TOOLS FOR WRITERS

Books

Edit Yourself:  A Manual for Everyone
   Who Works with Words
  
by Bruce Ross-Larson
One word: indispensable.

Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: A Guide to
     Academic Publishing Success by Wendy Laura Belcher
Belcher’s step-by-step road map takes the academic writer from the design stage to submitting the article and responding to journal decisions. Along the way, she gives clear and effective advice on advancing the argument, reviewing literature, strengthening the structure, and editing text.

What Editors Want: An Author’s Guide to
     Scientific Journal Publishing by Philippa J. Benson and Susan C. Silver
Insightful and nuanced discussion of such topics as changing perspective from author to editor, authorship issues, and who does what in peer review. Excellent appendices include resources for improving science writing, databases with free access to articles or abstracts, and a presubmission checklist.

Online Resources

A-Z List of Online Style Guides
Search alphabetically or by subject.

OWL: Purdue Online Writing Lab
Resources and guides for just about every aspect of academic writing.

Grammar Girl
Clear, easy-to-understand answers for all your grammar questions.

PHinisheD
Discussion forums, helpful links, and lots of support for dissertation writers.

Write or Die by Dr. Wicked
Writer’s block? Try this: Go to Dr. Wicked’s website and decide how many words or minutes you want to write, the length of your grace period (i.e., how many seconds can elapse after you stop typing before consequences kick in), and the severity of the consequences. Then dive in—and you WILL write. Download the $10 desktop application to fine-tune your consequences, change colors and font, compile statistics, and customize other features.

Stickk.com
Stickk.com’s developers—“Yale University economists who tested the effectiveness of Commitment Contracts through extensive field research”—describe their technique as “the smartest way to set and achieve goals,” and I can attest to its effectiveness. Their method is simple and free: Choose a goal, name a referee (optional but strongly advised), and set the stakes (also optional—but knowing that failure to reach your goal will have financial consequences, especially if that takes the form of donating money to a cause you don’t agree with, tends to turbo-charge incentive).

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