Fall 2020 TAA Writing Gym receives high marks

Writing GymThirty-five authors participated in TAA’s six-week Fall 2020 Writing Gym, which was held October 5-November 16. The gym included templates for tracking writing time and developing a six-week workout plan, a TAA Writing Gym-branded writing journal, weekly inspirational emails, 6 on-demand writing classes, several writing stations that allowed participants to target specific writing areas, and a Facebook Group for networking with other gym members.

In a survey sent out after the close of the fall gym, the majority of respondents gave the gym 5 stars. “The weekly writing classes and blog articles in the Writing Gym were very helpful, especially those about time management, managing multiple projects, and revising,” said participant Andrew Reyes. Participant Su-Jin Jung said: “I appreciate your support of my writing. I got lots of writing done during 6 weeks.”  [Read more…]

Time Management Survey respondents cite prioritization, procrastination issues as biggest challenges

Time ManagementAs part of writing coach Mary Beth Averill’s TAA webinar on time management this month, we surveyed members anonymously on their time management challenges.

When asked what they saw as their biggest time management challenges, respondents highlighted scheduling, exhaustion, estimating how long their projects will take, and prioritizing. One person wrote, “waiting to the last minute and finding the project is bigger than I anticipated.” Another pointed out time of day: “First thing in morning: rituals of Internet headlines and email checking.” And, as academics, they have to answer to competing priorities: “The amount of service work required in academic work. Calculating how much time it takes to do things. Prioritizing my own work.” [Read more…]

12/9 TAA Webinar – Writing a Dissertation and Beyond: Tips & Tools for Launching and Maintaining Your Academic Writing Productivity

Margarita HuertaDanielle FeeneyWriting productivity is important for academics at all levels. For graduate students, in particular, writing is essential for completing a dissertation. Unfortunately, approximately 50% of doctoral students do not complete their degrees, often dropping out during the dissertation writing stage. How can graduate students launch a healthy writing habit in order to complete their dissertations and maintain academic writing productivity as faculty?

Join us Wednesday, December 9 from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar,“Writing a Dissertation and Beyond: Tips & Tools for Launching and Maintaining Your Academic Writing Productivity”, presented by Danielle Feeney, Assistant Professor of Instruction in Special Education in the Patton College of Education, Ohio University; and Margarita Huerta, Associate Professor, Department of Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education in the College of Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Feeney and Huetra will discuss research-based, practical tools and tips that have helped them successfully complete dissertations and launch productive academic careers. They will also discuss the versatility of transforming and personalizing these tools to help manage other aspects of academic life and work.

Free for TAA Members. Register

2020 Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) is coming soon!

hand, pen, and coffeeEvery November, the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) joins with academic authors around the world to recognize and promote the month-long academic write-a-thon event, Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo). Started in 2011, this event encourages academic authors to focus on daily writing habits that move their projects closer to completion.

For the past three years, TAA has expanded their bi-weekly discussions to host weekly TweetChat events at the Twitter hashtag, #AcWriChat during the month of November.  [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 18, 2020

“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” ~Larry L. KingHow do you get things done? When it comes to academic writing there is no shortage of strategy advice available to authors, but there are also no shortcuts either. As Larry L. King stated, “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” In this week’s collection of articles from around the web we found some helpful resources for accomplishing all three of these fundamental practices in the pursuit of your publishing goals.

Beginning with topics of project management and daily writing practice, you must be writing and rewriting to move projects forward. That writing takes reading – and we have advice on how to stay focused while reading scholarly articles. Next we have writing tips from some famous writers and suggestions for writing under deadlines. Addressing some current issues in academic writing, we turn our attention to part-time PhD pursuits, research practices during Covid-19, gaps in academic communication, diversity, inclusion, and equity strategies, and an equitable transition to open access publishing models. We close the collection with information on how American Journal Experts (AJE) partners with the Researcher app to produce a new form of author services.

As you explore the strategies and resources available to improve your textbook and writing practice this week, remember there are no shortcuts. Write. Rewrite. Read. Repeat. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The power of systematic checklists: Saving time, uncovering Easter eggs, and preventing overload

It’s 8:30 a.m.

Time to refill my mug of tea, revive my computer, and work on the ol’ textbook. I know I have a lot to do, but I feel good … at first. Then I catch a glimpse of my bloated task list and I’m immediately discouraged.

Let’s see. I still haven’t finished the manuscript for the sixth and final unit. The copyeditor is already sending batches of early chapters for my approval, the artists need corrections on drafts of new figures, the designer wants a decision on the cover photo, and a professor who uses my current edition wants more coverage of tardigrades. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I also have classes to teach, meetings to attend, and personal responsibilities that I can’t abandon. Suddenly, I’m in a tizzy. [Read more…]

TAA’s 2021 Conference Call for Proposals Is Open

TAA announces a Call for Proposals for its 34th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference which will be held June 18-19, 2021 in Indianapolis, IN. We invite the submission of presentations relevant to writing, publishing, and marketing textbooks and academic works (textbooks, academic books, journal articles, and monographs). Interactive, hands-on sessions are encouraged. The proposal deadline is October 7, 2020.

The conference will be held at the beautiful Conrad Indianapolis, a 5-Star hotel boasting a premier downtown Indianapolis location just two blocks from the capitol. A highly interactive event, the conference will be attended by authors and aspiring authors of textbooks, journal articles, and other academic works, as well as by industry professionals from across the country.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Time Management and Writing Productivity
  • Promoting Social Equity in Textbook and/or Academic Authoring
  • Publishing Industry Updates & Trends
  • Navigating Copyright and Permissions
  • Savvy Contract and Royalty Negotiating & Monitoring
  • Marketing Your Works and Creating Your Brand
  • Authoring in an Open Access/OER Environment
  • Non-Traditional Paths to Getting Published
  • Tech Tools to Enhance Your Works

Click here for detailed information on the selection process, submission guidelines, session formats, and the proposal form visit.

Writing stalled? Send yourself a letter

Letter to yourselfWhen I scanned the mail the other day, one letter caught my eye. I couldn’t quite place the handwriting and tore open the letter. To my shock, I saw I’d written it to myself.

Maybe I should have recognized my own handwriting, but it was like seeing yourself reflected in a window. Even though certain aspects look familiar, we often don’t have a clear picture of what we look like—or write like.

Three weeks earlier, I’d received a rejection for a particularly important writing project. After I poured out my despondency to a friend, she suggested writing a letter to myself venting my frustrations, extolling my virtues, and declaring my writing goals and mailing the letter without a second glance or draft. It should be postal mail, she emphasized—email wasn’t quite the same. I thought this idea a little hokey, but desperate followed her advice. [Read more…]

Polishing your scholarly manuscript–and letting it go

man writingIn this post, the fifth in a series of five, you will learn how to polish your prose by reading it out loud “backwards”—and then letting it go.

Before submitting your manuscript, read the manuscript out loud read it out loud s-l-o-w-l-y (Goodson, 2017, p. 36). To force yourself to read slowly, try reading your prose paragraph by paragraph backwards. That is, start with the last paragraph in your manuscript and move backward paragraph by paragraph until you reach the first paragraph. You will read more slowly because reading backwards is somewhat jarring. You will focus on each paragraph so you see problems that were previously invisible to you. You will read as though you were reading for the first time. You will divorce yourself from your prose and gain some distance from—and perspective about—your writing. You will see your manuscript through a new lens because what you were thinking at the time that you wrote and what you actually wrote can be different. [Read more…]

Solicit and use informal feedback before formal peer review

woman writerThis post, the fourth in a series of five, shows you how to seek informal feedback before formal review, which will increase your chances for getting manuscripts accepted and grants funded. After peer review, journal articles improve on 33 out of 34 measures (Goodman et al., 1994). There is no reason to believe that this is any different for informal reviews. You can seek informal feedback effectively by asking the right readers for the right kind of feedback—and then listening avidly and responding quickly and thoroughly.

Seek informal feedback before seeking formal peer review because it is the eyes of our readers that really “count”—we are not (supposed to be) communicating primarily with ourselves. [Read more…]