October 2023 Writing Roundup
This Month in Review
Greetings, dear readers! It’s the end of October, which means its time to share what I’ve read or listened to this month that I found interesting or helpful! If you have any upcoming events you would like to publicize, or if you have read or listened to media that might engage other PNP readers, please email me!
Here are some of my favorite media I’ve consumed over the past month on writing, productivity, and managing all-the-things. Some of this content is new, some of it is old, but all of it has kernels of wisdom for busy academic writers.
1. Here are the Publish Not Perish posts from the past month, in case you missed any:
2. Want some extra writing motivation next month? Check out AcWriMo! Dr. Katy Peplin, who you’ll remember wrote the great PNP post on Shutdown Routines, is hosting a month-long month of resources for academic writers through Thrive PhD.
This is what she says about AcWriMo:
since 2018, Thrive PhD has hosted a month of free resources for academics called AcWriMo. Styled after National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. because academic writing can be so much more varied than writing the draft of a novel, and because academics normally don't need any more excuses to heap pressure on themselves, Thrive PhD frames it as a month to reconnect and deepen writing practices. there are workbooks, tracking dashboards, skill building opportunities, themed weeks of focus, and more - and all for free.
I’ve signed up and can’t wait to see what new resources and ideas come through next month!
3. I think we really need to do more to normalize career opportunities beyond the ivory tower. Jennifer Polk, who is a career counselor for PhDs entering alt-ac fields, wrote a great post some time ago about questions you should consider about careers outside of academia. She writes,
“What are my assumptions about working beyond the professoriate?”
Do you, like I did, question the ethics of working for a corporation? What makes you wary of doing so? Do you think nonprofit organizations are less morally dubious? What about social innovation companies? Where do you draw the line?
“What is ultimately most important to me about my professional life?”
Be real with yourself. Do you need to earn a good salary because you’ve got student loans to pay off? Are you burned out and want to work in a supportive, relaxed environment, even if it means doing work seemingly unworthy of a PhD? Are you being a snob about the career you think you should pursue given your degree, when in truth other things are more meaningful and important to you?
“How can I best provide—financially, emotionally, and otherwise—for the well-being of myself and my family?”
We too often let other people’s desires sway our own thinking. What’s best for you, really? Your loved ones have your best interests at heart, but only you know what feeds your soul. I give you permission to stand up for your own values, strengths, and priorities.
“What am I most afraid of when it comes to contemplating a career change?”
That you’re disappointing your mentors? That you don’t have the right skills? That you’ll be bored? That you’re wasting your degree? Once you get clear about what’s really going on, you can either call BS (lovingly) on your fears or come up with a strategy for getting past legitimate issues.
I believe that many people are afraid of losing their scholarly identity if they leave and/or believe that universities are the only places where they can do meaningful work. In my opinion, this is not the case, and the aforementioned questions provide a solid foundation from which to plan future actions.
I also read another piece recently from a scholar arguing that faculty really must do more to prepare students for alt-ac careers. I completely agree, and I believe that the first step is to regularly recognize that there is a vast universe of worthwhile work out there. This is crucial for our students and for other faculty who, for various reasons, no longer believe that the ivory tower is the place for them.
4. Michelle Boyd of Inkwell Writing Retreats is hosting a free online writing retreat called The Power of Pause: How to Make Serious Progress Every Time You Write, this Friday, November 3, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. CST.
Here’s the event description:
During this retreat, you will,
Write for a large chunk of time, without exhausting yourself
Learn practical, effective strategies for calm, focused writing
Make meaningful progress on your writing project
Enjoy the support of a community of like-minded scholars
Learn how you can boost your confidence and productivity
Get ongoing, post-retreat support, via our monthly loveletters
5. I’ve written before about the great programs over at the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (even though I don’t drink the write daily Kool-Aid). I’ve done several webinars with them, a dissertation program, and their flagship Faculty Success Program. I do recommend FSP, but because of the price tag, they may prohibit folks from joining. If you have start-up funding as part of a new hire package, this could be an excellent way to put it to use. My university provided me with funding to complete the program.
NCFDD just sent an email this week saying that 97% of tenure-track faculty who went through FSP in 2017 successfully achieved tenure. On top of that, half of the people who participate in their program are faculty of color. So, what they do is effective and has real potential to impact the makeup of the academy.
As an alum, they emailed me with a discount code for the Spring FSP 2024 Session. I’m not compensated for this advertising, btw. I’m simply putting it out there because it’s a transformative program for so many people.
If you want to join the upcoming session, register at: https://www.ncfdd.org/fsp-bootcamp. Use promo code AlumniSpring2024-FSP to save $200 when registering
Feel free to email FSP@ncfdd.org if you have any questions. If you are trying to decide if it’s worth it to spend the money on this program, then I’d be happy to give you my take based on your situation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
6. I had so many links this month that I’m going to do a bonus post for my paid readers later in the week on some additional food for thought. Stay tuned!