In between writer and author

writing deskHave you heard the recent song from American Idol and country music singer, Scotty McCreery? It’s called “In Between” and it’s a fun song that I think a lot of people can identify with because we tend to see ourselves as not all of one particular thing or another. It’s also quite fitting in a world where we often label people in a specific way and once identified as such, find it that much harder to see them as anything different.

As many problems such thinking can cause in our world of relationships, it can be that much more devastating when labels or identification is self-imposed, especially when that assigned identity is less than what we want to be known for. This is particularly true for authors (whether early in their career or even sometimes after being published) where we are quick to claim the title of “writer” but slow to call ourselves an “author”. Even more often, it seems that we identify somewhere “in between”.

So what are you? Are you a writer? Are you an author? Or are you somewhere in between? [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 12, 2021

“If people did not do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” ~Ludwig WittgensteinWhat part of your writing makes you feel uncomfortable? Do you sometimes feel silly trying something new like building a writing habit or saying the word “Pomodoro”? Oftentimes our self-doubt or fear will increase these feelings as well.

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we look at where to put our focus while writing, facing down fear, overcoming the blank page, and habits of a successful student. We look next at research ethics, editing your writing, and treating networking like something familiar – a research project. Finally, we explore support for authors in open access publishing.

Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, “If people did not do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” So I challenge you to embrace the silly this week. Try something new, face down your fears, approach your writing from a different (perhaps even absurd) perspective, and see what intelligent results you produce. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Are you looking for instant results?

pot for cookingWe live in a world of instant. Instant communication. Instant purchases. Instant gratification. All of this “instant” mentality makes it hard sometime to work for and wait for the things that take time. But how instant is “instant”?

In this article, I want to examine the authoring and publishing process through the eyes of a kitchen appliance – the Instant Pot®. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 11, 2020

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." ~John SteinbeckJohn Steinbeck once said, “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” There’s much more to successful writing than ideas, though. We must be able to handle them.

In this week’s collection of posts from around the web, we found some ideas for handling ideas like focusing on process, a shared peer-review taxonomy, revising like a reader, fostering trust, getting confident with statistics, subscribing to open, and making the most of the time you have for writing. We also look ahead to the holidays and new year with posts on changes to journal impact factor, increasing work-life balance, strategic actions for productive writing, and thoughtful gifts for writers.

We hope that you find inspiration in the posts below that help you to turn your ideas into published manuscripts. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Are you good enough?

writing doubtWe all have a little voice inside our head. Sometimes it is a coach, or a bully, or a nag, or a guide. The voice can be the driving force behind some of our decisions, fortunately or unfortunately. It can guide relationships, career choices, and inevitably, our writing.

Writing, editing, and researching are solitary pursuits by nature. They can be driven forward by passion and curiosity, or promoted by achieving greater heights. But they can also be way laid by self-doubt. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 14, 2020

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” ~Jim RyunThis week’s collection of articles from around the web contains a variety of topics common to academic and textbook authors. Specifically, how to go from idea to completion, dealing with writer’s burnout along the way, essay writing in 2020, research contributions beyond publication, Digital First textbooks, the ‘later on’ PhD pursuit, and responding to R&R decisions.

The common thread through the collection is finding a way to finish what we start. Jim Ryun once said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” If you are currently motivated, work on building a sustainable habit. If you’re working your plan, keep it up. If you’ve begun to burn out, develop a habit that can keep you moving forward. This week, find the habit that will keep you going and happy writing! [Read more…]

Turning ideas into text

ideas into textDuring our May 29th #AcWriChat TweetChat event on Twitter, we discussed how academic writers turn ideas into text. Specifically, we considered how ideas are generated, ways to use freewriting to generate ideas, methods for prioritizing ideas and project tasks, strategies for writing the first draft and ways that the draft can help refine the idea.

Below is a summary of the ideas shared during the discussion. [Read more…]

Lessons learned from false starts

unfinished puzzlesWe 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? [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #4: Objectivity

fresh work area with a blank screen on the laptopA good researcher is objectively seeking answers to their research questions and reporting those findings objectively to the community at large. But what does it mean to write objectively? How do we maintain objectivity where possible? Finally, how do we make efforts to identify and avoid bias in our academic writing?

In our fourth discussion of the distinguishing features of academic writing, we discussed all of these questions. A summary of the discussion and related resources is below. [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #3: Formality

formalityAmerican poet, W.S. Merwin once said, “The idea of writing, to me, was, from the beginning, writing something which was a little different from the ordinary exchange of speech. It was something that had a certain formality, something in which the words were of interest in themselves.” Perhaps this same sentiment is the foundational principle from which academic writing has gotten its distinguishing feature of formality – to provide something in which the words are of interest in themselves.

In our third discussion of the distinguishing features of academic writing, we discussed what makes academic writing formal, the purpose of such formality, effect of formality on tone and word choice, whether there are levels of formality acceptable in academic writing, and ways to improve the formality of academic writing efforts. [Read more…]