Are you good enough?

writing doubtWe all have a little voice inside our head. Sometimes it is a coach, or a bully, or a nag, or a guide. The voice can be the driving force behind some of our decisions, fortunately or unfortunately. It can guide relationships, career choices, and inevitably, our writing.

Writing, editing, and researching are solitary pursuits by nature. They can be driven forward by passion and curiosity, or promoted by achieving greater heights. But they can also be way laid by self-doubt. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 11, 2020

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” ~Elmore LeonardHow do you write? Why do you write? Who do you write for? And, are those answers clear in your writing practice? As authors in varying disciplines, we each have a unique style, purpose, and audience, so finding our voice is important. Elmore Leonard once said, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” Our collection of articles from around the web offers additional advice on developing your own writing rhythm.

First, we are presented a challenge to explain our research in plain language, offered ways to build confidence in our nonfiction writing, and provided answers regarding the PhD trajectory. Next, we explore the structure of a literature review, how to overcome discouragement as an author, and rules for writing clear and persuasive prose. Finally, we discuss why authors should know their target audience, how open access diversifies readership, and the steps required to self-publish a book.

This week, challenge yourself to not let proper writing get in the way of your voice. If it sounds like writing, rewrite it. Focus on your audience, your purpose, and your style of communicating your message. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 28, 2020

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” ~Virginia WoolfVirginia Woolf once said, “Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” Our collection of articles from around the web this week addresses issues with exposing those secrets of our souls through published work now and in the future.

Specifically, we begin with moving past the fear of having our work read, following basic rules for writing research papers, revising to remove evidence of our secret self-doubt, and topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion in scholarly communications. We then explore how blogging can enhance student engagement, a new way to access higher education textbooks, sustainable open access models, and the publishing trends for late 2020 and beyond.

It’s important that the secrets written on your soul are shared through your written work. Challenge yourself to share more of yourself in your writing this week. Happy writing!

Afraid to let anyone read your writing? 5 Steps to move past fears

One of the best things about writing is being read. Unfortunately, that can also be one of the scariest things. When you’re just starting out, it can feel like a huge jump to let someone else read your story for the first time. It feels like another jump to move past the eyes of kindly family and friends to asking strangers to read and (gulp) comment on your writing. And even if you’ve been writing and publishing for many years, there may still be days when you’re afraid to let anyone read your writing.

Basic rules to follow when writing a research paper

You can never overstate the significance of being able to write well. A productive investigator or researcher will always be able to write solid papers when it comes to writing a research paper. Writing a research paper has a life cycle, and when you follow the same, no one can stop you from achieving the degree.

Revision – writing without protection

Academic writers need to let their readers know that they know what they are talking about. But feeling and talking like an expert is not easy – in fact, it’s often the exact opposite of how you think about yourself. So it’s helpful to be able to pick up the places in your writing where your text gives away your secret self-doubt.

Driving gender diversity, equity, and inclusion in scholarly communications: The power of an active ERG

How many of us know what ‘ERG’ stands for? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. An Employee Resource Group is a volunteer group of like-minded colleagues who come together to create positive change for their wider workplace community. These groups are not to be underestimated — in fact, they should be celebrated and promoted within organizations because they add tremendous value, and increase the organization’s value proposition for attracting, keeping, and developing talent.

How can blogging enhance student engagement?

A perennial issue in higher education is how to encourage students to engage with the material they are learning about. Biggs and Tang tell us that assessment is the key driver of engagement, with its structure and content shaping everything that a student does to achieve the learning outcomes of a course. But are the tried and tested methods of written examinations, essays, laboratory reports, group projects and so on really the most engaging forms of assessment for students? Or are digital technologies, and the movement towards more reflective forms of writing, opening up the whole dynamic of the assessment process and the ways in which students engage with it to radical change?

Cambridge University Press launches new website for its higher education textbooks

This new site, and our business models, have been shaped by extensive feedback from students, their instructors and librarians. As a result, it gives higher education institutions a much easier way to provide their students with online access to our textbooks and gives students themselves a much better reading and studying experience.

Sustainable open access – What’s next?

As more publishers consider this model, it seems like a good time to dive a little deeper into collective action models and Subscribe to Open in academic publishing and also to consider why interest in these models might be accelerating.

Predictions for publishing trends in late 2020 and beyond

If there’s one thing 2020 has shown us, it’s that our lives are not nearly as predictable as we like to think. This isn’t exactly a new revelation — the best-laid plans of mice and men, etc. — but it’s one that brings fresh perspective and humility to all our forecasts now, whether in regards to the weather, the government, or the state of the publishing industry.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 18, 2019

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William WadsworthWilliam Wadsworth once said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” That may be easier said than done for some of us. Especially if, as discussed in our first article in this week’s collection, you ever find yourself in conflict with yourself or, in the case of our second article, you are an empath facing slow, smoldering burnout in academe.

Ways to address these challenges as well as other topics important to textbook and academic authors fill our collection of articles this week. Other topics include peer reviewing your first paper, research data sharing, focus groups for research or evaluation, the Research Data Management Librarian Academy (RDMLA), and forthcoming AcWriMo Tweetchat events.

Wherever your heart leads you in writing this week, breathe new life into your papers and manuscripts as you go. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Life’s labyrinth: Honoring your accomplishments

labyrinthIt is the time between late spring and early summer. A male cardinal crunches on sunflower seeds at the feeder, the leaves on the tall trees along the creek behind my house are bright green, and purple martins dip and sway high in the sky that is the blue color of my Irish grandmother’s eyes.

All of life—nature, animals, weather, plants and people—have their cycles and their seasons. When we learn to embrace this instead of fighting it, denying it, or running from it, then we can learn to live in balance and beauty.

Here we are at the end of the academic calendar—and this is a great time to learn how to go to the center of the labyrinth, find wisdom, and come back out again. [Read more…]