Writing under duress (or, Writing 2020!)

On 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.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 20, 2020

Some things are nearly certain in academic writing – especially uncertainty. Our collection of articles from around the web this week begins with embracing uncertainty for greater productivity and includes other valuable insight and resources.

Included in the list are the value of intellectual engagement, prompts for writing with literature, visuals in research, and safeguarding your research. The key to overcoming uncertainty, however, is to write. And to write now. Henry David Thoreau once said, “Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” Happy writing!

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: December 15, 2017

Halfway through the final month of the year, as the fall semester comes to an end for academics, we’re often faced with a mix of emotions related to the satisfying end of one term, the upcoming holiday “break” ahead, and the new challenges that await in the new year. It can be a time of reflection, gratitude, stress, innovation, or a multitude of these and other feelings. Our selection of articles this week reflect all of them.

We begin with gratitude and praise for the family members, especially academic spouses, who support us throughout the year, and tackle the stress of stalls in our progress and ways to break through the doldrums. We then explore some of the concerns facing academic and textbook authors, such as predatory publishers and the consideration of e-books vs. physical textbooks. Finally, we share a number of posts related to innovation and moving forward on your writing projects including: the state of innovation in scholarly communication today, big data, interdisciplinary efforts, finding the gaps for grant funding opportunities, citing “grey literature” such as blogs, and new tools to support your research and collaboration efforts.

Although we hope you find inspiration from this collection to move forward in your own textbook and academic writing efforts, don’t wait for inspiration to get moving. As Lawrence C. Connolly says, “Writing is something I do everyday. If I waited for inspiration, I’d never get anything done.”