Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 20, 2019

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest HemingwayThis week’s collection of articles from around the web is laden with questions. How do I approach an inter-disciplinary thesis? I’ve passed my comps – now what? How do I plan my first draft and get the right stuff in the right order? What are the ethical issues of working with literature? How can I be a good peer reviewer? How do we support research engagement? How can I deal with the growing complexities of international collaboration? And the theme across Peer Review Week 2019, how many ways can you define quality in peer review?

Ernest Hemingway once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” As we come to the close of Peer Review Week 2019 it is fitting to remember that our peers are apprentices as well in this craft. None of us have all of the answers to the questions above or the countless others that face us as academic writers. We learn from each other and grow stronger in our writing and disciplines as a result. This week, embrace your apprenticeship status and Happy Writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 14, 2019

A different type of writerAs I complete this collection of articles from around the web this week, our 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference is underway in Philadelphia. Over the next couple of days, authors from different disciplines, backgrounds, and geographic regions will come together to discuss topics of common interest, each with a common goal of becoming a more successful author.

This week’s collection includes some ideas that face most, if not all, of this diverse group, including writer’s block, thesis statements, data visualization, authorship, and author contribution. It also contains articles on specific issues facing subsets of our collective authoring community, including work/life balance for PhD students, diversity factors in awards and recognition, and open source initiatives and funding.

No matter the differences among us, and whether you are here in Philly with us this weekend or part of our larger authoring community, know that you are not alone. Take comfort in the things that we share and that are shared with us. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: February 19, 2016

“Like stretching before exercise, I start my writing day with a heavy edit and rewrite of my previous day’s work. That seamlessly catapults me into today’s writing.” – Jerry Jenkins
What sorts of strategies do you use to catapult you into your day’s writing? Do you do as Jerry Jenkins does and start the day with “a heavy edit and rewrite” of the “previous day’s work”? Maybe you do as Rachel Toor suggests: “leave off at a point where it will be easy to start again.” Rachel adds: “Some writers quit a session in the middle of a sentence; it’s always easier to continue than to begin.” Various other writers suggest using bullet points at the end of a writing session that point them in the direction they want the writing to go when they next return to it. Perhaps you have a completely different method altogether. If you do, I hope you will share it in the comments below this post. Happy writing! [Read more…]

8 [MORE!] Academic writing blogs you should be following

Are you ready for more great academic writing blogs to follow?! blog logoThe original, 8 Academic writing blogs you should be following, was so popular (and continues to be) it seemed fitting to bring you a second addition—not to mention the fact that the blogs below are worthy of being followed! In no particular order, here are eight academic writing blogs that offer superb advice on everything academic writing and publishing related, plus life as an academic: [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: March 13, 2015

I’m excited for a few reasons this week. You fail only if you stop writing.First, spring-like temperatures have arrived and stuck around for multiple days. (Woot!) Second, this week’s most useful post is jam-packed with articles I think you’ll enjoy. Topics range from knockoff rating companies to massive open online courses (MOOCs). Third, I found this great quote by Ray Bradbury, “you fail only if you stop writing,” that I couldn’t wait to share with you all. This quote is so simple, yet so powerful.

We all define success differently but ultimately failure, that is no longer writing, is the same. If one journal or publisher rejects your writing, you don’t stop writing, you either tweak what you have, find a better fit, or start on another project. You haven’t failed until the moment you stop writing. In a bicycle race you haven’t failed unless you stop pedaling. Of course not everything we write is worthy of being called a masterpiece, but I don’t think that just because a piece of writing isn’t our best that it should be considered a failure. Isn’t it by writing and rewriting that we discover those masterpieces?

Happy writing! [Read more…]

Stop procrastinating on completing your dissertation: There’s still time to register for this weekend’s Dissertation Writing Boot Camp

bootcampGain access to resources, accountability check-ins, and support and encouragement as you work to complete your dissertation by joining us for TAA’s September Virtual Dissertation Writing Boot Camp. This second boot camp in a series of 9, will be held September 20-21. It will feature a 30-minute webinar presented by Margarita Huerta, Assistant Professor of English Language Learning/Early Childhood Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, entitled, “Writing With POWER”.

As a postdoctoral research assistant, Huerta was integrally involved with P.O.W.E.R. Writing Services program at Texas A&M University, a program that provides “motivational and instrumental support for graduate students’ and faculty’s academic writing”. In this webinar she will share tools and strategies from the P.O.W.E.R. writing program that can help you jump-start your dissertation project. You can learn more about P.O.W.E.R., which stands for Promoting Outstanding Writing for Excellence in Research, by visiting power.tamu.edu. Registration deadline is September 18. Free for TAA members! Register [Read more…]

Write with POWER: Join us for September virtual dissertation writing boot camp

bootcampJoin us for TAA’s second boot camp, which will be held September 20-21 and features a mini webinar entitled “Writing with POWER”, presented by Margarita Huerta, Assistant Professor of English Language Learning/Early Childhood Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. As a postdoctoral research assistant, Huerta was integrally involved with P.O.W.E.R. Writing Services program at Texas A&M University, a program that provides “motivational and instrumental support for graduate students’ and faculty’s academic writing”. In this webinar she will share tools and strategies from the P.O.W.E.R. writing program that can help you jump-start your dissertation project. You can learn more about P.O.W.E.R., which stands for Promoting Outstanding Writing for Excellence in Research, by visiting power.tamu.edu. Register for the September boot camp. Free for members. Non-members pay only $15 and can participate in all 9 boot camps.

Writing Accountability PartnerNEW! Registrants of TAA’s Dissertators United Chapter Writing Boot Camps will be invited to sign up to get connected with an accountability partner. Knowing that you need to communicate your progress to someone else can provide the accountability you need to keep your dissertation on track! Sign up instructions will be included in the boot camp registration confirmation email.

6 Reasons to participate in a writing boot camp

Nothing Worth Doing is Ever EasyAshley Sanders, a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University and leader of TAA’s Dissertators United Chapter Writing Boot Camps, (the second boot camp, “Writing With POWER”, will be held Sept. 20-21. Register today) shares these six reasons to participate in a writing boot camp:

(1) Create space and time in our schedules to make significant progress on our writing goals
(2) Develop goal-setting skills
(3) Increase the writers’ awareness of their own process through writing logs
(4) Share writing resources
(5) Determine sustainable writing habits
(6) Offer both camaraderie and accountability

Read Ashley’s article about writing boot camps on Inside Higher Ed [Read more…]

8 Academic writing blogs you should be following

BlogsWhen trying to find relevant articles to share on our Twitter feed I seem to always go back to the same blogs. These blogs (below) offer stellar advice for academic writing, from dissertations to journal articles, to book proposals and productivity. Here is my list of eight academic writing blogs you should be following:

The Thesis Whisperer—Developed ‘Shut up and Write!’ which “turns writing from a solitary, to a social experience.” You can either start a group near you or find a group in your area using their interactive map.

patter—Pat Thomson covers everything from thesis writing to journal etiquette and rejections, to how to get started on the page. I especially like Pat’s posts on writing for journals.

PhD2Published—This blog is packed with tips, so many that I’m not even sure where to start. You’ll just have to check it out for yourself.
[Read more…]

When writing your dissertation, look at it from several perspectives

writingThe project is not the subject. The project is not the thesis. Whether you are writing your dissertation, a journal article, or a book, the project is not simply the thesis. When I ask people about their projects the answer I get is always (or almost always) the subject of the project. Sometimes I ask specific questions like “what kind of project? Is it a dissertation? A thesis?” And still the answer I get is the subject of the project. But your project is not just about a subject; it has a certain form. It is a journal article, a dissertation, a book. It has a certain intention—to share a discovery, to support a position, to instruct others. It is aimed at a certain audience—peers, or students, or educated lay people.

If you can see that form, and understand how that form relates to the work you’re trying to accomplish, then the writing process becomes much easier: it’s less a shot in the dark, and more a purposeful action. [Read more…]