The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: September 18, 2015

“The best way to learn about writing is to study the work of other writers you admire.” – Jeffery Deaver

The best way to learn about writing_Deaver quoteIsn’t this an excellent bit of advice that Jeffery Deaver gives us? Do we not do this in our own writing, but also in other aspects of our lives? I think one piece is missing from his advice, however. I believe that you also have to find and study writers that have a similar tone, style, and voice to that of your own. All of those things make up who you are and who you are as a writer. Although, that isn’t to say that you still couldn’t learn something from someone that has a completely different kind of style. What is of importance, I think, is to always be reading and admiring, and of course writing, to help you grow as a writer. Wouldn’t you agree?

Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: December 19, 2014

It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is "Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on." -Louis L'Amourhere and next week is Christmas. Which means not only the end of the semester for many of you, but also grading tests and papers for hours on end. I have many memories that involve my father sitting at our dining room table, stacks of papers piled around him, grading tests from the time he got home until late into the evening (I even got to help him from time to time). I know how crazy this time of year can be for academics, but hopefully amid the chaos you can still find a place of quietude for your writing.

Whether you just need a break from grading, are looking for ways to stay motivated or become a more productive writer, or want to learn more about the future of the monograph, you’ll find it here. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas. See you back here in 2015! And of course, happy writing! [Read more…]

Why you should write a private and public purpose statement for your book

purposeBy taking some time to really think through the purpose and scope of your book project and why you are really doing it, you will not only be happier with the process and product, but when you are ready to start writing, you’ll be more successful, says faculty and productivity coach Susan Robison, author of The Peak Performing Professor: A Practical Guide to Productivity and Happiness.

Start by writing a private purpose statement that spells out your reason for writing the book and that will guide you on a day-to-day basis, she says. Your private purpose statement might be something like, “I want to declare my expertise in… [fill in the blank].”

[Read more…]

3 Things book indexers wish you knew

Seth Maislin

Seth Maislin, freelance indexer

1. Indexing is an editorial function.

You own a spellchecker, so why do you continue to work with editors? That’s easy. You need an editor to correct all the stupid mistakes your spellchecker makes, along with the 20 other good things that spellcheckers never do. Indexing, like writing and editing, requires a human being. Search, automatic indexers, and even simple alphabetizing tools are inferior, able to build things that look okay but function terribly.

2. Authors can write their own indexes, but there’s no good reason for it.

Just because you’re capable doesn’t mean you do it. Most of us do not grow vegetables, fill potholes, produce movies, or whittle wood into pencils. We know to rely on people who are efficient and qualified, because we have more appropriate things to do instead. Indexers are highly educated people who have the right combination of experience, training, and subject knowledge to prepare the best product for your readers. Unless you’re a professional indexer yourself—and there are a multitude of opportunities for you to become one—leave the hard work to the experts. Even gardeners buy most of their groceries. [Read more…]