Write a syllabus for yourself

It’s that time of year when faculty are revising syllabi for the classes they teach and students are reviewing those documents in an effort to understand the expectations for the semester ahead. Academia is fueled by the course syllabus that serves to establish intended outcomes, the path by which they will be met, and the consequences of not meeting them.

Unfortunately, the syllabi that we engage with do little (beyond assigned projects) to guide and encourage our academic writing practice. So, if you have academic writing goals that are not tied to a particular course – whether finishing a thesis or dissertation or continuing your academic publishing career – consider writing a syllabus for yourself this semester.

Here are seven things you may want to include to keep yourself motivated throughout the semester ahead.

Too tired to write?

Do you often find you’re too tired to write? If so, you’re suffering from a widespread malady: Too Tired to Write Syndrome (TTWS). I know it well. Late at night, after three hours of primetime soaps/CIA adventures/sports/reality shows/80s reruns, we solemnly promise ourselves we’ll tackle our latest writing project early the next day. Or we solemnly assure ourselves, early in the new morning and jolted by a surge of caffeinated joy, we’ll write later today between 3:00 and 4:00.

But then . . . our promise to ourselves to write drowns in the rest of our lives. With all we have to do, we’re just too tired.

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

Flex 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 writing gym was fantastic. It raised my commitment to writing productively.”

“I loved the opportunity to change my writing habits. Now I am feeling guilty if I don’t at least find 30 minutes to work on a project!”

2020 Textbook award-winning insight (Part 5): Longevity

We recently reached out to winners of the 2020 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about why they made the decision to write their textbook, strategies they used for successful writing, advice on contracts, editing, marketing, co-authoring, and more. We will be sharing their answers in a series of posts over the next few weeks.

This final installment of the five-part series focuses on achieving long-term success for a manuscript.

2020 Textbook award-winning insight (Part 4): Co-authoring

We recently reached out to winners of the 2020 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about why they made the decision to write their textbook, strategies they used for successful writing, advice on contracts, editing, marketing, co-authoring, and more. We will be sharing their answers in a series of posts over the next few weeks.

This fourth installment of the five-part series focuses on working with co-authors.