Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Best writing advice ever?

Photo by Jonathan Percy | unsplash.com
We're into the third week of La Trobe's Academic Writing Month!

It's also the week of the Bundoora 3-day writing retreat and - right now - there are about 50 scholars in the John Scott Meeting House attacking their writing goals on Day 1!

For this post, I canvassed some of our stalwart Thursday morning 'Shut up and write' participants for the best pieces of writing advice that they'd received. I think I actually asked for "writing advice that changed your life, or at least influenced your writing significantly". The biggies, y'know?

These lovely, giving folk responded with the treasures below!

Now, we know that there is no magic formula to writing, and these are offered in the spirit of sharing helpful aspects of the writing process and what resonated with others. Some have whole books as their source, others remembered bits of encouragement or blogpost analogies.

But, enough prevarication. Let's let our researchers speak for themselves!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Writing all of Saturday? Yes, please! (Julia Dehm)

Image from Wikipedia Commons
URL: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/
File:RMIT_Swanston_Academic_Building_Entrance1_2017.jpg
It’s the end of another long week and the promise of a lazy Saturday pottering in the garden beckons.

Instead, I pack my laptop and books and head towards the CBD to #MelbWriteUp for an intensive writing day.

I’m not alone.

There’s always a packed room of academic writers of various levels: PhD students with submission deadlines looming, early career researchers struggling to find time to write amidst teaching commitments, and more established academics (as well as aspiring creative writers) plugging away on novels and books.

Every Saturday between 10am – 5pm, #MelbWriteUp provides a space for researchers of all levels of experience to come together and focus on their research in a collegial and distraction-free environment.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Three concentration hacks to help you write! (Lise Leitner)


Photo by Dmitry Sovyak | unsplash.com
It’s November, and AcWriMo and NaNoWriMo have officially begun!

If you’re like me and love getting a lot of writing done, but also love all things shiny and distracting, getting long sprints of writing done can feel very difficult some days.

While everyone’s writing routine is different, there are lots of ways to improve your working environment and focus.

The good news is that lots of them are easily accessible and free!

To help you prep like a pro ahead of AcWriMo and/or NanoWriMo, here are three concentration hacks that have greatly helped me focus (and write!) better in the past:

Thursday, 1 November 2018

2018's #LTUAcWriMo has begun!

Fingers to your keyboard! La Trobe's 2018 Academic Writing Month (#LTUAcWriMo) has just kicked off!

Photo by neonbrand | unsplash.com
For the whole of November 2018, the RED team will turn our focus to thinking, talking about, planning for, and doing writing!

For the full #LTUAcWriMo program and registration details, please take a look at this year's introductory post.

For 2018, the RED team chose the theme of “Together”.

“Together” can mean lots of different things when it comes to academic writing.

It might ask us to imagine writing as a process of communication that involves both writers and readers, a way of coming together on the page. It might also invite us to consider writing as a practice that can involve collaborators, writing buddies, writing groups, proofreaders, editors, cheer squads, community stakeholders and many other people besides.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Crossing the Void: Grieving and Transformation (Lara Bardsley)

Image from Lara Bardsley | Digging into the earth,
breathing into expansiveness. 2018, digital print. 
Lara Bardsley reflects on the value of collecting “familial stories of loss, trauma, separation, suicide, and genocide” for her research. Beautifully capturing her feelings of loss upon her PhD submission, she notes the “transformative power of witnessing our stories” she has gained during the PhD, which she carries with her in her professional career.

When I finished my PhD, I fell into a hole, a descent that was unplanned, too long unwitnessed and incomprehensible for many (including myself), who expected the completion to come as a celebration.

I have been present to stories of suffering and transcendence in my twenty-two years as a psychologist and supervisor, but my PhD had offered me a unique experience: to turn my attention to my own stories and reflect upon them as an artist and researcher, using the language of film, life writing, photography and fine art.

Immersed as I was in the stories that emerged when I asked, “What does it mean to know who we are?” I did not expect that I would feel such a loss when it was over.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge with context, community and copyright in mind (Clare O'Hanlon)


Photo by Kyaw Tun | unsplash.com 
Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge is the theme for this year's Open Access Week and it has made me read about and reflect on power, privilege, equity and inclusion in higher education even more than usual, so I thought I would share some of these readings and reflections this week.

I suggest that when thinking about equitable foundations for open knowledge, it is important to keep context, community and copyright in mind in order to ethically make knowledge and resources accessible to relevant practitioners and communities.

I conclude with some resources to help researchers do this and hopefully make the labour involved more manageable.

Dr Chris Bourg, Director of MIT libraries, begins her Open as in dangerous talk by illustrating the many achievements she and colleagues have made in the Open Access space at MIT. Next, she goes onto to illustrate some of the dangers of being open online.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Working through research translation (Ilan Abrahams)

Most of us want to translate our ideas into forms that connect with the world. To get that work out that we’ve nurtured over the hours, months, and years.

Maybe this translation is part of a series of translations happening all the time? From the basic sensations of what we smell, hear and see, translated through emotions and patterns, into words and phrases in our heads. Then onto the computer, and through successive edits to the world beyond.

But, hold on, isn’t good communication a two–way process? Listening to other people, audiences and participants, too? Or, at least, trying to imagine what life is like from their perspective?

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

La Trobe's Academic Writing Month kicks off this November!

Photo by neonbrand | unsplash.com
For the past six years, La Trobe's RED team has coordinated a multi-campus Academic Writing Month – or AcWriMo for short.

This year’s AcWriMo kicks off on Thursday 1 November with a special Shut Up and Write (SUAW) at Bundoora, and runs through to the end of the month with a writing retreat at Albury-Wodonga (28-30 November).

Between these dates there will be a fabulous assortment of special events that focus attention on academic writing for La Trobe researchers (including graduate researchers). While some offerings are still in the pipeline, here is a brief snapshot of the month ahead:

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Who are you at the University? (Clare McCausland)

Photo by Tseen Khoo
I enjoy recalling the blissful years of my undergraduate studies, when I went to “UNI” each day and I was a “STUDENT” (not a customer, as my pin proudly declared).

I was delighted to have a real student email address – my first email address (this was the mid-1990s!) – and login to all that new technology.

Sometime after I graduated, I got a nice office job at a university. I went to “WORK”. I was a “STAFF” member and my ID card said so. I had a nicer-looking staff email address and login.

Then I enrolled in a graduate research degree at the same institution. I was then going to UNI two days a week and WORK three days a week – catching the very same bus each day and effortlessly maintaining two email accounts for their different purposes. I never, ever checked my work email on my days off.

Then I got another job as a Research Assistant. Suddenly, I was a “RESEARCHER” – and also a “GRADUATE RESEARCHER”. I remember thinking to myself, ‘But isn’t that the same thing?’

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Dealing with your fear of speaking in public (Science Is My Favourite Colour)

Photo by David Laws | unsplash.com
When giving a talk, the worst thing a person is afraid of is making mistakes that will consequently lead to embarrassment.

Different people do have different skills on managing public audiences.

There are people who love giving talks, and those who feel that speaking in public is their worst nightmare.

However, when it comes to talking in front of an audience, everyone can experience fears.

In this post, we offer ideas that can help you make an astounding presentation!