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…]

4 Paths to writing productivity and publication success

writing successIn his 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Organizing for Writing Productivity and Publication Success”, history author Kenneth Campbell shared organizational advice and tips based on his personal writing experience.  

Specifically, Campbell offered strategies and techniques for research and writing, time management, working with editors and publishers, and responding to peer review criticisms throughout the writing process. In conclusion, he encouraged participants to “focus on the contribution you are making to educating and enriching the lives of others” if the goal is success. [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…]

The promise of writing in the disciplines

academic libraryFor many of us who teach writing, we often think about the rhetorical triangle: ethos, pathos, and logos. Although, when speaking to our students, colleagues, or peers, we tend to use the more colloquial terms of speaker/writer, audience/reader, and message/content, and then in terms of genre and purpose. Through these terms, I teach writers what good academic writing is and how it works: about how and why we cite sources, use first- or third-person, active voice, even adverbs.

I first heard of Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) years ago in the K12 context of writing to learn and learning to write to be understood across K12 subjects: social studies, English, mathematics, and science. Undergirding WAC is the understanding that good writing in any subject requires writing to be clear and accessible. In math classes, for example, we asked students to write out the process by which they solved a problem. At the time, this allowed us to zero in on where students struggled and allowed us to give partial credit for a math problem almost solved correctly, but it did not yet have to do with writing well academically in the discursive styles of a specific discipline. But students were learning the mode of what we called “process writing.” [Read more…]

Crafting meaningful stories to bring research methods to life

What's your story?Stories engage readers. We can use stories to show how the ideas or strategies we are discussing might play out in a particular social, cultural, or organizational context. I often write about research methods, and find that stories can help readers see how the pieces of a research design fit together. Stories can be presented in a fully-developed research case, or as an engaging example inserted within an article or book chapter.

For my first research book, Online Interviews in Real Time, I thought it was important to include stories. Online methods were new and few robust descriptions were available that showed how they actually worked. I found six researchers who were doing interesting online research, and interviewed them. I crafted a section for each chapter called “Researchers’ Notebook: Stories of Online Inquiry.” Readers could see how each of these researchers handled ethical dilemmas or sampling. The companion website linked to additional materials from the researchers’ work.

Several books later, I am getting ready to write a new edition for Doing Qualitative Research Online and again want to include stories in a “Researchers’ Notebook.” I know that more researchers are incorporating stories, so I wondered whether their lessons learned might help me prepare to move forward. In this post I will share a few tips and examples I discovered in three open access articles. In a future post I will look at digital and visual storytelling and how I can use these approaches in ancillary materials. [Read more…]