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…]

4/11 TAA Webinar: Mentor, Coach, Supervisor: Collaborative Ways to Work With Writers

Janet Salmonsjim mccleskeyWriting is deeply personal. But unless we are writing research memos or journal entries, we will have to cooperate with reviewers, editors, and others to get our work published. As faculty supervising students, writing program staff, trainers or consultants, we have the opportunity to help aspiring writers to work more collaboratively. Join us Thursday, April 11 from 3-4 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Mentor, Coach, Supervisor: Collaborative Ways to Work With Writers,” where presenter Dr. Janet Salmons, author of Learning to Collaborate, Collaborating to Learn: Practical Guidance for Online and Classroom Instruction, and her dissertation supervisee Jim McClesky will explore ways to develop skills valuable to writers. They will look at ways to use review exchanges, writing circles, support teams and other approaches to improve writing while learning to work collaboratively. Practical strategies will be offered for classroom, committee, or informal learning settings. will explore ways to develop skills valuable to writers. She will look at ways to use review exchanges, writing circles, support teams and other approaches to improve writing while learning to work collaboratively, and offer practical strategies for classroom, committee, or informal learning settings. [Read more…]

Veteran academic authors Stevens, Caskey, Reeder, and Bertrand Jones to speak at TAA’s June Conference

Veteran authors Dannelle Stevens, Micki Caskey, and Julie Reeder of Portland State University, and Tamara Bertrand Jones of Florida State University will present “From the Blank Page to the Published Journal Article: Let’s Practice Strategies to Ensure Success” at TAA’s 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference. The conference will be held in Old City, Philadelphia, June 14-15, 2019.

This hands-on presentation will focus on three key strategies designed to take you from the blank page to the published piece. From these four accomplished faculty, three of whom are journal editors, session participants will learn how to identify the most compatible journal for their work, carefully structure articles to meet expectations, and respond appropriately to feedback from journal editors. [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…]

Learning as I go: Running into happiness

Personal writing projectWhen I was a PhD student, I found that my academic commitments were throwing off my work life balance, and I wanted to do something about it. My answer, as funny as this sounds, was to add another writing project to my workload, but this was a personal writing project. I wrote and published a book, Running into Happiness, during my busy life as a PhD student!

On my journey, I learned that including a personal writing project in my writing program offered me added benefits. It helped me further develop my writing and productivity skills, and provided me more opportunities to practice my writing regularly. As I learned from Patricia Goodson in her book Becoming an Academic Writer, deliberate practice improves our writing and productivity levels. [Read more…]

Top 10 reasons to attend TAA’s June conference

Top 10 Reasons to Attend ImageThere are a lot of great reasons to attend TAA’s 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference. Past attendees consistently give TAA conferences high marks for content, networking, and inspiration:

“What a great conference! I came away inspired to write many more articles, book chapters and books. The conference gave the tools to accomplish that. It was a great friendly mix of authors at all stages of writing willing to share, mentor and interact.” ~ Betsy Stringam, Professor, New Mexico State University [Read more…]

Getting early feedback on your writing: Turning good into great

dance floorSharing your writing in its early forms can cause anxiety. I liken it to going to a middle school dance. It seems like a good idea, but it is laced with a fear of rejection and insecurity.

Developing positive habits early in your writing career, however, are important. Seeking feedback makes writers better and more confident.  Here are six ideas to help move you toward embracing the valuable feedback loop: [Read more…]

Prepare to be inspired at TAA’s 2019 academic authoring conference!

It’s time to register, make your travel plans, and prepare to be inspired at TAA’s 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference! The conference will be held June 14-15, 2019 at the beautiful Wyndham Hotel located in charming and historic Old City, Philadelphia.

TAA’s conference features sessions presented by veteran authors and industry experts who will share their knowledge, tips, and strategies to help you increase your publishing success. You will have opportunities for hands-on instruction, interactive Q&A, one-on-one mentoring, and peer learning on a wide range of authoring and publishing topics. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 8, 2019

"Most writing doesn't take place on the page; it takes place in your head." ~Susan OrleanSusan Orlean said, “Most writing doesn’t take place on the page; it takes place in your head.” Writing begins with curiosity, expands into a desire to identify, curate, and create knowledge and ideas, and ultimately affects those who read our work.

This week’s collection of posts from around the web begins with ideas for developing a practice of curiosity, for establishing relationships with good critical friends, and for discerning helpful advice from awful advice. We then have some advice for reducing the fear of “the literature” and a discussion on the affect of activism in academia. Our collection closes with insight on the evolving landscape of research access, the words we use to describe new publishing paradigms, and the true cost of inclusive access.

As you write this week – whether in your head or on the page – consider the effect your writing has on your discipline and your readers. Start with a curiosity that leads to discovery and consider where your work fits in the ever-changing landscape of scholarly publishing. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Crushing our creative guilt

creativityMany of us feel a strong calling to express our talents—in the academic and literary arts, music, dance, media, crafts, sciences, or any other field. In my profession of writing, almost every writer I know feels guilty for not writing enough, producing enough, and sending out enough pieces. But for “creatives,” as spiritual creativity guru Julia Cameron (1992, p. 33) labels us all, I’ve recognized another unproductive, thwarting, and possibly paradoxical self-recrimination. [Read more…]