Get into your dissertation flow

If you’re writing your dissertation, you’ve probably experienced the all too common range of emotions, from initial elation to paralyzing fear to plunging despair, and in between many starts, stops, and freezes. Here I suggest how you can at least cut down on those maddening swings and coax, invite, and entice the Flow.

When to consider authoring as a work for hire

Work made for hire is writing that is done as part of a person’s job or as an independent contractor who signs an advance written agreement that the work is “work for hire” or “work made for hire.” Authors of a work made for hire have fewer rights than authors who sign a copyright transfer agreement. In effect, the organization that hires the author owns the work. That organization can, within the constraints of the agreement, do whatever they want with the work including adding drastic changes or deciding to not publish it. If the work made for hire is done as part of the author’s regular job, the author will not receive royalties unless a written agreement assigns royalties to the author.

Words matter: Guidelines for pronoun usage

There exists no attribute more central to the human condition than one’s identity. Our identity – whether it is cultural, professional, ethnic and national, religious, gender, or disability – is a central tenet of representation. It affects how we communicate with others and our communication about others. Thus, it is important that we as scholarly writers and professionals are as cognizant of the identities of our audience as we are of our own.

Crafting compelling and purposeful titles: A five step process

Although the old adage states “you can’t tell a book by its cover”, in academic writing it is crucial that the title of an article or book “tell” the essence of the work. The title is the first critical decision point for a reader. Its goal is to invite the reader to peruse the abstract, read the article, and, hopefully, cite your work.

The title does a lot of work for your manuscript, and there are many good reasons to pay attention to crafting short, content-rich, and engaging titles. First, for you, the author, spending time crafting a title forces you to distill your detailed, multi-page manuscript into 10 to 15 words, a daunting task.

Inclusion means including everyone

As authors who have recommitted ourselves to the ideas of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our professional lives, one of the many struggles we face is making access to our content inclusive. However inclusive of race, gender, age, and other aspects of humanity our writing is, it is important to also ask ourselves whether all potential readers are able to access it.

As an author, I have often left accessibility issues completely in the hands the professionals among our publishing team. However, I realize more and more that, in many ways, that sort of inclusion starts with me.

Permission granted! But not the kind you think.

Permission conjures up the image of asking a publisher to use a table or a photo from their publication in your next journal article. This post is not about those types of permission, but rather about the permission you give yourself.

We have all read too many articles (including mine) about how things have changed over the past year. Time challenges. Financial challenges. Changing and increasing demands in the classroom. Emotional rollercoasters. Pressure. The ground under us appears to be constantly shifting.

You need to take this all into account and be good with giving yourself permission.

How virtual choir rehearsal helped me clarify my writing voice

I became interested in knowing more about my writing voice when I received feedback on a draft of my first book chapter. My voice, my writing coach said, was not as clear as when I speak. Why not? I wondered. It seemed clear to me. This feedback and several discussions about my voice made me more attentive to my voice while drafting two book chapters over last summer and early fall. I asked myself how I sounded to my reader. I began practicing reading my drafts aloud to hear how I sounded, and I was pleased my writing voice was becoming more distinct. I was getting to know my writing voice, I thought.

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.

Are you stalling by revising too soon?

When 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.

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.