Using a writing matrix to maintain academic productivity

In their recent TAA webinar, “Writing a Dissertation and Beyond: Tips & Tools for Launching and Maintaining Your Academic Writing Productivity“, presenters Danielle Feeney and Margarita Huerta discuss research-based, practical tools and tips that have helped them successfully complete dissertations and launch productive academic careers. Among the tips and tools shared during their presentation was the use of a writing matrix.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 2, 2020

This week’s collection of articles from around the web is full of questions. Questions about our writing practice. Questions about the science of academic writing and scholarship. Questions about the future of the publishing industry.

Beginning with “what’s the worst that could happen?” and ending with “what’s on the horizon for publishing and open access?” these articles inspire fresh perspective on our textbook and academic writing processes.

Lessons learned from false starts

We 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?

How to battle distraction and maintain consistency in a crisis

Having 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.

Take some time away from work to work

We 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.

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

Today 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 cover many of the things academics face in their writing efforts and ways to promote success and satisfaction in the process.

AcWriMo starts tomorrow – see what we have planned

Established 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.

Academic Writing Month: Community and progress

One 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.

The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment

Once 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?