Lessons learned from false starts

unfinished puzzlesWe are all parts of various communities. The ones we physically live in. Our extended family is a community. You are part of an academic discipline which is an important group, as is where you work.

As a writer (even a beginner), you are part of a community. I do worry sometimes, that the writing community is made up a large group of individuals each on their own island. Each of us may be experiencing the same challenges and be suffering them in silence as we try to solve own our issues. Groups like TAA and this blog help address challenges. How do you create a writing schedule and stick to it? How do you approach revising your own work? When is your project “done” and ready for submission? [Read more…]

How to battle distraction and maintain consistency in a crisis

distracted studentHaving spent the better part of the last month in social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, we are all faced with additional distractions from the media, environmental changes, and perhaps more time with family members in our current workspace than ever before. Whether facing personal fears, trying to maintain a sense of “normal”, or directly dealing with the effects of the crisis, it’s easy to become distracted and lose sight of our goals.

John C. Maxwell says, “a distraction is something that pulls us away from progress and confuses us.” Further, he notes that a distraction is the opposite of traction and identifies three main types of distractions during a crisis: mind wandering, negative thinking, and uncertain anxiety. In this post, we offer clarification on each of those three distractions and ways you can combat them in your efforts to regain traction toward your writing goals. [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…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 15, 2019

Stressed and chewing a pencilToday marks the halfway point in Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) 2019. Most academics are also about a month away from the end of the semester and a holiday break. For Americans, we’re less than two weeks from the Thanksgiving holiday and everyone is a month and a half from a new decade.

There’s no question that this time of year brings with it a heightened sense of stress, urgency, and emotions associated with perceived “endings” and “new beginnings”. Our collection of articles from around the web this week covers many of the things academics face in their writing efforts and ways to promote success and satisfaction in the process. [Read more…]

AcWriMo starts tomorrow – see what we have planned

AcWriMo 2019Established in 2011, Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) is “a month-long academic write-a-thon that happens every November”. Here at TAA, we have continued to plan special opportunities for our members to engage in AcWriMo as a group to enhance their individual writing efforts. Some of our members have also created or sponsored additional AcWriMo events throughout the month.

This year, TAA has decided to focus on a theme of “Distinguishing features of academic writing”. Specifically, we have used a list of academic writing features to further focus our weekly TweetChat discussions and shared resources to include: academic precision, complexity, formality, objectivity, and accuracy. Below are several of the planned activities we have scheduled for AcWriMo 2019. [Read more…]

Academic Writing Month: Community and progress

AcWriMo is coming soonOne book to complete, another one to start. It must be time for Academic Writing Month! November is almost here, and writers around the world will be looking for tips and encouragement so they can make progress on articles, books, theses, or dissertations. We’ll share strategies, progress, and frustrations using the #AcWriMo hashtag.

Writing is typically a solitary occupation. Even when we are co-authoring, a lot of work is done on our own. And for most of us, the concept of a “book leave” or a sabbatical—undistracted time to focus on our writing—is the stuff of dreams. While we struggle to make sense of our thoughts and interpret research for our readers, life goes on. Dinner needs cooking, partners and kids need attention, and students expect us in class. [Read more…]

The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment

The Where: Constructing an effective writing environmentOnce you know what you need to work on, establishing an environment with the right atmosphere, tools, and resources necessary for completing the project is equally important. In the previous article, we explored the first W – The What: Defining a research project.

In this article, we will focus on The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment. This discussion began with a self-reporting of participant writing environments and continued with discussion of ways to improve them.

Q1: How would you describe your current writing environment? [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: August 10, 2018

"Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." ~Barbara KingsolverAs evidenced by our collection of articles this week, there is no single way to do things in this field of academic writing.

For all of us, even the word summer is associated with different definitions and results – as comically represented in the first post this week. Some of us are finding new methods to enhance their research, shifting gears, overcoming challenges, or just trying to define how writing best fits in their schedule. For others, they’re examining the industry opportunities, differences, threats, and changes to see how they fit best in the environment.

This week’s collection of articles includes all of these topics important to the field of academic writing, but wherever your personal writing journey takes you this week, be true to yourself. Barbara Kingsolver advises us, “Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” [Read more…]

How a personal writing team can increase your productivity through accountability

Writing TeamAt the 2018 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM, panelists at three different career stages discussed how they came together to form a “personal writing team” that supports writing goals, productivity, and accountability. Unique to this group, said panelist Felicia Moore Mensah, an associate dean and faculty member at Teachers College, Columbia University, is the support that women of color can provide and need for increased mentorship for early career scholars.

The complete recording of their presentation, “A Personal Writing Team for Productivity and Accountability,” can be found in TAA’s library of Presentations on Demand. [Read more…]

Write with purpose, publish for impact

This post was originally published on SAGE MethodSpace and has been republished with permission.

SAGE MethodSpace logoWhen we put our thoughts into writing and publish them, we tell the world something about who we are. We move beyond circles of people who know us — colleagues and friends– to reach readers we will never meet. They learn about us from the choices reflected in our writing. What messages do you want to convey to your readers? [Read more…]