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…]

Are you stalling by revising too soon?

writing linesWhen we’ve squeezed out a few sentences, a paragraph, or page of the first draft of our current writing project, in our elation we may be tempted to go back and revise. The pull to polish is irresistible. So, we revisit those hard-won sentences and baby them into perfection. Then we sit back and bask with satisfaction.

But what do we have? Admittedly, a start, but really just a few sentences. We know we should have kept going with the fearsome task of confronting the blankness, but we yield. And often, our excitement in starting the piece dissipates, like steam out the open window. We sit there, staring or sighing, get up, and walk away to do something that eats into our writing time. [Read more…]

Writing and systems: Beyond strategies, beyond tools

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad 2020 has ended. The year was exhausting and disrupting on so many levels. I watched my productivity hang on like a spider web in a hurricane, and my soul curl up inside, challenging assumptions, questioning most everything. Invariably, I thought quite a lot about my academic writing; I wrote very little. I thought more than I wrote, yes, but the thinking nurtured the writing, offered renewed perspectives. With these, hope revived. With hope, the deep satisfaction of having stayed the course, having written somethingeven if not enough – and been sustained by the writing habit, by the comfort and familiarity of a writing routine. [Read more…]

Specifying the end: Project management as applied to writing

Is project management really an essential writing process? While academic authors certainly recognize that writing requires many unique processes, each deserving attention, we rarely think beyond research, drafting, and revision. Yet, how well we manage projects can make or break the outcome. Case in point, if you miss the deadline for a special issue, it hardly matters how well your paper was aligned with the editor’s vision! Even when outcomes are not so dire, project management allows you to work in a calmer and less reactive manner, thus allowing for greater creativity.

Within formal project management, the tools can be roughly broken into “project definition tools” and “implementation tools.” In general, project definition tools are procedures that help you determine the scope, the tasks, the time frame, and the budget (i.e., time). Implementation tools are those that help you work smoothly. Here I focus on the former. [Read more…]

3/11 TAA Webinar: “Why Your Journal Articles Are Confusing and How IMRaD Can Help”

PublishedThomas DeetjenDo you struggle to describe your research in writing? Like your crisp research vision inevitably devolves into a disorganized, confusing journal article? Let’s discuss a tool that can help—one with which you’re already familiar, but likely not familiar enough: journal article structure.

Join us Wednesday, March 11 at 1 p.m. ET for the 30-minute webinar, “Why Your Journal Articles Are Confusing and How IMRaD Can Help,” where Thomas Deetjen, author of Published, will explore the value of the Introduction, Methods, Results & Discussion—or IMRaD—journal article structure. [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: January 22, 2021

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.What a week! As we seemingly race to the end of the first month of a new year, most new academic terms are in full swing and this week in the US it has been a week of emotion and words for many. The week began with the celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and peaked at midday on Wednesday with the inauguration of the 46th president, Joe Biden. Through it all, one thing is certain – words matter, your voice as an academic author matter, your contribution to the education of our society matters.

King once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Are you meeting this goal in your education or the education of others through your work? In this week’s collection of articles, we share advice on restarting an unfinished book, getting your “Creator” and “Editor” on the same page, and how “Words Matter”. We continue with practical strategies for hypotheses, use of ethnographic field notes, and facilitating group discussions online. Then we close with industry and social interests related to publishing, sharing your research with others, and perspectives amidst the ongoing pandemic.

As you approach the week ahead, know that words matter and, more specifically, your words matter. Choose them wisely. Think intensively. Think critically. And build both intelligence and character through your words. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The power of words

“A word after a word after a word is power.” ~Margaret AtwoodYesterday, January 20, 2021, we witnessed the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States and of Vice-President Kamala Harris. The ceremony was filled with messages, constructed by words, shared by many people in positions of power – both in our national government and in the entertainment industry – through speech, recitation, song, and poetry. These messages and the effect of the words delivered throughout the event caused me to revisit a quote from Margaret Atwood who said, “A word after a word after a word is power.”

In this post, I want to highlight some of the words that resonated with me from yesterday’s event, other historical instances of the power of words, and advice for how you can ensure that the words you use in your writing exhibit the power of your message. [Read more…]

Round up all those stampeding ideas

lots of ideasDo ideas flood your brain like a herd gone wild? Do you flail around, physically and metaphorically, trying to corral them and drive them into the barn? Are you going mad trying to figure out how to use them all?

I am almost constantly barraged by ideas for essays, stories, poems, novel slivers, quirky descriptions, and metaphoric pearls. Ideas surface everywhere: as I edit clients’ manuscripts, wash dishes, huff through workouts, wait on line, watch people, meditate, fall asleep, and even during tactful small talk at business dinners.

All the deluging ideas used to make me groan. Sometimes I’d even feel envious of writers who complained about their sparse fits of inspiration. I’d grouse internally that my ideas never seemed to stop. How would I ever get to them all, much less organize them or make something of them? Most would end up in a mass of ragged notes or on scraps stuffed under the scanner. [Read more…]

Five ways to tiptoe into your dissertation

Dissertation Dream AchievedIf you’re contemplating a doctoral program in which a dissertation is required or you’re already registered and sneaking up on one—and you feel stumped (read: procrastinating)—here are five ways that should help you begin.

Your Dream

The dissertation is the crowning achievement for your degree. Having reached at least the threshold of the dissertation, congratulate yourself. You made it through all the prerequisites and courses, and you’re that much closer to the award of your degree. You’ve done it all because . . . . ? This is the time to remind yourself: How is this degree part of my life’s goals? [Read more…]