So Ya Wanna Finish That Thesis/Dissertation/Article/Paper/Chapter? Pt II

'Floating away — Peace Pig 260' by https://www.flickr.com/photos/sidonath/

Keep things in perspective. So what if you didn’t achieve

Weekly wisdom: tips and tweaks #56 by Linda Levitt

Honor your ups and downs. Academic Writing Month offers a

Write-A-Thon

Random Post: Writing Obstacle No.2 – Wendy Laura Belcher

Belcher Journa Article in 12 Weeks

This month of #AcWriMo we’re featuring heaps of advice from


Rebekah Sheldon – Writing Game for AcBoWriMo
Posted by pdonahu2

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This post comes from Rebekah Sheldon who earned her Ph.D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she did work on contemporary American catastrophe discourse. She is presently the Provost Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

My husband lives a few hours south of me, in an eastern time-zone. So it was 7 am my time when he called to ask me to write two sentences on the political theorist Giorgio Agamben’s concept of bare life for a paper he’s writing. Now, two weeks ago, in the lead-up to a presentation on biopolitics and maternity, this same task took me several whole-day stretches before I gave up in disgust. This morning, however, out of the blue and with nothing at stake, I wrote two hundred words in less than half an hour.

They were not my most perfect sentences, but I got to the crux of the issue faster and more lucidly than I had in a week of working. In looking it over, I realized that I had just found my first AcBoWriMo strategy: the feint. Here’s what I propose as a way to trick myself into putting on paper what I know that I know:

On a bunch of paper scraps, write down writing tasks — anything from footnotes and edits to descriptions, analysis, and conclusions. Make them as specific or as general as your own needs and the needs of your audience. Mix them up in a basket or bag, and make sure to include a few rewards as well. Whenever you find yourself tempted to flip over to Facebook, or shifting the words around in the same few sentences, reach instead for the writing task bag. The important part is to do the task, whatever it is, as soon as you get it.

Or you can try Dacia Mitchell’s writing game instead, anything to keep those ideas flowing…

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Weekly Wisdom #62 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew
Posted by atarrant

PUBLISH EARLY AND OFTEN as they say in Chicago. Begin writ­ing for publication while you are still in graduate school. Data shows that people who publish while still in graduate school usually con­tinue to publish at a faster rate after they graduate than those who didn’t publish while still a student. Furthermore, published papers and monographs help you get your first job.

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Nina Amir – How to Complete a Nonfiction Project in 30 Days
Posted by Charlotte Frost

This post is by Nina Amir, Your Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, who inspires writers to create the results they desire—publishable and published products and careers as writers and authors.  She inspires writers to combine their purpose and their passion so they Achieve More Inspired Results. The author of the forthcoming book, How to Blog a Book: How to Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books, April 2012) and the author of the popular workbook How to Evaluate Your Book For Success, Amir is a seasoned journalist, nonfiction editor, consultant, and writing, book, blogging, and author coach with more than 33 years of experience in the publishing field. She writes four blogs, including Write Nonfiction NOW! and How to Blog a Book, and two national columns at Examiner.com and serves as the weekly writing and publishing expert on Michael Ray Dresser’s popular radio show, Dresser After Dark (www.DresserAfterDark.com). For more information: www.ninaamir.com or www.copywrightcommunications.com.

November can constitute a busy month. It includes the end of Daylight Savings Time, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving as well as the beginning of the holiday shopping period. Writers could complain that there’s no time for writing. Continue Reading »

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Rochelle Melander’s Write-A-Thon Techniques Part II
Posted by Charlotte Frost

The following is an excerpt from Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) by Rochelle Melander, now available from Writer’s Digest Books. Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach and the author of 10 books, including a new book to help fiction and nonfiction writers write fast: Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) (October 2011). Melander teaches professionals how to get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Writing Group, a program that teaches writing to at-risk tweens and teens. Visit her online at www.writenowcoach.com.

Create Your Research and Development Team

Half of being smart is knowing what you’re dumb at.

—David Gerrold

“You can’t research and write a nonfiction book in a month! There’s not enough time!” said my client. Continue Reading »

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Weekly Wisdom #61 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew
Posted by atarrant

WRITE A CROSS-OVER BOOK. Professors build their reputations by publishing articles and books in their specialty. Almost always, their only readers are other professors, graduate students, and their own family. Sometimes, however, a faculty member produces a successful crossover book, a work respected by, and receiving laudatory reviews from, his or her academic colleagues while also selling well with the general public.

Such books are difficult to write, however. If your book is to fly off the shelves at bookstores such as Barnes and Noble, it has to be both readable and entertaining. Few people reach the level of clear and creative writing required. Furthermore, even among highly skilled professional nonfiction writers, New York Times best sellers are rare. Nonetheless, some university scholars have written best sellers. They include  Peter Drucker, Margaret Mead, Paul Krugman, Gail Kearns Goodwin, and Stephen Hawking. We believe that professors who produce crossover books perform a valuable public service. Unless you become a world-class public intellectual like the people in the above paragraph, you may be denigrated by your academic peers as a mere popularizer. A false equation that does not work mathematically, but still describes the behavior of many misguided professors:  excellent technical productivity plus commercial success is respected less than excellent technical productivity alone.

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Editors Love Authors Who Understand Publishing – Patrick H. Alexander in the Chronicle
Posted by Charlotte Frost

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Patrick H. Alexander (Director of Pennsylvania State University Press) has written a really useful article for the Chronicle entitled:  The Less-Obvious Elements of an Effective Book Proposal. He points out all the important things about getting your pitch right, making a thesis-based manuscript less thesis-y and, of course, not making any silly spelling mistakes.

Perhaps particularly interesting, however, is that he mentions the need for scholars to understand publishing and ‘get involved’. Regular readers of PhD2Published will know that this is one of the main reasons I set up this website. It seemed crazy for me to pitch a book to a publisher without knowing more about what publishing entails. How could I hope to be a part of a publishing engine if I didn’t understand what all the other parts did and how we’d work together? So I was really pleased to see Alexander point out that ‘editors love authors who understand publishing’. Continue Reading »

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Rochelle Melander’s Write-A-Thon Techniques Part I
Posted by Charlotte Frost

The following is an excerpt from Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) by Rochelle Melander, now available from Writer’s Digest Books. Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach and the author of 10 books, including a new book to help fiction and nonfiction writers write fast: Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) (October 2011). Melander teaches professionals how to get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Writing Group, a program that teaches writing to at-risk tweens and teens. Visit her online at www.writenowcoach.com.

Discover Writing Strengths

Every writer has strengths and weaknesses in the process of converting the ideas into words on a page. Some writers excel at research, others love doing the rough draft, and some revel in the rewrite. Even professionals struggle with stages of the writing process. For the purposes of the twenty-six day writing marathon, we are looking at strengths and weaknesses in the five stages of the writing process: research, prewriting, writing the rough draft, revising, and proofreading. Note that most writers do not move through the following five steps in order. Most writers repeat the steps during the writing process, sometimes multiple times. Continue Reading »

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Introducing Our New Managing Editor: Dr Anna Tarrant
Posted by Charlotte Frost

Introduction to Me

Hello everyone,

I am delighted to announce that I am the new Managing Editor of phd2published! Just by way of introduction, here is a bit about me and my intentions for this role:

Anna 2011: Questions galore!

I am a human geographer by training and my thesis examined the social geographies of contemporary familial identities in a British context. I completed my PhD in July 2011 and have since realized my ambition to stay in academia. Currently I am a Senior Teaching Associate at Lancaster University, teaching a broad range of topics at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This is a short term, 10 month post and I view it as my opportunity to fill in the gaps of my knowledge, to get established as an academic and to develop my networks. So how do I asked? Continue Reading »

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Weekly Wisdom #60 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew
Posted by Charlotte Frost

DOWNLOAD COUNTS. Tenure and review committees like candidates who develop a personal reputation and hence reflect glory on the institution. Impact factors are one crude measure.  Another is the Download Count.  That is, if you have an academic publication that is accessible on the Internet, is anybody reading it or, better, downloading it?  Some publishers maintain download counts and send them to authors.  If you are fortunate to receive download counts, keep them.  They are handy at tenure and performance review time.

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The (relatively relaxed) Rules of AcBoWriMo
Posted by Charlotte Frost

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1. Decide upon a target word count. Try and make this something that would really push you beyond anything you ever thought possible. Admittedly, 50,000 words is a bit of a nutty goal for academic writing in one month. It works out at something like 2,500 words a day. But hey, as a project, AcBoWriMo is still very much in the trial stages and we can at least try right? As many of you have said, think of how great you’ll feel if you even come close to your crazy goal! It’s okay if numbers aren’t your thing. Just set a productivity goal of another kind.

2. Declare your participation and target word count (or productivity goal) publicly. You can do this by adding to the comments of the AcBoWriMo blog posts on here, on Twitter using the #AcBoWriMo hashtag, or on the PhD2Published Facebook page. If you want to be really private about it, maybe just tell a friend who will hold you to it (although we’d rather you shared your commitment and progress with us, we want to do this together). Continue Reading »

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Graham Steel – Publish or Parish
Posted by Graham Steel

This post is by  Graham Steel who has been been actively involved in Patient Advocacy work for over 10 years. Graham acted as Vice-Chairman for a UK Charity, the Human BSE Foundation 2001 – 2005 and then as Information Resource Manager for the CJD International Support Alliance (CJDISA) 2005 – 2007.

More recently, his activities have been focused more on Patient Advocacy generally, but mainly upon Neurodegenerative conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease. He also is involved in and advocating for Open Access/Science/Data and now acts in un-renumerated advisory capacities to the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and most recently, Digital Science

–So pretty much completely out of the blue, I received this tweet from Charlotte to which I tweeted back with “sure”. Continue Reading »

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Review of How to Publish Your PhD
Posted by James L. Smith

As a PhD student puzzled and disorientated by the seemingly impenetrable complexity of academic publishing, reading How to Publish your PhD by Sarah Caro was a balm for my anxieties. At present, I find myself occupying a point on the winding and erratic road to doctoral submission at which I am grateful (sometimes pathetically so) for advice, any advice, about demystifying academia. Having read several books on thesis writing early in my doctoral research, I had yet to discover a book that convincingly dealt with the practicalities of publishing a book from one’s thesis. In this ‘publish or perish’ world, it is really never to early to begin thinking about ‘the m word’. Monograph. Even reading the word itself gives me the willies.

This thin volume (a sprightly 136 pages) is packed with valuable material for the angst-ridden PhD student with no idea of where to start, or the confused early career academic staring down the barrel of their first monograph. Filled with sensible advice and divided into self-evidently useful chapters such as ‘Books or Articles?’ and ‘Revising your PhD’, Caro has created a text to be read, re-read and referred to when needed. Every chapter is summarised in point form, making quick checks exceedingly simple. As the current Publisher for Economics and Management journals at Wiley and obvious veteran of the publishing world, Caro is ideally suited to be the author of such a book.

The text provides the reader with a series of things that a would-be creator of an academic monograph can do to help themselves, with particular focus on small and yet oft-overlooked details. Attentiveness to these details, according to Caro, can mean the difference between a submission ending up in the ‘no’ pile or the ‘maybe’ pile (p. vi). To say that Caro has thought of everything in this book would naturally be an exaggeration, but it is definitely fair to say that the book contains all of the major aspects of importance to the author. Given that these points are based on years of experience, I am inclined to believe that they are significant. Continue Reading »

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Martin Paul Eve on Open Access Week
Posted by Charlotte Frost

This post is by Martin Paul Eve,  a researcher at the University of Sussex working on the novels of Thomas Pynchon. Until recently he was chief editor of the postgraduate journal Excursions and he has just launched a gold-standard, libre OA journal, Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon. He is speaking as the opening plenary at the UK Scholarly Group next year on auto-subversive practices in academic publishing and has a forthcoming book chapter on Open Access in the edited collection, Zombies in the Academy.

For several years now, academic libraries worldwide have played host to Open Access week, an international celebration of the revolution in academic publishing. For the same number of years, a question has circulated among participants at these events: “is 20XX the year of the tipping point?” It is that question, after a brief excursion into the history of Open Access, that I wish to address. Continue Reading »

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Weekly Wisdom #59 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew
Posted by Charlotte Frost

JOB HUNTING IS A RESEARCH PROJECT and you should treat it as such. Gather as much information as possible. Read the ads. Contact sources. Follow up leads. Be aggressive. Use your contacts. The chance of landing a good appointment is higher if you search broadly than if you sit in your office waiting for one or two possibilities. Begin job hunting early and make it a project you do along with your other work. If you are a graduate student, don’t wait until your dissertation is finished to start looking.

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NaNoWriMo as AcBoWriMo Beta!
Posted by Charlotte Frost

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NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s an initiative designed to turn the month of November into a month-long write-fest for current or would-be novelists. The idea is that you set yourself the task of writing 50 thousand words in November and bingo, you’ve got yourself a novel – or at least a first draft of a novel.

I did the bulk of my thesis writing in a fairly short amount of time. Not a month, I hasten to add, but I did embark on some intensive writing (as well as intensive Nutella-eating). Currently, I’m doing a Post-Doc in the US and part of why I’m here is so I can finish my first book. So after hearing about NaNoWriMo a colleague and I started wondering whether AcBoWriMo might be possible.

That’s right, we are here-by declaring November the first Academic Book Writing Month or AcBoWriMo Beta/0.1 or something. We are going to wear comfy clothes, drink a lot of coffee, probably nap in our offices at strange hours and see how close we can get to writing 50 thousand words in one month. I know, it’s totally insane, there can surely only be a handful of academics who can actually turn out decent material in such a short space of time. There are also a lot of differences between writing novels and academic books, but aren’t you just a little bit curious to know how much of a kick-start a dedicated writing month could give your book? Continue Reading »

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