Monday, February 29, 2016

Challenge: Help a Struggling Colleague

Your challenge for today: think of a colleague who is struggling with their writing and/or publishing. Consider what I wrote last week about how to engage those who are struggling, and reach out to them. Be of service. Please.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Engaging Struggling Colleagues: Resources

If you are reading this blog on a regular basis, chances are you are thinking about and using resources related to academic writing and publishing. Make a list of your favorite resources. Have this be a gift to give to those who are struggling.

You can include web-based tools, books, articles, blogs (hint hint), or coaches or therapists who help struggling scholars (not meant to be a hint hint, but sure, why not!). Keep this list on hand to share. Send it to those you know via email. Ask others for their resources. Share the wealth. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Engaging Struggling Colleagues: Listening

When engaging colleagues who are struggling, you really has to listen deeply. A couple of days ago I suggested that telling your own story of struggles and difficulty was one of the most important things you could do to be of service to colleagues in need. This can help build empathy and trust, and break down defensiveness.

Yet, on the most fundamental, basic level, you need to listen. An old Quaker expression, "Listen with the ear of your heart" is my most cherished guidance on listening. Listen with your whole self. Listen without worrying what you will say next.  As I teach my social work and criminal justice students (I am teaching Helping Skills in Criminal Justice this quarter!), you will never hear anybody say: So and So listens to tell. I hate the way he and she listens to me so intently.

So, listen. Provide a safe place for your struggling colleague to be heard.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Engaging Struggling Colleagues: Sharing Your Struggles

One of the best ways of helping colleagues who are struggling with writing and publishing is to share your own struggles. Actually, this is only partly true. This is one of the best ways of opening up a dialogue and helping to normalize such problems for them. At some point, it is easy for such discussions to be mutually reinforcing, and help no one.

Yet, creating the space to help them break the shame they may be feeling is of great value. This is one of the reasons why I frequently share my story with people. It has not been, and is not, always easy to be living the academic life (no call tears; I know how privileged I am).

Not only should you share your own struggles, but if invited to, share how things have changed for you. Share what tools, resources, and skills you developed. Share how you overcame the blocks and barriers that got in your way. In truth there is no shame in having struggled to write and publish; many of us do.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

One and Two Day Writing and Publishing Workshops!

One of my favorite professional activities is conducting one and two day workshops on scholarly writing and publishing. Not only have I conducted them at my home university, but
at many universities in more than a dozen countries across four continents.

If you have appreciated this blog and would like to accelerate your writing and publishing agenda, consider helping me come to your university! In my two day workshop (my best!), I help scholars develop skill and tools in several interlocking areas.

1) Methods of writing productivity
2) Mastering the academic article
3) Learn alternative tools and tips for navigating peer review
4) Maximizing the social aspects of our work (working with collaborators, mentors, PhD chairs editors, ect).
5)  Resolving the psychosocial barriers (and maximizing your strengths) that interfere with success in the other areas.

Deans, Directors and Teaching/Learning center staff have often founds funds to bring me out when faculty are excited to work with me. I have conducted workshops for faculty across academic and professional disciplines, and gladly tailor what I do for you. I also have worked with groups of doctoral students for intensive dissertation work; I love to help!

If you are interested in working with me, this is a great way of doing so without cost to you. Contact me and I can help you consider how propose a workshop to your administrators. Or, just email me and we can talk about what I do! 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Elegant Solution

I am not going to spell check or edit this post;  I won't even read it over. By the end of this post, hopefully you will understand why.  If not, reflect :).

Affirmations are a positive way of replacing the self-downing beliefs that can interfere with our writing and schlary productivity. Positive affirmations can directly challenge our negative self-appraisals and help reprogram our very plastic minds.

Yet, affirmations are lambasted and satirized, as it in this old Saturday Night Live skit.


One reasons that is that on a fundamental level, affirmations may be part and parcel to the core philosophy that undergird self-downing- that human beings can be judged.

Albert Ellis referred to this distinction as the inelegant verses the elegant solution. The inelegant solution consists of a tool of cognitive disputations and changes whereby we challgne or negative beliefs and replace them with more positiive (and hopuflly honest nad relalistic, as exaggerated self-apprasials are often not belived by us!) self appraslas.

In contrast, the elegent solution consists of challenging the core belief that human beings (we) can be evaluated. An inelegant solution would be challeging my core belif of " I am not a great writer" with "I am a great writer." This certainly can be helpful. Yet, a more elegant solution of " I may or may not be a great writer, but that does not matter. I find my work of value, and I gain value from it. I am a good enough writer to publish, regardles of how I or others evaluate me, so I am just goign to write."

Overtime, devleoping the a "philosphy of self" of radical self acceptance free of all self evaluations innoculates us from the little digs of academic life. It is hard to hold on to the belief of bieing a great writer, for example, when one's article is rejected multiple times. It also is hard to stay motivated when there is evidence that runs counter to our self apporasal.  But eshewing self evaluations in general, and just satying in the moment and process of writing and learning not to evaluate ourselves, we are far more free than if we have to constanly replace negative self appraisals with positive ones.

Now, to hit submit on this unedited post with, from the red lines I can see in the text, many, many writing problems. :). I must be an awful writer :).

Friday, February 19, 2016

International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Every once in a while I find a new journal that I really like. A client of mine found just such a journal a few days ago, and passed it on to me. I really, really like this journal, which seems to privilege articles that focus on the practice of teaching. Wow, a practical academic article!  Who would have thunk it! Do check it out. Read the author's guidelines. Can you think of an appropriate article that you could write? I bet you could.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My Blogging Rut

I am a in a blogging rut. I am not in a writing rut, as my academic and creative writing are coming along well. But, I am in a blogging rut. I have hit these a few times, and they usually come after a period of intensive posting. Since June, I have posted well over 100 times- pretty good blog productivity indeed.

So, what lessons can I give myself here, as I wish to renter after a down few weeks. Come on coach, coach thyself!

First, I can start with a simple post such as this. When we reenter work, it does not have to be brilliant, it just has to "be".

Second, I can forgive myself for a down period. Beating oneself up for not being at our best negates the fundamental truth of being at one's best -some periods are better than others.  Its not all "best". We just have to jump back in.

Third,  while not judging myself, I can also challenge myself to see if I can kick things into another gear. By the end of the weekend, I will have a few new posts "banked" I can do that. I will do that.

Forth, I can do this, and let go of it. Do it, move on. Ok. Done. Posted. Boom.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Beyond Your First, Self Published Book Week!

Writing your first book and publishing it yourself is a wonderful accomplishment. Completing a book marks the fulfillment of a lifetime goal for many.  For some of you, it was an important part of your of your developing a sense of your professional identity. You now feel empowered to share your skill set with colleagues, clients and constituents in a brand new way.

It is a moment of life that should be taken in, savored, and celebrated. If you recently self published your first book, I hope you spend some time celebrating it. Congratulations.

Now, whats next?

While self publishing is a great way of putting your ideas out there, not everyone takes self published books as seriously as they do books published by traditional publishers. I know that my books with Columbia University Press, and an upcoming one with Oxford University Press, have a certain cachet that my self published book on writing for international and ESL scholars just does not have. This is not only true for academics, but for those in the business world as well. Having a book with a prestigious publisher can do things for your career that a self published book just can't do. This is not to denigrate self publishing, it has great value.

"Hold your horses Rich (you might be thinking). Not only does the idea of publishing with a traditional press seem unfeasible, but I don't even know if I am going to be able to write another book. I feel stuck! Yes, I want to write another book, but the first one was so hard. What do I do?"

If you resonate with any of the above, you are going to want to read this week's blog posts- they are being written for you!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Coach, Coach Thyself

Social workers, therapists, and other helpers can spend so much time helping others that we forget about our own needs, limitations, and desires. This is especial true, at times, for me in my coaching practice. I so badly want things to go well for those I work with that I take it very personally when they are not thriving, when all their academic need are not met. Wow, big expectations, Rich. Chill!

That is where I am today; I am having to work on my internalized expectations for others, and for myself. People begin where they are, and we can only be part of their journey toward their own growth; this growth is at times not as quick as I wish, or they wish, it would be. I have to remember that. Gentleness for others, gentleness for self.

Tonight, I am going to go to Seattle to see an old school punk rock show and a spoken word performance. I am going to have a nice meal, and have a nice drink. Tomorrow, I will get back to problem solving and focusing on others.

My plan.

A bit of writing. A work out. My monthly steak. Music. Poetry. Cuddle with my dogs. My plan. I will follow it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A few day break!

A bit behind on blogging; and giving myself a few days off. Back soon :)