research

The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your researchIn the first two articles of this series, we explored The What: Defining a research project and The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment. In this article, we are focused on The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research. Discussion from this TweetChat event focused on accurately estimating the amount of time necessary for completing writing projects and strategies to better manage the time commitments during the writing project.

Q1/1a: Do you regularly track the time spent on research efforts? When planning a research project, do you tend to accurately predict, overestimate, or underestimate the time required? [Read more…]

How to actually complete your writing projects: One bite at a time

elephantIn her 2018 TAA Conference presentation, “Hunks, Chunks, & Bites: Plan Writing Projects So You Actually Complete Them!”, Meggin McIntosh shared some practical advice on tackling projects in a way that gets them done.

According to McIntosh, academics have between 20 and 50+ writing projects at any given time, but “people don’t do projects.” Projects can be broken into hunks, but you don’t do hunks. Hunks can be broken into chunks, but you don’t do chunks. Chunks can be broken into bites. You do bites! Here’s how. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 14, 2018

"Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil--but there is no way around them." ~Isaac AsimovIsaac Asimov said, “Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil–but there is no way around them.” As we recognize Peer Review Week 2018, much of the focus of our collection of articles is on the process that produces such rejection in an effort to ensure the quality of the works that are accepted for publication.

The theme of Peer Review Week 2018 is diversity in peer review. As an author, your background, experiences, and unique qualities contribute to the diversity of the industry and can improve the diversity of the peer review process – if you are involved. Although most of the articles in this week’s collection are related to this event, there are others themes of significance to authors in this collection including management of multiple writing projects (and how some scientists are successful hyperprolific authors), ways to get back on track if your semester plan has already fallen apart, transparency in publishing, critical & creative thinking in research, and dealing with the fear of success.

The textbook and academic authoring community needs your contributions, your perspective, and your uniqueness. This week celebrate what makes you unique and how that contributes to a diverse community of scholarly authors. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: June 15, 2018

"It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way." ~Ernest HemingwayThis week’s collection of posts begins with articles focused on some of the writing challenges you may face – literature reviews, projects lost to life, grant application development, and other barriers that stop the publishing process at times. It continues with advice on writing with purpose, publishing for impact, transparency in peer review processes, surviving the doctoral defense process, and ways to maintain your mental health when making academic moves. We close with some insight into the impact of journal growth on impact factor, an open study on academic writing practices, and a look at how Google may be a journal publisher.

Ernest Hemingway said “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” Whether you are learning with us this week at the TAA Conference, currently enrolled in a graduate program, or simply continuing to improve your writing craft through self-study and daily experience, write like you were born that way! [Read more…]