Reality check: 5 Ways to combat imposter syndrome

imposter syndromeI can’t do this! What were they thinking when they picked me to write this textbook? Who am I to be conducting this research? Everyone at this presentation is going to know all of this already. I have nothing new to offer to this conversation.

These are just a few of the messages that imposter syndrome may share with you as an author in academia. And each can be the wall that limits or delays your success. Or you can find ways to get a reality check and overcome these false feelings of being unqualified for the task at hand. Below I offer five such ways to combat imposter syndrome. [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…]

3 Time problem areas and how to handle them

clock on deskIn her recent TAA webinar, “Creative Scheduling For Those Who Have ‘All of the Time in the World’ and ‘No Time At All’”, Katy Peplin identified three areas that commonly result in time problems: focus blocks, priority blocks, and scheduling blocks. If you’re having difficulty managing your time, chances are you’re dealing with one or more of these blocks.

But there’s good news. Peplin also shared specific actions that you can take to overcome each of these three blocks. [Read more…]

To keep writing, use a time log

time log“What did I do today!” you wail. For the life of you, wiped out at the end of the day and ready for binge TV, you can’t remember anything you did except overeat for lunch. Maybe you recall writing for eight minutes midmorning and half-heartedly pecking at your journal article in progress, but otherwise the day’s a blank. And paradoxically, you feel you’re always so busy, dashing from one thing to the next and never getting it all done.

Sound familiar? Where does the time go? Especially for academic writers, with the responsibilities of teaching, mandatory committee meetings, office hours, reading endless memos, emailing responses, and comforting a colleague who just got her article rejected—again—it’s an ongoing challenge to take hold and wrestle our writing time to the ground, or desk.

I found a remedy, though, that you may have read about: keep a time log. [Read more…]

Should we succumb to ‘the mood’ to write?

writing moodsWe all have trouble getting to the desk. Loads of articles, blogs, chapters, and seminars by writers for writers advise how to get to it, stay at it, and finish the damn thing. And some of them help, like Schumann’s (2019) dictum to do fifteen minutes a day or the pomodoro method (Cirillo, 2018) of twenty-five minutes on, five off. Schumann and others also counsel that inspiration is a cheat. If you believe you must wait to write until the right mood strikes, you’ll never get much done. Many writers nevertheless persist in this myth, supporting it with impressive rationales.

Some blame external circumstances: [Read more…]

2/28 TAA Webinar: “9 Proven Strategies to Help You Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Manuscript”

Mary Beth AverillFor some people, staring at that first blank page is the hardest part of the writing task. Others have good start up energy and ideas but struggle to maintain momentum. Finally, are those who wrestle with completing a manuscript and sending it out. Join us Thursday, February 28 from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, 9 Proven Strategies to Help You Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Manuscript, where presenter Mary Beth Averill, PhD, MSW, Academic Coach and author of How to Become an Academic Coachwill present nine strategies to help you with organization, motivation, time management, and editing from start to finish whether you are writing an academic book, journal article, or dissertation. [Read more…]

How to smash an unexpected block: When the writing’s going well

No negative thoughts allowedWe’ve all probably read articles about writer’s block that stumps and paralyzes, but several writers I know have experienced another unexpected and surprising block. One described it: “My fingers play the computer keyboard like a concert pianist, my pages pile up like gold. ‘Wow, I think, I’m gonna go all night!’”

Then he confessed, “‘Faster than a form rejection, more powerful than an editor’s frown, able to freeze me in a single flash, a horrible thought darkens my brain: I can’t stand it anymore!’”

What? The writing was going just too well. [Read more…]

Your writing accountability partner this summer: 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 free with your TAA membership, and is open to those writing textbooks, scholarly journal articles, and dissertations.

The gym will be open 24 hours from July 16-August 26, 2018. The deadline for signing up is July 9. [Read more…]

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…]

Meditation and mindfulness for your major project

mindfulness meditationMay I suggest using spiritual principles or practices in your important academic project? “What!” you cry, “Academics and religion/spirituality don’t mix, like ice cream and boiled kidney!”

But . . . as you wrestle with your Major Work, do you crave less anxiety, more confidence, better work flow, even real answers to all those knotty quandaries?

Meditation and mindfulness can help. In my academic coaching practice, I’ve found, to my surprise, that many graduate students in their dissertations and professors in their articles use spiritual methods to help them through the Purgatory of academic writing. And I encourage them, primarily in two ways—meditation and mindfulness. [Read more…]