Flag for follow up or dump the junk?

email overwhelmAre you overwhelmed by email? I know there are days that the flow of electronic information seems to be non-stop. I might not be the normal person though – but I also can’t imagine I’m the only academic who is managing more than one email account for various roles. I personally check with regularity five (yes, five) email accounts daily between my personal Gmail account, accounts for my adjunct teaching roles, and my full-time position with TAA.

Even after the SPAM filters and categorization tools inherent to the systems do their job of minimizing the amount of true “junk” that makes it through to my inbox, I am often interacting with upwards of 300-400 messages of some importance daily. So I wonder often, am I handling things effectively while trying to manage all of this electronic communication? [Read more…]

Dragging your dissertation feet?

ProcrastinationIs your dissertation dragging you down? Are you dragging your feet, your manuscript in sorry tow behind you like an annoying younger brother? Are you doing the impossible already—on campus or online, like many other graduate students juggling family, work, and school? Your academic struggles are intensified by the stresses of such multiple responsibilities and, possibly, loss of your long-range picture.

From what I’ve learned and observed as a longtime coach of graduate students and writer of creative projects, here I address some issues that can trip you up. And I share some steadying remedies so you handle your dissertation and other creative projects with less dragging and more speed and even enthusiasm. [Read more…]

Jumpstart your writing productivity this fall: Join the TAA Writing Gym

Writing GymFlex your writing muscles in the TAA Writing Gym! This 6-week work-out-on-your-own gym time will serve as your writing accountability partner as you work to achieve your writing goals. The gym is open to those writing textbooks, scholarly journal articles, and dissertations.

Here’s what previous Writing Gym participants have had to say:

“The presentations are very inspiring. Over the last two weeks, I managed to complete and submit a manuscript that I stopped working on for 3 months now and to start the outline for my textbook.” – Andrea McDonald, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Prairie View A&M University, Department of Health and Kinesiology [Read more…]

Welcomed addition to my professional library: Review of ‘Guide to Making Time to Write’

Guide to Making Time to WriteThe new self-help book, Guide to Making Time to Write: 100 + Time & Productivity Management Tips for Textbooks and Academic Authors, is a welcomed addition to my professional library. My only negative comment is that I needed it thirty years ago!

Authors often have two major issues when developing a manuscript: 1) how to make it professional quality, and 2) how they will ever have time to write it. There is a myth that every author wants to write the great American novel. That is not true. What we really want is to have written the great American novel. It is hard work and takes hours of time to develop a professional quality manuscript. This is where the guide becomes my Bible. [Read more…]

Curing our time ills: Review of ‘Guide to Making Time to Write’

Guide to Making Time to Write TAA’s forthcoming book, Guide to Making Time to Write, is an invaluable compendium of suggestions and solutions for all the writing time troubles that beset us. I must admit I’m a contributor to this book; nevertheless, many of of the tips helped me tremendously to treat my writing time ailments—like conveniently missing a day, or several, because of “necessities”;  or avoiding the piece that will give me the most satisfaction in favor of minor editing on another.

The book has many aids for such maladies and more—with large sections on time management, productivity, templates for schedules, and recommendations for software. You can go directly to a section or—almost as effective—browse at random. I kept discovering new pointers, like acknowledging when I’m getting too tired to continue creatively or productively and quitting, or working another ten minutes and then another spurred on by a delicious bribe, for me a nightlong binge of Las Vegas reruns. [Read more…]

TAA’s new book, ‘Guide to Making Time to Write’ now available for pre-order

Guide to Making Time to WriteYou know you should be writing at least 15 minutes a day. But with all the demands on your time, how can you find 15 minutes or more to spare? And when you do find the time to write, it’s often hard to break free of the distractions and build momentum in the time that you have. We get it. Making time to write–and doing it productively–can be challenging.

So, to help you succeed, we’ve collected 100+ successful tips and strategies–and a lot of inspiration–from authors who have made the time and made it work. In TAA’s forthcoming book, Guide to Making Time to Write: 100+ Time & Productivity Management Tips for Textbook and Academic Authors, you will find just what you need to boost your productivity, adjust your routine, and focus on your writing efforts once and for all. Isn’t it time for you to make the time to write? [Read more…]

Writing stalled? Send yourself a letter

Letter to yourselfWhen I scanned the mail the other day, one letter caught my eye. I couldn’t quite place the handwriting and tore open the letter. To my shock, I saw I’d written it to myself.

Maybe I should have recognized my own handwriting, but it was like seeing yourself reflected in a window. Even though certain aspects look familiar, we often don’t have a clear picture of what we look like—or write like.

Three weeks earlier, I’d received a rejection for a particularly important writing project. After I poured out my despondency to a friend, she suggested writing a letter to myself venting my frustrations, extolling my virtues, and declaring my writing goals and mailing the letter without a second glance or draft. It should be postal mail, she emphasized—email wasn’t quite the same. I thought this idea a little hokey, but desperate followed her advice. [Read more…]

Take your work on a date

date nightWhat strategies do you use to make your writing enjoyable? In her TAA Conference presentation, “Creative Scheduling for Those Who Have ‘All the Time in the World’ and ‘No Time At All’”, Katy Peplin shared what it looks like to “take your work on a date”.

Before planning to crash your next romantic outing with your journal article, the following is meant to prepare for an exciting opportunity to grow closer to your work, not your soulmate. Peplin shares a five-step process for this productive writing strategy. [Read more…]

Join the TAA Authoring Community – Get $10 off for a limited time

With membership in TAA, you are not alone. As a TAA member, you become part of a diverse community of textbook and academic authors with similar interests and goals. Each new member enriches the community experience by expanding its breadth of knowledge and creating more opportunities for networking and collaboration.

Discover all of the member resources available to you to help you navigate your path to writing success, including:

  • Live webinars and more than 250 on demand presentations
  • A templates and samples resource library
  • Textbook and academic writing grants
  • An online member community
  • More than a dozen downloadable eBooks on writing and publishing, social media for academics, grant writing, and more.
  • A professional directory of academic coaches, editors, attorneys, indexers, accountants, and more, offering discounted rates exclusively to TAA members
  • Discounted rates on the association’s publications, Guide to Rights Clearance & Permissions in Scholarly, Educational, and Trade Publishing, Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts and Writing and Developing Your College Textbook

Now through June 30, you can use promo code PSAVE10. Join Today! [Read more…]

If a hummingbird strikes your window while you write: When to compartmentalize and when to stop

hummingbird“Writing a story is like going on a date — you will spoil it if you aren’t living in the moment.” — Pawan Mishra, On Writing Wonderfully: The Craft of Creative Fiction Writing

Halfway into my morning writing session, I heard a thump. I looked down at the deck. A hummingbird lay on her back, shaking. In a daze, I went out and stared at her. Her wings didn’t look broken, but what did I know?

I called my partner and my mom. My mom said hummingbirds need sugar water, so I found an old container of grape jelly and made sugar water. I fed her with a water dropper, put her in a box, and she slowly improved. I called the animal rescue people, and they eventually came and took the sweetie away after a few hours of feeding. Though I didn’t hear what happened after that, I’m sure she recovered. [Read more…]