The power of words

“A word after a word after a word is power.” ~Margaret AtwoodYesterday, January 20, 2021, we witnessed the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States and of Vice-President Kamala Harris. The ceremony was filled with messages, constructed by words, shared by many people in positions of power – both in our national government and in the entertainment industry – through speech, recitation, song, and poetry. These messages and the effect of the words delivered throughout the event caused me to revisit a quote from Margaret Atwood who said, “A word after a word after a word is power.”

In this post, I want to highlight some of the words that resonated with me from yesterday’s event, other historical instances of the power of words, and advice for how you can ensure that the words you use in your writing exhibit the power of your message. [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…]

Writing under duress (or, Writing 2020!)

Books by Janet SalmonsOn one hand, with social isolation and no distractions from travel, concerts, theatre, or friends, it has been a productive year. I’ve completed three short books, and two more are in press. Writing has given me focus and kept me busy. (Alas, no sourdough…) On the other hand, it has been extraordinarily difficult.

My writing practice is centered on books and blogs. This year I discovered a big difference—besides the obvious one of length. [Read more…]

Are you a crafter or a drafter?

colorful desk with laptop and journalsEvery author has their own personal style of writing and approach to the writing process. Whether that be a style guide preference, choice of genre, or organization of information, we are all individuals in the craft. I recently listened to an interview with Charlie Wetzel who, since 1994, has served as a writing partner for John C. Maxwell on more than 80 books.

According to Wetzel, authors can be categorized into one of two categories: crafters or drafters. Which are you? Let’s explore each to determine. [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: October 2, 2020

“I think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get. And I think that’s the job of art.” ~Andre Dubus IIIThis week’s collection of articles from around the web is full of questions. Questions about our writing practice. Questions about the science of academic writing and scholarship. Questions about the future of the publishing industry.

Beginning with “what’s the worst that could happen?” and ending with “what’s on the horizon for publishing and open access?” these articles inspire fresh perspective on our textbook and academic writing processes.

Andre Dubus III once said, “I think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get. And I think that’s the job of art.” This week, use your writing practice to go deeper into the questions associated with your discipline and process. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 31, 2020

“A word after a word after a word is power.” ~Margaret AtwoodThis week’s collection of articles from around the web contains many strategies for writing that can make your writing process more effective and your results more powerful.

We begin our collection with misconceptions about being a writer, tips for reaching your writing goals, and being a trustworthy researcher. We continue with advice on writing what you want to know, writing imperfectly, organizing your writing, improving your essays, and reading to improve your writing. Finally, we explore revision strategies, tone, writing with a busy schedule, blogging, and fostering racial empathy through your reading and writing practices.

According to Margaret Atwood, “A word after a word after a word is power.” This week, focus on putting one word after another to move your projects forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

2020 Textbook award-winning insight (Part 2): Strategies, environment, and lessons

TAA Textbook AwardsWe recently reached out to winners of the 2020 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about why they made the decision to write their textbook, strategies they used for successful writing, advice on contracts, editing, marketing, co-authoring, and more. We will be sharing their answers in a series of posts over the next few weeks.

This second installment of the five-part series focuses on strategies for successful writing. We asked the authors to share their time management, productivity, pedagogical, and environmental approaches for success as well as what they learned in the writing process that they wish they had known before starting. [Read more…]

Take your work on a date

date nightWhat strategies do you use to make your writing enjoyable? In her TAA Conference presentation, “Creative Scheduling for Those Who Have ‘All the Time in the World’ and ‘No Time At All’”, Katy Peplin shared what it looks like to “take your work on a date”.

Before planning to crash your next romantic outing with your journal article, the following is meant to prepare for an exciting opportunity to grow closer to your work, not your soulmate. Peplin shares a five-step process for this productive writing strategy. [Read more…]

Writing with open ears

listeningIt’s time for a new edition of Doing Qualitative Research Online! I previously wrote how I began the process of updating and enhancing this book. Every time I write or update a book, I promise myself that I will do better next time and not end up with chaotic versions or incorrectly-labeled figures. I was approaching this project in a systematic fashion, reading through the 2016 edition with fresh eyes, making minor changes, and taking notes about steps to take for more significant additions to content.

I was confidently moving along, and then…boom! The world changed! Whether we’re grappling with school closures, isolation, illness or spending our time cancelling all the travel we had planned, it is hard to escape this pervasive pandemic. And for researchers, the impact is nothing short of profound. [Read more…]