Spring Your Writing Forward: Get a Month of Motivation in April

Accomplish your academic writing goals by focusing on two areas of academic writing that many authors tend to struggle with – isolation and accountability – with TAA’s new Month of Motivation program.

To combat the challenges associated with personal goal setting and accountability felt by many academic authors, we have developed a month-long motivational email series that begins with a personal pledge to meet your writing goals. Simply share with us your goals, anticipated challenges, and what TAA can do to help you succeed, and we’ll help move you forward with daily email messages containing motivation, encouragement, and resources to advance your writing efforts all month long. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 5, 2021

“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” ~Lloyd AlexanderAs academics, we seek to gain and share knowledge, we look for answers and question the ones we know, and we encourage students and colleagues to continue learning and expanding their breadth of knowledge. But what happens when we don’t find an answer or, worse yet, don’t feel like we have the answer to give to someone else?

As academic and textbook authors, we are the authority – the knowledge source – in our discipline, so how could we possibly not have an answer to give, and if we don’t, then maybe we need to question whether we belong in that position of responsibility as a writer after all, don’t we? Lloyd Alexander once said, “We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” In other words, the pursuit of knowledge (and the efforts we make to help others pursue knowledge) are actually of greater benefit than the knowledge itself.

This week’s collection of articles begins with some limiting beliefs of many writers, includes suggestions for developing your academic writing through process and practice, and ends with a modern suggestion for overcoming writer’s block. As you write this week, spend time looking (and helping others look) for answers rather than feeling as though you need to already have or provide the answers themselves. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Overcome a startling block: When your writing flows

writing flowYour fingers play the keyboard like a concert pianist, your pens run dry with astounding speed, your pages pile up like gold. “Wow,” you think, “this is how it should be! I’m gonna go all night!”

But then, faster than a form rejection, more powerful than an editor’s frown, able to freeze your brain in a single flash, a horrible thought zaps you: I can’t stand it anymore!  

What! Why? A strange reason: Your writing’s going just too well. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 18, 2020

"As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand." ~Ernest HemingwayErnest Hemingway once said, “As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.” In our academic writing, there are certainly a number of places where understanding is important.

Seen in this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we must understand how to develop a first draft, what questions we need to answer to move forward, what our research data tells us, what makes writing worthwhile, how to maintain a productive schedule, how to balance work with periods of rest, how to survive through crisis, and the general state of the publishing industry.

Without judgement of yourself or others, as we begin to close out the year that was 2020 in the back half of December, reflect on your academic writing efforts, not with judgement, but with understanding of what has been, what is, and what you hope will be moving forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Time Management Survey respondents cite prioritization, procrastination issues as biggest challenges

Time ManagementAs part of writing coach Mary Beth Averill’s TAA webinar on time management this month, we surveyed members anonymously on their time management challenges.

When asked what they saw as their biggest time management challenges, respondents highlighted scheduling, exhaustion, estimating how long their projects will take, and prioritizing. One person wrote, “waiting to the last minute and finding the project is bigger than I anticipated.” Another pointed out time of day: “First thing in morning: rituals of Internet headlines and email checking.” And, as academics, they have to answer to competing priorities: “The amount of service work required in academic work. Calculating how much time it takes to do things. Prioritizing my own work.” [Read more…]

12/9 TAA Webinar – Writing a Dissertation and Beyond: Tips & Tools for Launching and Maintaining Your Academic Writing Productivity

Margarita HuertaDanielle FeeneyWriting productivity is important for academics at all levels. For graduate students, in particular, writing is essential for completing a dissertation. Unfortunately, approximately 50% of doctoral students do not complete their degrees, often dropping out during the dissertation writing stage. How can graduate students launch a healthy writing habit in order to complete their dissertations and maintain academic writing productivity as faculty?

Join us Wednesday, December 9 from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar,“Writing a Dissertation and Beyond: Tips & Tools for Launching and Maintaining Your Academic Writing Productivity”, presented by Danielle Feeney, Assistant Professor of Instruction in Special Education in the Patton College of Education, Ohio University; and Margarita Huerta, Associate Professor, Department of Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education in the College of Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Feeney and Huetra will discuss research-based, practical tools and tips that have helped them successfully complete dissertations and launch productive academic careers. They will also discuss the versatility of transforming and personalizing these tools to help manage other aspects of academic life and work.

Free for TAA Members. Register

Summer 2020 TAA Writing Gym receives high marks, praise

Writing GymEighty authors participated in TAA’s six-week Summer 2020 Writing Gym, which was held July 20-August 31. The gym included templates for tracking writing time and developing a six-week workout plan, a TAA Writing Gym-branded writing journal, weekly inspirational emails, 6 on-demand writing classes, several writing stations that allowed participants to target specific writing areas, and a Facebook Group for networking with other gym members.

In a survey sent out after the close of the summer gym, the majority of respondents gave the gym 5 stars, and rated features like the Facebook Group and Writing Classes as Very High Quality or Quality. “I loved the writing gym. It helped me get on track with my writing. The videos and short articles helped me with goal setting, organization, writing tips, etc. I highly recommend participating in the writing gym,” said Leslie Koberna. Most respondents said they averaged 2-4 days per week of writing while participating in the gym. Said Koberna: “Most of the time, I averaged 4 days a week, but the last two weeks I worked 6 days a week on my writing:).” [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…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 14, 2020

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” ~Jim RyunThis week’s collection of articles from around the web contains a variety of topics common to academic and textbook authors. Specifically, how to go from idea to completion, dealing with writer’s burnout along the way, essay writing in 2020, research contributions beyond publication, Digital First textbooks, the ‘later on’ PhD pursuit, and responding to R&R decisions.

The common thread through the collection is finding a way to finish what we start. Jim Ryun once said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” If you are currently motivated, work on building a sustainable habit. If you’re working your plan, keep it up. If you’ve begun to burn out, develop a habit that can keep you moving forward. This week, find the habit that will keep you going and happy writing! [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…]