Rejecting the premise of writer’s block: Write your way out

When you talk with academic writers about productivity, you are likely to hear the term ‘writer’s block’. Despite the prevalence of this term, I am resistant to identifying common academic writing difficulties as writer’s block. Most writers who are struggling with their writing are actually struggling with their thinking. That isn’t just a semantic quibble: it matters that we grasp exactly what is inhibiting our writing processes. When we diagnose ourselves as having writer’s block, we can start to believe that we aren’t currently able to write. If you find yourself with a sore leg, it may well be that avoiding walking is a sound strategy. If you find yourself unable to write, might it be a sound strategy to avoid writing? The answer to that question is almost always no. Not writing has little-to-no curative power, in my experience. [Read more…]

4/25 TAA Webinar: ‘How to Structure and Write an Article Abstract’

Mark PedrettiWhat makes for a strong article abstract? How much is too much, not enough, and just right? What goes in and what stays out? The abstract to your article is often the first thing that readers and reviewers see, and setting the right tone up front can influence the way the rest of your text is received. Join us Wednesday, April 25 from 3-4 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar, “How to Structure and Write an Article Abstract”,  presented by Mark Pedretti, Director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric at Claremont Graduate University. [Read more…]

Kick off your summer writing program with TAA’s June writing conference

2018 TAA ConferenceLooking for inspiration and structure for your summer writing projects? Look no further. TAA’s 31st Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference features veteran authors, industry professionals, and intellectual property attorneys who can provide strategies and guidance on how to move forward with your writing projects to reach your publication goals. Join us at La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, NM, June 15-16 and prepare to be inspired. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: March 23, 2018

"I've discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing." ~Anna QuindlenThis week our collection of articles from around the web begins with advice on staying informed about scholarly communications and the opportunities existing in the global e-book market. We then found support for your writing with The Monthly Weeklies online group for goal setting and project management, ten steps for doing a literature review, and advice on writing research questions. Closing out our list this week are two posts regarding research ethics, including a list of Open Access ethics resources for researchers.

As you continue researching and writing, consider this advice from Anna Quindlen — “I’ve discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing.” This week, write something. It might just lead to something better. [Read more…]

5 Key principles for a sustainable writing practice

Why write? The old adage, “publish or perish” is alive and well, and there can be negative career consequences resulting from not publishing. In addition, writing and publishing bring career-enhancing rewards, visibility among our peers locally, nationally, and, even, internationally, and, as Boice (1990) underscores, writing is a form of “self-education.”

The expectation that faculty write and publish presents a number of challenges, not the least of which is fitting writing in with the other [Read more…]

32 Tech tools you want in your 2018 writer’s toolbox

When you hire a professional to do any work, you not only expect them to have the knowledge and experience necessary for the job, you also expect them to have the right tools. For example, if a carpenter showed up to the job site without a saw, you might question their abilities. By the same token, there is more than one type of saw available and having the right saw for the job is equally important. [Read more…]

#AcWriChat TweetChat: Not on Twitter? Watch live here on 2/23 at 11 a.m. ET

acwrimoJoin TAA on Twitter on Friday, February 23 at 11 a.m. ET using the hashtag #AcWriChat for our latest TweetChat focused on getting feedback while work is in progress.

Not on Twitter? Not sure what a “Tweet Chat” is? Follow us here (you won’t be able to actively participate, but you will be able to follow the chat live).

[Read more…]

2/20 TAA Webinar: “Get Your Stalled Writing Back on Track”

Write No Matter WhatJoli JensenSometimes writing projects, no matter how worthwhile or necessary, lose momentum. Stalled projects can become albatrosses, draining our energy and keeping us trapped.

Join us Tuesday, February 20 from 2-3 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Get Your Stalling Writing Project Back on Track,” presented by Joli Jenson, author of Write No Matter What: Advice for Academics. In this one-hour webinar, you’ll learn structured techniques to figure out the best way to deal with your stalled writing project, as well as strategies and support for recommitting to, reframing or appropriately relinquishing your stalled project. This makes it possible for you to move forward with a project you truly want to write. [Read more…]

How not to complete your dissertation

Woman heroFrom my longtime academic coaching and editing practice guiding doctoral candidates through the peaks and gullies of completing their dissertations, I have noticed that women in doctoral programs can easily become diverted by compassion for others in trouble. Well-meaning decisions and actions may result in calamitous consequences to a dissertation.

Although my experience has been primarily with women, if you are a man reading this, you may recognize some of these scenarios. In these stories of doctoral candidates (names and identifying details changed for their protection), you will see that tender-hearted consideration at the wrong times dangerously waylaid dissertation progress. If you are a doctoral candidate writing (or not writing) your dissertation, perhaps these tales will confirm decisions to let no major interruptions prevent the completion of your dreamed-of doctorate. [Read more…]

Students lead the march toward mobile: Three strategies for adapting and responding

Mobile textbookIt is becoming increasingly clear that students want and need to use mobile devices as a supplement to their print and e-textbooks and LMS course platforms. In fact, many students prefer reading on mobile. Students are leading the market to mobile, and publishers are following. Some authors are working to adapt existing materials to the mobile platform, but in many cases the publisher adapts the material with little or no author input. Authors have a vested interest in keeping up with this transition in terms of the technology opportunities, content quality control, and enhanced marketability of their works. [Read more…]