Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2013

Important information for anyone seeking (or considering) a graduate degree in the Humanities

Once again, William Pannapacker has nailed it .  He points to the lack of doctoral job placement data available from most humanities departments, arguing for a "Graduate School Placement Project" that "could bring market forces to bear on programs that are failing their students."  Among Pannapacker's many salient points, I particularly like that he "gets" why so many students want to do a humanities degree: In many ways, the choice to go to graduate school is not simply an attraction to a field but a drive toward something that almost everyone wants—a feeling of belonging, living up to one's full potential, and not wasting one's life in meaningless drudgery.  This is an important point.  On the one hand, there are many graduate programs who simply fail to tell the truth about job placement and refuse to discuss opportunities beyond the academy.  On the other, there is still a perception that the academy is the only way to live the "lif

The hidden price of isolation (and 5 ways to avoid paying that price)

If you’re like most people, you will find that lack of connection with other academics combined with the lack of structure in the summer months will actually reduce your writing productivity.  Without the input, accountability, and power of connection with others, it’s too easy to get sidetracked and not to reach your summer writing goals. Since writing is ultimately the final common path for completing your dissertation or for publishing and getting tenure, it’s catastrophic to your career not to write productively when you have the chance. In this post, we offer some additional ways to find those connections and how to use them to energize your writing. 1. Join a writing group on campus.   Many campuses have ongoing groups of professors or graduate students who are looking for new members.  Some groups meet and write alongside each other, while others are more focused on sharing and critiquing the work.  There are groups that emphasize regular writing and writing productivi

Is it really "slow" writing?

Over the years, I've noticed academic writers have several common frustrations. By far the most common is their frustration about how slow they write and how everything takes longer than they think it will.  Almost every writer I know is haunted by that niggling feeling that the work could be going faster.  We all complain that we're making "slow progress."  But are we?  One of my friends was reporting earlier that he'd written "only" 2500 words that day--but he still felt that it was a slow day!  That would be a  phenomenal  day for me. In fact, if I could write even 2000 words every day, I'd be more than happy.  And yet this person wasn't happy, because he still felt like he could be doing more.  Pushing more, moving more. The reality is that there's always more we can do, and there will most likely always be at least one person who is faster.  But that doesn't invalidate our progress.  If we're in there, writing away most days a