Infographic: 15 Grammar rules it’s okay to break

“Use whom, not who.” “Don’t split your infinitives.” “Use appropriate personal pronouns when talking about yourself.”

Grammar rules are here to keep us in check, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be broken. Often you’ll see infographics listing rules like they’re gospel; stuff like, “Don’t use double negatives” or, “Know the difference between that and which”.

In reality, some grammar rules are more of a guideline than a law. When you know the rules, these can be expertly appropriated to give your speech flair and personality. [Read more…]

9 Proven strategies to help you stop procrastinating and write your manuscript

blank pageIn her recent TAA webinar, “Beyond the Blank Page: 9 Proven Strategies to Help You Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Manuscript”, Mary Beth Averill shared nine strategies for moving beyond the blank page. These strategies are proven techniques for breaking out of your procrastination trap and turning your paper from idea to written manuscript. [Read more…]

2019 Textbook award-winning insight (Part 4): What they wish they had known before they started, writing advice

TAA Textbook AwardsA few weeks ago, we reached out to winners of the 2019 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about their textbook writing. We had so many great responses we decided to create a five-part series to share them. The first installment focused on why they decided to write their textbook, and how they got started. The second installment focused on what they do to boost their confidence as a writer, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and what software they use. The third installment focused on which pedagogical elements in their textbook they are most proud of, and what involvement they have had in marketing their book.

This fourth installment in the five-part series focuses on what they wish they had known before they started, and advice for other authors. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 24, 2019

"Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way." ~Ray BradburyThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes a variety of topics important to authors. We begin the collection with concepts of semantic gravity, using visuals, and personal safety. We then discuss PhD requirements for publishing and the process in New Zealand. Next we explore the use of social media for improving citations or sharing conference material. Finally we explore some of the changing landscape in academic publishing.

As you write this week, be true to yourself and your ideas. As once noted by Ray Bradbury, “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

5 Tips for visualizing data with charts

Show Me! The Art of Using Visual Elements to Enhance a ManuscriptIn my recent TAA webinar, “Show Me! The Art of Using Visual Elements to Enhance a Manuscript“, I shared best practices for incorporating tables, figures, and charts into your manuscripts and the tools available for developing those visual elements.

One of my favorite forms of visual element is a chart. Charts combine the visual appeal of figures with the data content of tables and can be quite effective in conveying context and purpose when used properly. For greatest success, I offer the following five tips for chart usage in your next manuscript. [Read more…]

#AcWriChat Tweet Chat: Not on Twitter? Watch live here

acwrimoJoin TAA on Twitter every other Friday at 11 a.m. ET using the hashtag #AcWriChat for a TweetChat on various aspects of academic writing.

Not on Twitter? Not sure what a “Tweet Chat” is? Follow us here (you won’t be able to actively participate, but you will be able to follow the chat live).

[Read more…]

The Who: Finding key sources in the existing literature

The Who: Finding key sources in the existing literatureSo far in this series we have examined how to define a research project – The What, how to construct an effective writing environment – The Where, and what it takes to set realistic timeframes for your research – The When. In this article, we will explore The Who: Finding key sources in the existing literature. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 3, 2019

"You fail only if you stop writing." ~Ray BradburyThis week’s collection of articles from around the web is full of opportunities. Opportunities to improve your academic reading practice, to tell your story, to make your writing more interesting, to broadcast your research, or to go freelance. It’s also filled with challenges and uncertainty. Challenges of parenting and academia, predatory journals, the uncertain future of university presses, neurodiversity in scholarly publishing, and the affect of the planned merger between Cengage and McGraw-Hill on the textbook market.

With each opportunity comes challenge and uncertainty. Equally so, with each challenge or uncertainty comes opportunity. As Ray Bradbury once said, “You fail only if you stop writing.” So, here’s to success. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Lemonade stand writing lessons: Honesty and kindness

lemonade standMy friend Jon invited me to the summer tenth birthday party of his daughter at their condo lawn near the pool. As his wife placed after-candles cake slices in front of us, Lisbeth exclaimed, “Dad! I don’t have school for the whole summer! How about doing a lemonade stand!”

I looked at Jon’s face—it registered dismay, knowing he’d have to shepherd the project. Then he smiled enthusiastically. [Read more…]

2019 Textbook award-winning insight (Part 1): Deciding to write and getting the interest of a publisher

TAA Textbook AwardsWe recently reached out to winners of the 2019 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about how they made the decision to write their textbook, how they interested a publisher, what they do to boost their writing confidence, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and more. We will be sharing their answers in a series of posts over the next few weeks.

This first installment of the five-part series focuses on why they decided to write their textbook, and how they got the interest of a publisher. [Read more…]