2013 Will Be Sheer Brilliance

The best thing about the academy is the academic community. Thanks for being mine. I’m truly delighted that our work together advances your publication goals and your scholarly career. And your research is my greatest source of intellectual challenge and enrichment. Here’s to 2013! For the full greeting-card experience, go here:...

Put a Badge on It

A few chillier days in Portland have made something abundantly clear to me: summer may be over. Part of me doesn’t want to concede that it’s already the traditional time to hit the books, to start new intellectual projects, and to redouble efforts toward goals. As everyone transitions into back-to-school mode, I find myself struck by what you’ve helped me build with Tweed Editing. You all keep inviting me to work on incredible projects, and at all stages of execution. I’m now performing developmental and line editing with faculty across the country almost as much as I’m copyediting manuscripts for presses, dissertators, and professors. Without fail, your editing assignments open my eyes to novel avenues of research and to fresh ways of looking at perplexing phenomena. I almost feel like an editing scout, earning merit badges left and right—which gave me an idea for way to reinvest creatively in Tweed. Some sewing skills, an iron, a background in Girl Scouting, and a bit of free time begat this: This summer I took a lakeside hike to the council ring built on the site of the first Boy Scout encampment (1910, Silver Bay, New York). That’s where I am in this picture, and I’m wearing a sash covered with insignia that all have to do with research, writing, and editing. There’s a badge for bookmaking, one for blogging, one for drinking coffee, another for mastering homonyms, and many for academic pursuits. The “Editor” patch on my shoulder actually designates, of all things, a position within Harley-Davidson motorcycle clubs—talk about feeling formidable. Simple, silly pleasures like this sash add some spice...

The Labor of Scholarly Writing

It’s Labor Day weekend in the United States, and I’m finding that I actually do have time to enjoy the holiday. This is no small achievement. Since you readers are academics, I’m guessing you’re pretty familiar with quasi–free time. Our work is sprawling and unstructured because, for us, work overlaps with what we love to do, what we’d want to be doing anyway. We don’t clock in and clock out, so our work (the love of our life though it may be) haunts our waking life and even interferes in our dreams. Despite loving the idea of a flexible schedule and despite being a night owl, I’ve recently been working more traditional hours, and every aspect of my life has improved as a result. Challenging my own long-held presumptions and experimenting with a new (albeit culturally traditional) schedule has paid off, and I’ve been spending my Labor Day weekend rejuvenating and thinking fresh thoughts. Happiest of Labor Days to you, writers! Remind yourself that you’ve earned some time off—because writing is work. Download the computer desktop graphic and a printable poster here. More graphics here, at the Writing Progress Administration. Maybe a friend needs to remember that weekends are for writers. Send the message as an e-card here. When you do want to get back to work, this door tag will spread the message. And if you’re curious about the origins and cultural forces behind Labor Day, here’s a short article from PBS to ground your...

Paul Krugman’s Four Rules of Research

A couple weeks ago, I drove to the Oregon coast with my sweetie, who is a Paul Krugman devotee. (Krugman is a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton and writes an op-ed column and a blog for the New York Times.) As we wound through the forest, the two of us were listening to a podcast of a conversation between Krugman and CUNY’s Peter Beinart. Of course, they mostly talked economics and politics, but for a few moments the discussion became about the art and craft of writing—specifically, the challenges that an academic may have when trying to write for a broader audience. Naturally, my ears perked right up. Krugman actually reveals his “four rules for economic research”: Question the question. Listen to the gentiles. Dare to be silly. Simplify, simplify. They’re straightforward tips, but you should really hear all he has to say about them. (I’d love to ruminate on them and unpack them in a proper blog post, but I’m really booked up to my ears with academic editing projects for two university presses right now. I’ve been disappointed not to have more time to blog and create Tweed resources this month!) So today I had a few minutes to transcribe the bit of the Beinart-Krugman conversation about writing, and I thought I’d share it with you all. What follows is just a rough, unedited transcription. By “unedited,” I mean that I only listened to the audio once while typing, and I didn’t even copyedit my own transcript. (As you can imagine, that’s out of character for me.) It is truly a crude rendering, but...

Monograph, She Wrote

In honor of the television series that I have been streaming online, I’ve added a new pair of postcards to Tweed’s collection. I just watched an episode of Murder, She Wrote in which Jessica Fletcher lectures at a prestigious university, which gave me the idea for an academic version of the show’s title: Monograph, She Wrote. There’s even a Monograph, He Wrote version. Send some postcards to your hardworking friends working on academic manuscripts. To access a full-size image, you could actually click on the thumbnail of the one you like and add it to your blog or Facebook profile. (All I ask is that you not alter the image.) Have a great weekend, all! As for me, I’ll be dreaming of an active retirement in Cabot...