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…]

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…]

To rejuvenate, consider closing your writing shop

ClosedAre you dragging when you think about your current writing project, or writing itself? Do you long to regain that old surge and rush of excitement? Maybe, like companies that close temporarily for renovation or universities that close for a holiday break, you need to close your writing shop for some needed rejuvenation.

It’s tough, I know. When we think of closing, even for a little while, reams of ingenious excuses rear up. Any of these sound familiar? [Read more…]

Call for Proposals: Textbook and academic authoring conference

TAA’s 31st Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference will be held at La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe, NM, June 15-16, 2018. The conference is attended by authors and aspiring authors of textbooks, journal articles, and other academic works, as well as by industry professionals from across the country.

TAA invites the submission of presentations relevant to authoring and publishing textbooks and academic works (journal articles, books, and monographs). [Read more…]