Happy New Year! Now, Let’s Get Some Work Done

As a new semester begins, I often feel myself renewed, eager, and sometimes nervous, about getting work done.  For me, that “work” is writing–writing a new article, book chapter, or revising something that I believe deserves an audience.  In the spirit of our community of scholars, I’ve got some tips and announcements that might help you execute your plans and alleviate your fears.

If you are writing your first book, please attend the talk, “From Dissertation to First Book:  A Practical Guide” that will take place at the Graduate Center on February 6, at 6:30PM , by Ken Wissoker, Editorial Director,Duke University Press and Director, Intellectuals Publics (CUNY).  Some of you might remember he spoke to our community during one of our Publishing Workshops–Ken is an awesome speaker whose humor and practical advice continues to inspire me as I continue my writing projects.

This article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, “The Habits of Highly Productive Writers”  offers some useful gems and reminders.  Former FFPP Mentor Carrie Hintz’s advice on distractions and carving out time to write really makes sense for those of us who feel like the demands of  teaching and everyday life diminish our productivity.  Her discussion of  “the pomodoro” method is a welcome solution, especially when we are trying to write while we teach.  And, Vilna Bashi-Treitler’s suggestion that we should all form a “No Committee” is a novel way to navigate the extra work of department and college service demands.

My earlier post about online citation tools can help you find the right technology to organize your notes, create works cited lists, and bibliographies.  Using Zotero, for example, has made my ability to collect articles, organize my notes, and integrate citations into my original texts so much easier.

Of course, the work gets done when we commit to doing the work.  This commitment requires that we organize our goals, establish priorities, and schedule regular, inviolable times to write–those times could be 30 minutes a day or 2 hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  The important thing is to keep at it.

Cheers to your productive 2018!

Shelly Eversley

 

 

 

Fellowship Application Tips

Now is the time of year when fellowship application deadlines are fast approaching.  Since you have already completed the FFPP, here is a short list of opportunities and advice that can support your continued research and writing:

Your scholarly production is absolutely essential to CUNY’s mission of access, equity, and opportunity–we wish you all the best!

On Writing a Book Proposal

On Writing a Book Proposal

After our recent Professional Development sessions, we thought it would be great to follow up with some additional advice on writing a book proposal.  This interview with University of Illinois Press’ Dawn Durante on her best practices for book proposals and the scholarly publishing process, is another excellent resource.

As you know, Ilene Kalish (NYU Press) and Kimbery Guinta (Rutgers UP) shared some useful advice that you can use,  and former FFPP Fellow Keridian Chez generously shared her successful book proposal in this year’s Tool Kit.

We learned that its crucial to remember that your book project is different from your dissertation; that its important to showcase your clear articulation of project’s argument as it organizes the chapters in your book.  Your proposal should also include a discussion of your anticipated audience, recent and groundbreaking books that it engages, a table of contents (sometimes with BRIEF descriptions of each chapter’s argument), your estimation of the book’s length (80-100K words), and sample chapters.

Kim Guinta from Rutgers reminded us that sometimes a proposal gets rejected because the project is not a good fit for a particular press.  She advised that if you are unsure which presses might be a good fit for your manuscript, you should peruse the titles on your book shelf–whose is publishing the books you engage in your research?

One obvious and important point the editors reminded us is that you should take care to personalize your proposal and your query:  Be sure to include specifics from the press you correspond with.  If you are writing NYU Press, for instance, include references to titles published by NYU.  Explain for instance, why is NYU a good fit for your project.  And, if you chose to send multiple queries at the same time, it is ethical to disclose this detail in all of your correspondences.

Online Bibliography and Citation Tools

Online Bibliography and Citation Tools

There are some really great digital tools that can help you organize sources and assemble bibliography and works cited lists in the most common research formats.  These tools are easy to use, (mostly) free, and they save so much time:

Zotero is your personal research assistant.  It is a free browser based plug-in that allows you to collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.  And it stores anything–PDFs, images, audio, articles, and websites–all in your personal “library.”  Don’t let the term “plug-in” scare you.  Once you download the tool, it lives in your browser, freeing up valuable time to focus on writing.  Zotero allows you to create footnotes, end notes, in-text citations, and bibliographies in every academic format.

Docear is a open source reference manager that offers PDF metadata retrieval, free online back up, and a monitoring function for new files (images, PDFs, etc.).  It also has an MS word add-0n.  You have full control over your data, and there is no registration requirement.

Bib Me is a fully automatic bibliography maker that auto-fills.  It provides an easy way to build a works cited page in MLA, APA, and Chicago formats.  A professional account allows you to save every bibliography.

Cite This For Me allow you to automatically create website citations in APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard formats.  It also comes with a Google Chrome extension.