I made an incorrect assumption.
I am a former journalism professor. Every term of my academic career, I spent hours and hours teaching students and scholars how to think about, conceptualize and produce written projects, including how to edit them.
And, somehow, in an assumption that might kindly be described as a naive but really was just oblivious, I assigned that experience to all of the writers I now work with. In my (very wrong) mind, they had all been given the same deep education in planning, shaping, writing and editing a complicated project.
I have no good reason for that crash and burn in thinking, since I have almost zero faith in graduate programs to prepare their students for the actual jobs they might have. But here we are.
In the midst of my rethinking, I did begin to wonder whether all those writers I assumed had been trained were out there thinking they should know how to do something they have never been taught. Of course they are. One of the universal toxic traits of the academy is the “You mean you don’t know that?” shame “question.” In other words, “How do you not know that?” Not exactly the space to ask for guidance.
Here is the secret under the shaming: Your advisors weren’t trained either
And because they were not trained to the distinct skills of creating a project, they don’t know the diverse processes of organizing, writing and editing except. They figured it out doing it (typically) all at once. So, when it comes time to “train you, their guidance in “do it this way” really means “do it my way.” And as with all creative endeavors, one size does not fit all.
Hence the “How to” series
After talking with several people in my Unstuck course and group coaching sessions, I decided to create a series where scholars could get a crash course in the core requirements of managing a writing project.
I made them small group, workshops where I can use my 30+ years of experience in all levels of writing and editing to help you fill the gaps in your preparation in a way that matches YOUR style and project.
The workshops are usually on Thursdays at 1 p.m. Eastern. They are 75-90 minutes long depending on questions. They are designed to be interactive.
- How To Organize Your Scholarly Project in Five Easy (?) Steps
- How to Situate Your Project
- How To Outline. Organize your ideas; Organize your life! (Or at least your current project)
- How to Identify and Make Your Claim (Why You? Why Now?)
- How to Edit: There actually two types of editing and five steps!
- How to Manage Your Publication Flow to Keep Productivity Pipeline Moving
- How to Re-think Assignments and REDUCE Grading