Don’t Go It Alone


April 14, 2015

I spent much of my writing life “going it alone,” and though I still managed to publish articles and books, I now know that my solitary approach made that life harder — and lonelier — than it needed to be. Joining an academic writing group can make all the difference in your scholarly career. Trouble is, most advice on creating and using writing groups is geared toward fiction writers. Academic writers need something different.

Fiction writing groups tend to focus on content and critique, and members often read their writing aloud for others to evaluate. That kind of “workshopping” — in which a bunch of people give off-the-cuff (and sometimes conflicting) feedback about what you’ve written — is not what academics need. Thanks to the peer-review process, faculty manuscripts receive no shortage of feedback. Papers by graduate students are (or should be) critiqued by their advisers and mentors prior to submission. Meanwhile faculty members often seek guidance on their written work from trusted colleagues, mentors, and peers. Continue reading on Chronicle Vitae.

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