Lessons learned from false starts

We are all parts of various communities. The ones we physically live in. Our extended family is a community. You are part of an academic discipline which is an important group, as is where you work.

As a writer (even a beginner), you are part of a community. I do worry sometimes, that the writing community is made up a large group of individuals each on their own island. Each of us may be experiencing the same challenges and be suffering them in silence as we try to solve own our issues. Groups like TAA and this blog help address challenges. How do you create a writing schedule and stick to it? How do you approach revising your own work? When is your project “done” and ready for submission?

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 7, 2020

We all create expectations for ourselves. We define writing projects we want to complete, areas in which we want to grow personally or professionally, and goals for measuring our success or quantifying our accomplishments. However there are times when facing those expectations, the expectations of others can take us off course.

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we explore the “bestest of plans”, how to find time for the things that matter to us amidst other commitments, and how to adjust to changes in our environment. Further, we explore the value of community for support of our research efforts, disseminating research, and collaborative writing efforts. Finally, find articles related to using your network when searching for jobs, strategically approaching the campus job visit, and a proposal for restructuring the APC to promote fairer cost allocation in scholarly communication.

Whatever your personal and professional expectations, define them, pursue them, and be true to yourself along the way. As Franz Kafka once said, “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” Happy writing!

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 13, 2019

T.S. Eliot once said, “Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.” The key to success, however, is to fail forward. This week’s collection of articles from around the web fittingly explores some of the ways academic authors can do just that.

We begin with an exploration of the “gap” between management scholarship and practice and the number of academic hours worked. We then consider ways to keep up with the literatures and simplify indexing and data sharing. Next, we explore ways to deal with failure and to apply the lessons learned along the way. Finally, we examine ways to make money from writing books and reasons why librarians are concerned about GetFTR.

As you close out your academic semester and near the end of 2019, reflect on the successes and failures of the term and year past, but focus on failing forward into the year ahead. Happy writing!

Cultivating your writing garden

I admit to being addicted to quotes. I have kept a list for years and it grows with each book I read. “Let us cultivate our garden,” is a well-known aphorism by Voltaire. It applies to so many areas of life: relationships, work, gardening, and of course, writing.

Quite a few authors or would-be authors I speak with feel unsure or uncertain about their writing and editing skills. I get it. Most authors have spent years honing their content mastery and little of their precious “free time” on becoming better writers or editors.

On plagiarism

Years ago now, when I worked at the Sweetland Writing Center at the University of Michigan, we hosted a large conference called, “Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism,” to place “plagiarism in dialogue with notions of originality and imitation” (3) [1]. In the years since, as I work with departments to integrate writing across the disciplines and with graduate students and faculty to publish in their fields, I find myself continuing to think about how we can do a better job teaching these three cornerstones.

AcWriMo starts tomorrow – see what we have planned

Established in 2011, Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) is a month-long academic write-a-thon that happens every November. Here at TAA, we have continued to plan special opportunities for our members to engage in AcWriMo as a group to enhance their individual writing efforts. Some of our members have also created or sponsored additional AcWriMo events throughout the month.

This year, TAA has decided to focus on a theme of “Distinguishing features of academic writing”. Specifically, we have used a list of academic writing features to further focus our weekly TweetChat discussions and shared resources to include: academic precision, complexity, formality, objectivity, and accuracy. Below are several of the planned activities we have scheduled for AcWriMo 2019.

Academic Writing Month: Community and progress

One book to complete, another one to start. It must be time for Academic Writing Month! November is almost here, and writers around the world will be looking for tips and encouragement so they can make progress on articles, books, theses, or dissertations. We’ll share strategies, progress, and frustrations using the #AcWriMo hashtag.

Writing is typically a solitary occupation. Even when we are co-authoring, a lot of work is done on our own. And for most of us, the concept of a “book leave” or a sabbatical—undistracted time to focus on our writing—is the stuff of dreams. While we struggle to make sense of our thoughts and interpret research for our readers, life goes on. Dinner needs cooking, partners and kids need attention, and students expect us in class.