Talk to me: Using dictation software to write

How often do you talk to your computer?

Last month I discussed the growing sophistication of programs that read your writing aloud from word processing programs such as Word or Pages.

Now, let’s look at the programs that allow you to speak your words into your work without using your fingers. Some might be old school enough to remember the first clunky dictation software. It involved a CD-ROM and lots of instructions and commands. Well thankfully the industry has greatly improved while becoming infinitely easier to implement.

Why weave writing into your teaching?

This is the fourth and final article in a series on finding hidden and unexpected pockets of time to write within your tried-and-true teaching practices. By paying more attention to what we do when we teach, we can spend less time teaching and more time writing without sacrificing quality feedback. I’ve previously written about streamlining your student feedback and grading practices, without sacrificing pedagogical value, to create more time for your writing. In this final article, I will explore several ways to enlist student help in meeting your own writing goals while providing a role model as a scholar.

Impossible you say! “My academic writing has nothing to do with my teaching.” However, when you weave aspects of academic writing into classroom activities, both you and your students benefit.

Let’s look at some powerful classroom activities that will advance thinking and writing for teachers and students alike.

Use your inner mentor for your academic project predicaments

Most of us probably had mentors in graduate school and may still keep in touch with them. But they may not be available every time we need their advice or guidance. Did you know? We have a mentor that’s always available, night and day, every season and semester, for every situation and circumstance.

The IM

This is your Inner Mentor (IM), also called your inner guide, self, voice, spirit, higher power, soul, subconscious, guidance system, intuition, even your heart or gut. It has more power than the dean of your school, your department or committee chair, or even the guy who issues your annual parking sticker.

Allowing our writing creative limbo

Whenever I start a new piece of writing, despite many such starts, I’m often gripped by panic. I still look forward to capturing a new idea on the page, but I freeze. Thinking hard, I finally saw why: it’s the feeling of unknowing.

Whether I’ve scribbled a handful of notes in a frenzy of inspiration or actually made an outline, that same itchy, unsteady, slightly nauseous feeling pervades. Not exactly illness or a full-blown block, it’s more of a nervous disquiet I can only describe as “creative limbo.” Doesn’t matter how often I’ve felt it or many pieces I’ve started and completed. It rears up.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 29, 2022

There are so many aspects to academic writing, and a lot of it is centered on self doubt and, of course, an attitude of discovery and learning. Octavia E. Butler reminds us aspiring authors, however, that “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”

This week’s collection of articles includes practices, tips, tricks, and secrets for building an effective writing practice. Further, it includes advice on building relationships, finding your publishing avenues, and tackling discussion and debate.

As you continue developing your craft as an academic author, stay persistent, learn from others who have been there, and before you know it you will be writing “good stuff” yourself. Happy writing!

4/7 TAA Webinar – Beyond Productivity: How to Build a Joyful Writing Practice

Are you tired of feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or unconfident as a writer? Do you long to recover your love of inquiry and cultivate a joyful relationship with your writing?

Join us Thursday, April 7, 2022, 1-2 p.m. EST, “Beyond Productivity: How to Build a Joyful Writing Practice”, presented by Michelle Boyd of InkWell Academic Writing Retreats. In this one-hour webinar, she will explain why writing is so emotionally taxing, describe how scholars can use social writing to overcome their writing fears. By the end of the session, each scholar will better understand their own barriers and have a step-by-step plan for implementing their personalized social writing strategy.