Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 17, 2019

"It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different." ~Scott BerkunThis week’s collection of articles from around the web contains a number of articles focused on the aspects of writer’s life that are not directly related to the task of writing. Things like use of figures, evaluation methods, motivational efforts, discussion, and networking opportunities.

These same things, while supportive of our writing practice, may also prove to be a distraction or cause of fear of evaluation of our own writing. While it is important to keep them in mind and to incorporate them into our overall writing process, we must be sure to use them in a way that moves us further along in our writing efforts. As Scott Berkun once said, “It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different.” This week let the evaluation, nagging, discussion, and presentation of your work drive you to be better and to move forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 26, 2019

person actively working on a laptopIt’s the end of April. A time when many academics are faced with countless deadlines, upcoming graduations, and new beginnings – all of which carrying their own advantages and challenges. In this week’s collection of posts from around the web, we find advice and resources to promote success in those academic endeavors.

First, if actively writing, don’t overlook the value of editing in the process and be open to potential changes in your plan as you balance your ideal with the reality of deadlines. To support your writing efforts, explore the advantages that personal industry groups and artificial intelligence tools may provide. Keep in mind the reality of semester rhythms, associated burnout, and the need to find balance among your various work-related efforts. Finally, for those embarking on new beginnings as the academic year comes to a close, we share information on the first Read and Publish deal in the US and a list of academic job interview questions (and how to answer them).

As you enter this next week, take things as they come. Focus on each task without getting lost in the potential overwhelm of everything that this part of the academic season often brings. Find a balance for your work. Enjoy the endings and completions, and look forward to the beginnings lying ahead. And through it all, happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: December 21, 2018

"You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way."“You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way.” Our inspirational message to start the week, once again, frames our list of posts from around the web.

This week’s collection of articles begins with a common problem – selecting a research topic and continues with opportunities to share and recognize early stage research. We then explore the presence and impact of data and theory in our academic work, including sources of data, the impact of big data on scientific method, and how theory makes us feel stupid. Our collection closes with articles focused on scholarly communication and ethical challenges of online communities.

Whatever challenges may exist in the process, the key to success is finding the solution. As you close out 2018 in the week to come, focus on the solutions and don’t be the only thing standing in your way. Happy writing! [Read more…]

From solo to global: AcWriMo

acwrimo - Twitter Search - mapWriting is usually a solitary activity. Staring at our monitors or notebooks, we wonder: is this brilliant or nuts? Is this straightforward and clear, or so simplistic that the reader will yawn? Have we written something that will entice the reader to follow our train of thought, or will they jump off with the next distraction? The way novelist Helen Garner described her work as a writer resonates with me:

the absolute inability, while you are working, to judge whether or not what you are doing has any value at all– thus the blind faith and grim stubbornness required in order to keep going; the episodes of elation, the occasional sense of hitting your stride, or of being in tune with the force that creates–the feeling that now you’ve got it, now you can’t put a foot wrong… [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: October 12, 2018

"Start with Why" ~Simon SinekThis week’s collection of posts from around the web have a common theme of clarity and transparency in scholarly writing efforts. Beginning with a look at personal clarity in our revision processes or where we focus our time and energy as researchers to matters of impact and public trust, we have also found opportunities to improve transparency in textbook revisions and scholarly communications.

Wherever your writing efforts take you this week, as Simon Sinek says, “start with why” and be clear in your personal and professional purpose and intent. That clarity will produce results. Happy writing! [Read more…]

TAA Executive Director’s Message

 “Only connect!” ­–E.M. Forster from Howard’s End

Michael Spinella

Michael Spinella

As I sat down to write this column about networking opportunities at TAA, this marvelous two-word sermon from Howard’s End came to mind. Alas, the timing of that great novel (1910) precludes any attempt to read the quote as an aphorism aimed at the digital age, urging us to hone our networking skills! Making matters worse, Forster (or rather, the character in his novel) wasn’t even talking about connecting with other people, but about connecting “the prose and the passion” contained within each of us to make a whole person. [Read more…]

Learning as we go: Establishing a writing community

Alexandria Wolochuck

Alexandria Wolochuck

In 2011 Pat Mason and I set out to establish a TAA chapter writing community at Molloy College. Making the time to come together during a semester to share our work is an awesome task for many of us, but we try to make it interesting for our colleagues by providing writing sessions, newly published books, and refreshments. In addition, we have adopted various useful mottoes—the best being “Less surfing and more writing!”

Pat and I seek to provide opportunities to the writing group that would be the most beneficial to our members. Recently what worked for us was to offer a 50-minute workshop on “Strategies to Improve Your Writing.” We got off to a really great start with a group of faculty representing nursing, theology and communication who seemed eager to learn. The workshop was very interactive and the time was well spent. [Read more…]