Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 5, 2021

“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” ~Lloyd AlexanderAs academics, we seek to gain and share knowledge, we look for answers and question the ones we know, and we encourage students and colleagues to continue learning and expanding their breadth of knowledge. But what happens when we don’t find an answer or, worse yet, don’t feel like we have the answer to give to someone else?

As academic and textbook authors, we are the authority – the knowledge source – in our discipline, so how could we possibly not have an answer to give, and if we don’t, then maybe we need to question whether we belong in that position of responsibility as a writer after all, don’t we? Lloyd Alexander once said, “We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” In other words, the pursuit of knowledge (and the efforts we make to help others pursue knowledge) are actually of greater benefit than the knowledge itself.

This week’s collection of articles begins with some limiting beliefs of many writers, includes suggestions for developing your academic writing through process and practice, and ends with a modern suggestion for overcoming writer’s block. As you write this week, spend time looking (and helping others look) for answers rather than feeling as though you need to already have or provide the answers themselves. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 18, 2020

"As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand." ~Ernest HemingwayErnest Hemingway once said, “As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.” In our academic writing, there are certainly a number of places where understanding is important.

Seen in this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we must understand how to develop a first draft, what questions we need to answer to move forward, what our research data tells us, what makes writing worthwhile, how to maintain a productive schedule, how to balance work with periods of rest, how to survive through crisis, and the general state of the publishing industry.

Without judgement of yourself or others, as we begin to close out the year that was 2020 in the back half of December, reflect on your academic writing efforts, not with judgement, but with understanding of what has been, what is, and what you hope will be moving forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

How to use your academic break to improve your writing productivity

stretch and take a breakAcademia works in regular patterns of intensive study and classwork followed by scheduled breaks between or in the middle of academic terms. Whether your institution works on a traditional semester system with breaks between the spring, summer, and fall semesters or on a year-round or quarterly system with breaks strategically scheduled throughout the year, it is important to use these breaks in a way that they can improve your productivity and move you forward.

In this article, I offer two suggestions for using breaks, like the winter break beginning now for most of our readers as we close out 2020, to improve your writing productivity either during or following the break. The advice depends on your regular practice during the academic year. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 10, 2020

“Every writer I know seems to agree on the same thing: You need to write, a lot.”“Every writer I know seems to agree on the same thing: You need to write, a lot.” This unattributed quote could be attributed to nearly every aspiring author who has received advice from a successful one, but as much as we know that we need to write, a lot, it’s certainly easier said than done, most days.

In this collection of articles from around the web this week we have found some specific advice on how to get stuff done, how to write your first few pages, how to overcome the lure of planning, tips for sticking to a writing routine, writers’ tools for better productivity, and how to harness the power of coauthoring. We’ve also found guidance on writing blog posts, organizing digital files, and creating a memorable virtual book launch. Finally, we close with some industry news on bringing diverse perspectives into scholarly marketing and communications and a forthcoming Plan S Journal Checker Tool.

As you prepare yourself for the week ahead, we hope you find inspiration and guidance in the resources below to put you in a mindset where you can write, a lot. Happy Writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 19, 2020

“Remember when you see a man at the top of a mountain, he didn’t fall there.” ~Jim RohnAs we prepare for the official start of summer this weekend, sights may be set on vacations, rest, and relaxation in the academic “off season”, but as evidenced by Meggin McIntosh’s session yesterday in TAA’s Summer Webinar Series, much can be accomplished during this time, especially for those of us focused on writing.

Our collection of articles from around the web shares advice on finding time to write, planning your calendar, and developing a sense of purpose and routine. It continues with research considerations for what to read, practices in the covid era, digital defenses, and tips for becoming an indie researcher. Finally, we close with some global topics of large-scale open access agreements, combatting counterfeiting, and more inclusive and diverse publishing practices.

As Jim Rohn once said, “Remember when you see a man at the top of a mountain, he didn’t fall there.” Set your intentions this week, plan your writing time, focus on the long-term impact of your work, and happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 12, 2020

“Be stronger than your excuses.”Someone once said, “Be stronger than your excuses.” It is certainly easy to make excuses for not writing, not moving forward on our projects, not accomplishing our goals – especially in a time of disruption like we have faced for the past few months. Or in time of “vacation” if we have the summer “off”. But to be successful, we have to be stronger.

Our collection of articles from around the web includes an 11-year-old’s advice on busting excuses, summer planning strategies, and actionable steps for developing a routine, being creative, and training your brain. There’s also information on how to improve the academic writing process, to make your research meaningful, and to be excited by the practices that have emerged from the pandemic. Finally, we have questions to ask before signing a publishing contract and useful websites for writers.

Explore the links below, refuel your passion, and be stronger than your excuses! Happy writing! [Read more…]

7 Ways to maintain a writing practice between academic terms

live. breathe. create.During our final #AcWriChat TweetChat event of 2019 on Twitter, December 13th, we focused our discussion on ways to maintain a writing practice between academic terms. Now in the final week of the year, amidst the holiday season, in the middle of most academic breaks, we wanted to share the list of TAA article resources included in that event.  

If you’re looking for a little inspiration to boost your productivity, adjust your routine, focus on your writing efforts, or enjoy a little break from the academic term, there’s surely something below for you in these seven ways to maintain a writing practice between academic terms. [Read more…]

AcWriMo starts tomorrow – see what we have planned

AcWriMo 2019Established 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. [Read more…]

Academic Writing Month: Community and progress

AcWriMo is coming soonOne 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. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 28, 2018

"It is perfectly okay to write garbage--as long as you edit brilliantly." ~C.J. CherryhAs the seasons change and the academic year starts to settle into more of a routine, for some, the writing gets easier and the schedule is set up for success. For others, the daily schedule has begun to feel more overwhelming and the ability to focus or maintain momentum may be challenging.

This week’s collection of articles from around the web includes ways to generate ideas, create a super focused workday, balance family and academic life, be ready for a change in scenery to maintain a productive writing practice, successfully build a research network, and deal with the administrative grief of academic environments. We’ve also found great insight into the rise of peer review, research ethics, read and publish models, critical thinking, and the dissemination of scientific facts.

Wherever your writing takes you this week, we hope it moves you in the direction of your goals. As C. J. Cherryh reminds us, “It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly.” Happy writing! [Read more…]