Tips for anxious writers: Series introduction

Over the years, as a writing coach trying to help others write more effectively, and as a writer seeking to improve my own ability, I have read a lot of good advice on writing. Too rarely, however, have I found advice that really helped me in my struggles with writing anxiety or that resonated with me as a coach seeking to help other anxious writers. Too often, the advice boils down to “be disciplined and write.” And that’s great advice, of course. At least in a general sense. But for people struggling with anxiety in their writing process, it’s not necessarily good advice. Depending on the degree of anxiety, “be disciplined,” can lead to vicious cycles in which each anxiety-drenched attempt to write only confirms the fear that writing is a painful ordeal.  If you’re feeling enough anxiety, writing is a painful ordeal, as I will attest from personal experience.

Get academic writing into your bones

How do you get academic writing into your bones—and mind? If you’re an experienced professor, you may not need to immerse as much as your students do. In my dissertation editing and coaching practice, I’ve noticed that many student writers write like they speak—conversationally and colloquially.

If you’re a closet novelist, fine. Write like your characters speak. But academic writing is a breed unto itself, and not giving it the proper attention is the downfall of many a previously good student.

Feedback on student work: a sinkhole or an opportunity – Finding time to write (part 2)

Students expect and need feedback on their work. The basic goal of feedback is to enhance student learning. An anomaly of feedback is that more is not necessarily better. Research tells us that students may not even read your copious feedback (sigh) and may not understand what to do with statements like, “cite more references” or “this is confusing”. However, giving a judicious amount of feedback in a timely manner will make a difference in student learning. The purpose of this article is to describe how to refine, clarify, streamline, and improve your feedback practices with an eye toward spending less time on the task.

Six reminders to help you and your students get to the writing

It’s no secret that writing is hard, whatever our experience, stage, or state. Academics aren’t the only ones who abhor writing. It’s likely that anyone who ever had to write anything abhors writing. With academic writing, as any other kind, it’s usually hard to get started. Even if we’ve had an initial flush of enthusiasm and are amazed at having produced the first few pages, it’s too easy to sink into a frozen torpor.

Yet writing represents some of the most important aspects of our professional work. And too often we avoid, procrastinate, and rationalize why, instead of writing, we must polish the car or clean out the refrigerator.

12/9 TAA Webinar – How to Hook Your Audience

In the era of “fake news,” it is critical that research be translated and published as widely and accurately as possible. Among many journalists, however, academics are notorious for their caveats, sub-clauses, and unwillingness to tell a good story. Research experts often find it challenging to engage non-specialist audiences in ways that preserve the rigor and credibility of their work.

Join us Thursday, December 9 from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “How to Hook Your Audience”, presented by Erica Machulak, PhD., founder of Hikma Strategies. Erica will offer a framework and actionable strategies to write research narratives that inform and engage non-specialist audiences.

Finding your sweet spot

Where is the best place to write? In some people’s mind, they will find an idyllic location. Quiet. All your resources and materials at your fingertips. Maybe a good view. Or a great one; a mountain view or the ocean. No phones. No email. No meetings or interruptions. No needy kids or pets. This place likely exists, but only in the movies.

Back in the real world, mere mortals must wrestle with the reality of the day-to-day challenges.