The power of words

Yesterday, 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.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 1, 2021

As you turn the page on a new year today, reflect on your accomplishments in the year that was, dream of opportunities in the year ahead, and design a plan for action to move you forward each day. Take time to reflect, dream, and plan. Writing is a creative process that requires learning from what was in order to create what will be. In fact, Burton Rascoe once said, “A writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.”

Are you a crafter or a drafter?

Every 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.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 16, 2020

Andre Gide once said, “The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.” As academic authors we balance the creative process of writing (and ideas that may be perceived as madness) with the need to express those ideas through reason and logic. Along the writing journey we have to, therefore, be willing to prompt progress with madness and continue writing with reason. In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we find advice on both.

Included are mental models for writers, unusual essay writing tips, and completely maddening ideas like planning to rest. These are balanced with practical advice on things like style, tone and grammar, launching a book during a pandemic, and building a credible web presence.

How to edit your work for proper format and quality presentation

Last week during TAA’s bi-weekly #AcWriChat TweetChat event on Twitter, we discussed how to edit your academic writing for proper format and quality presentation. Included in the discussion were the three common style guides (APA, MLA, and Chicago), common practices and mistakes, and the effect of poor formatting and presentation on credibility of the work. We also discussed how to evaluate flow and what elements of consistency should be evaluated during the editing process.

Academic writing styles: Critical academic writing

Academic writing is far from a one-size-fits-all genre. Applicable to the broad variety of academic disciplines and their unique approaches to conducting and documenting research efforts in the field, one might find it challenging to identify clearly what constitutes academic writing.

In our latest series of #AcWriChat TweetChat events on Twitter, we explored four commonly accepted academic writing styles: descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical. This article focuses on the discussion about the last of those four styles – critical academic writing.