What is this business we’re in – the business of education? John Dewey once said, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” For textbook and academic authors, I think we’d certainly agree. We live both to educate others and to continue our own education in our discipline. But how do we make education more than a tool or career and rather a lifestyle?
As textbook and academic authors, we often know where we want to go, perhaps have some idea of how to get there, but are often caught with feelings of ill-preparedness, lack of knowledge or resources, and a general sense of self-reliance to produce our results. From the outside looking in, we may appear to be working hard with nothing to show for the effort.
Academic writing is a process of education both for the reader and the writer. You preparation and dedication to your writing efforts prepare tomorrow’s research and writing efforts to move us forward.
In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we see advice on building momentum, getting started with topics and methods, overcoming jealousy of other writers, and building a network of support. We also explore ways to establish the future of your authoring brand including social media strategies and valuing your book for the long term. Finally, we explore transformative models and book writing software.
Today marks the halfway point in Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) 2019. Most academics are also about a month away from the end of the semester and a holiday break. For Americans, we’re less than two weeks from the Thanksgiving holiday and everyone is a month and a half from a new decade.
There’s no question that this time of year brings with it a heightened sense of stress, urgency, and emotions associated with perceived “endings” and “new beginnings”. Our collection of articles from around the web this week cover many of the things academics face in their writing efforts and ways to promote success and satisfaction in the process.
One book to complete, another one to start. It must be time for Academic Writing Month! November is almost here, and writers around the world will be looking for tips and encouragement so they can make progress on articles, books, theses, or dissertations. We’ll share strategies, progress, and frustrations using the #AcWriMo hashtag.
Writing is typically a solitary occupation. Even when we are co-authoring, a lot of work is done on our own. And for most of us, the concept of a “book leave” or a sabbatical—undistracted time to focus on our writing—is the stuff of dreams. While we struggle to make sense of our thoughts and interpret research for our readers, life goes on. Dinner needs cooking, partners and kids need attention, and students expect us in class.
How do TAA authors find their way through a complex and ever-changing maze of writing and publishing? In April 2018, we asked TAA authors, via an online survey and follow-up interviews, to share their experiences in writing and publishing. From 139 survey responses and 12 interviews, we gained rich and insightful descriptions of TAA authors’ writing and publishing journey. We learned about: pitfalls and challenges that can be avoided as authors write and publish books, what authors wish they had known before beginning the book-writing process, and the top three strategies TAA authors leveraged to improve their skills.
To share TAA authors’ experiences and wisdom with you, this blog post reveals some of their pitfalls, lessons, and strategies for writing and publishing textbooks and academic books.
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.”
Do you want to boost your textbook and academic publishing success? Connect, communicate, collaborate, and publish! Join the TAA Authoring…
Patricia Goodson is Professor of Health Education at Texas A&M University, and Director of the College of Education and Human Development’s…
Holding writing workshops is an effective way to support, celebrate and teach writing. That’s what Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Literacy and Inclusion at Minnesota State University, Mankato, discovered when he ran a Writer’s Workshop (WW) on campus aimed at professors.
“I’ve looked at a lot of research that demonstrates the best way to teach writing is the process approach. WW is a familiar concept used by many elementary and middle school teachers,” Johnson said. “Many professors who wanted to write had no idea about the process of writing a journal article or book prospectus.”