Professors as Writers


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Dr. Wafa Hozien shares a powerpoint on Academic Writing. This powerpoint is bound to delve into the reasons why we do not write and then how to remedy that great fear of writing. This presentation is based on Robert Boice book Professors as Writers.

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Professors as Writers

  1. 1. PROFESSORS AS WRITERS BY ROBERT BOICEWafa Hozien, Ph.DEducation AdministrationVirginia State
  2. 2. Write oh Yeah Writer, Write (Hozien)• The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr. • Muhammad• If you wish to be a writer, write. • Epictetus
  3. 3. Why Professors Don’t Write• Scholarly writing is laborious, slow and worrisome• Why do few professors write for publication• Social Darwinism: Only the fittest survive• Acadamia has been slow to help its own• We are only beginning to understand the reasons why few write
  4. 4. Causes of Writing Problems: Censors• Freud “internal censors” – nowadays they are “internal critics”• Our “watchers at the gates” critically examine ideas as they vie for conscious consideration• The “watchers” reject too soon• Discriminate too severely• The result? • Premature editing that keeps us from getting ideas on paper • Unless they seem safe and perfect
  5. 5. Causes of Writing Problems:Fears of Failure• Negative self attitudes• Negative self statements• Phobias• Self fulfilling prophecies• Daly (1985) Writing Apprehension explained fears of evaluation to include: • Procrastination • Maladaptive writing habits • Rigid beliefs about how to write
  6. 6. Perfection Procrastination• Perfectionism blocks writing • Writing is a non recurring task• Papers never reach acceptable • Without short term reward levels • We ensure distractions• Creates unproductive writers • And set up ineffective programs to• It is the morbid fear of making ensure little progress mistakes and of being exposed as • Blame it on culture mediocre • Set impossible high standards • Due to: • Evaluation anxiety, perfectionism and low self confidence • Aversiveness of task being put off • Low energy and decisiveness
  7. 7. Activity One• Describe your most recent attempts to write, especially those with problems.
  8. 8. Phenomenology of Writing Problems• Writers express relief that someone else has had so much difficulty writing• Sharing writing experiences combats the privateness and mysteries of which blocks thrive• Writers own experiences are not unique• Better to know your writing problems and observe them in others• This makes writing problems understandable and manageable
  9. 9. Problems for Writers• Dislike for writing• Lack of time for writing• Lack of confidence• Writing anxiety• Inability to start writing• Inability to finish writing• Other Psychological Disruptors • Depression • Phobias• Writing cramps – in arm or fingers
  10. 10. Assessment for writing• Distaste for writing: • Describe your dislikes of writing. Do you find it typically difficult? Tiring?• Lack of time for writing • Talk about time as something that hampers your writing. Do you have too much, too little? Or is it just badly managed?• Lack of confidence: • Do you feel good about yourself as a writer or are there doubts and fears that get in the way? Are you afraid of being uncovered as a “fraud” or of not being able to make real contributions?
  11. 11. Disrupting Your Writing• Writing anxiety• Write about the nervousness you’ve experienced while writing. How did it feel (e.g. queasy stomach, sweaty forehead)? Where were you when it happened? Is it likely to recur?• Inability to start writing• Recall times, particularly recent ones, when you had trouble starting. How did it feel? What did you do to help?• Inability to finish writing• Have there been times when you obsessed too long over a paper or some part of it? Or did you tend to the opposite extremes by attempting to finish with a single draft or by not looking at what you’d written (and then having to face problems of submitting manuscripts with unnecessary errors)?
  12. 12. Other Writing Factors• Other psychological disruptions:• Describe your experiences related to the following• Depression• Do you tend to give up too easily, to be too sad or negativistic?• What do you do to cope or get out of the negative mood?• Phobic avoidance:• Does your avoidance of writing go beyond the realistic aversiveness of writing?• Do you hurt your personal and professional development by reflexively avoiding writing if you can?• Cramping• When pressured do you try to write too quickly, so that your hand/wrist/arm tires easily? How do you cope when you feel yourself cramping?
  13. 13. The Law of Delay• That which can be delayed, will be.• Humorous?• Excuse for a misbehavior
  14. 14. The Priority Principle• That which can be delayed, need not be. Decide which recurrent, daily activities you enjoy and make them contingent on doing a valued but delayable task first.• In other words. . .• You can ensure the performance of highly valued tasks like writing by requiring their daily occurrence before more recurrent activities like checking your Facebook or email.• No writing no Facebook.
  15. 15. Yogi Berra on Writing• “You Can’t think and hit at the same time.”• Writing proceeds most smoothly and fluently when writers work without conscious reflection what they are writing.• Here writers master an important skill• They learn to write without feeling “ready”• Without feeling fully in control• Without awaiting inspiration• Learn to proceed quickly and without looking back
  16. 16. Virginia Woolf• Believed that, writing at a gallop • “Language is wine upon the lips.” leaves one’s internal critics behind• Writers learn to tolerate imperfect material• Dorothea Brande’s technique of Effortless Writing:• Rise a half hour or an hour before you normally get up and write• Write anything that comes to your head• Done as directed this strategy produces two advantages:• Smooth, rich unconscious processes that it taps• Writing should no longer seem arduous or dull
  17. 17. Spontaneous Writing Squared• Conscious mind can provide valuable services • Planning, • problem solving and • developing a sense of audience• Bring back spontaneous writing for consultation, regularly
  18. 18. Generative Writing• Adding planning and direction to already established spontaneity• Working toward useful copy• With some loosely defined goals in mind• But still writing with little concern for perfection• Relies on both sides of the mind• Until the copy approaches a complete first draft• GW helps make the transition from pure spontaneity to• Producing useful copy almost painless• GW at first hurts• Spontaneous mind hates to give up the control
  19. 19. Activity Two• Pause just long enough to recall an experience from your school years that helped or hindered your writing. Then, before you’ve had a chance to think it all out, begin writing it spontaneously. Stick to the story, but do not stop for anything. Go quickly without rushing. Do not struggle over form or correctness. Just get something down. Keep it up for ten minutes.
  20. 20. Activity Three• Reflect briefly on a new writing project you would like to develop. But do not reflect for long; you can always try another possibility in your next trial. Then begin writing. Go quickly if you have ideas readily available. Go slowly when you’re thinking about directions, goals, audience, etc. But keep going. Do not struggle over form or correctness just make a beginning keep it up for at least ten minutes. For up to an hour if you are generating good, on topic material.
  21. 21. Stimulus Control Procedures• Rearranging the writing environment• Establish one or a few regular places in which you will do all serious writing• Rearrange writing habits• Make writing a daily activity• Regardless of mood• Regardless of readiness to write• Write while you are fresh• Schedule everything else• around your writing schedule
  22. 22. Stephen King• “Read and write 4 to 6 hours a day, If you cannot find the time for that, you cant expect to become a good writer."• He sets out each day with a quota of 2000 words and will not stop writing until it is met.
  23. 23. Four Step Plan• Automatically: • Externality:• Like spontaneous • External Controls that ensure• Releases your inner writer writing• Establishes momentum • Priority principle: makes writing a higher priority by requiring its• Bypasses infernal censors practice before moving on to more• Generates rhythm and voice desirable, current activities• Builds confidence in abilities to be • Time management: works spontaneous externally to rearrange writers• Playful and creative environment and schedule • Creates a discipline of writing
  24. 24. Four Step Plan: Self Control• Mechanisms that induce voluntary control over automatic functions such as heart rate• When s/he sets up external control techniques that ensure planned behaviors• Strong will power• Carries on narratives• Assigns causes• Encourages self awareness of time
  25. 25. Four Step Plan: Sociality• Writing is a social act• Social skills have Four components:• Soliciting comments or criticism on writing• Build Social Networks • Other writers act as gatekeepers • Or working to be influential with editors• Develop a sense of audience• As you solicit more criticism, especially from writers you admire and who work on similar topics• You will learn to anticipate their reactions to your writing• Pause and carry on imaginary dialogs with these critics
  26. 26. Do Not Relapse• By extending the tactics discussed previously• Causes of Relapse:• Lack of planfulness • Arrange external controls • Schedules of writing• Disillusionment: Do not be bitter impose discipline• Traumas• These are unanticipated disappointments• My advice: Get Over It
  27. 27. Writing• Is hard• Brings frequent disappointment• Not all ideas come to fruition• Much writing is rejected for publication • Writing elicits hostility • Gatekeepers reject too harshly and too arbitrarily
  28. 28. Write Away Dear Author• By abandoning attempts to write you are merely helping to perpetuate that system• Stay Productive
  29. 29. Boice, Robert. 1990. Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guideto Productive Writing. New Forums Press.