- Series: Lifetools: Books for the General Public
- Paperback: 149 pages
- Publisher: Amer Psychological Assn; 1 edition (January 15, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591477433
- ISBN-13: 978-1591477433
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (281 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing (Lifetools: Books for the General Public) 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
A contemporary admonition tells us, "If you talk the talk, you have to be able to walk the walk." Paul Silvia does both; he writes effectively about how to write effectively. Without being either a scold or a Pollyanna, he identifies ways in which each of us can achieve our goals of being more proficient authors.
--Lawrence S. Wrightsman, Professor of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence; author of The Psychology of the Supreme Court and coauthor of Forensic Psychology (2nd ed.) with Sol Fulero.
A common complaint among faculty and graduate students alike is that writing often takes a backseat to other professional and personal commitments. For those who have trouble writing enough, Paul Silvia explains how to write more. For those who already write plenty, he shows how to do so more efficiently and with lower cost to one's other obligations. Every researcher will benefit from the gems of advice in this book.
--Mark R. Leary, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Paul Silvia's new book is just the tonic for academics who want to be more productive. Silvia demolishes all of the typical excuses that people use to put off getting to work, and he gives a few concise, practical tips that will help anyone to write more. Psychologists are the target reader, but professors in any discipline would benefit from the advice in this book.
--R. Keith Sawyer, Associate Professor, Department of Education, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri; author of seven books, editor or coauthor of three more, and author of more than 50 articles.
About the Author
Paul J. Silvia received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Kansas in 2001. He studies the psychology of emotion, particularly what makes things interesting, the role of emotions in the arts, and how emotions intersect with personality. He received the Berlyne Award, an early-career award given by American Psychological Association Division 10, for his research on aesthetic emotions. Dr. Silvia is the author of Exploring the Psychology of Interest (2006) and Self-Awareness and Causal Attribution (with T. S. Duval, 2001). In his free time, he drinks coffee; pets Lia, his Bernese mountain dog; and enjoys not writing.
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Top Customer Reviews
A few days ago, I was gladly notified of the acceptance of my proposal to present at a graduate student research conference this fall. Considering the grave importance of producing the most satisfactory piece of academic writing as my first official foray into the academia, I wanted to be as well prepared as possible. A firm advocate of the Chinese idiom -- sharpening your axe before cutting the firewood is never a waste of time -- and a long-time beneficiary of a myriad of how-to books, I picked Dr. Silvia's How to Write a Lot as one of my reference materials.
This book starts out with bona fide face slapping -- piercing, painfully accurate diagnosis and demystification of the four most prevailing "specious barriers" to writing a lot. And I scored 3 out of 4. Yes, I am the one who constantly complains about not being able to find time to write yet never miss my favorite TV show. "Binge writers are also binge readers and binge statisticians." Bingo! You often say "I'm waiting until I feel like it." How do you know that?!
For me, holding the misconception of creativity being a flash of inspiration out of nowhere is the most lethal of all. Flash of light, bolt of lightening, and alignment of stars have rarely happened, yet the sheer scarcity of their occurrences ironically further feeds my illusion. Dr. Silvia makes all attempts -- scientific, psychological, and motivational -- to hammer home to his readers the simple point that "writing breeds good ideas for writing." Inspiration comes through diligent scheduling, not desultory daydreaming.
Another life-altering wake up call for me is the principle of "write first, revise later." I was indeed in a misguided quest for the perfect first draft throughout graduate school. It would take me forever to write down a perfect first sentence before I can move on to the next one. It is the self-inflicting malpractice of writing that makes writing more excruciating that it already is. Hence the procrastination. Hence the analysis paralysis.
Besides the heart-pumping motivation and trenchant guidance on how to implement a writing schedule, this book also provides insights on submission and resubmission of academic journals, writing a book, and other aspects of academic writing any scholar will encounter in their professional life. I look forward to the day when I revisit this book for specific advice on those parts, but for now, I will just enjoy the zen of scheduled writing with the magical weapon of the prolific Anthony Thrllope -- "a piece of cobbler's wax on my chair."
Mr. Silvia begins by debunking all of the excuses that people have for not writing:
• There's not enough time
• I need to read more articles before I begin
• I need a new computer, a better printer, etc.
• I'm waiting for inspiration
He tells us that the only way to ensure that you write more is to write according to a schedule, such as two hours every morning. He then discusses tools to help writers set goals, set priorities, and monitor progress. He denies the existence of writer's block for academic writers: "Writer's block is nothing more than the behavior of not writing" (p. 46).
Mr. Silvia goes on to suggest setting up a writers' group and describes his experiences with such a group at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he works. In subsequent chapters he tackles writing style and the art of writing journal articles and books. His discussions on handling reviews and rejection are especially helpful. He concludes by stressing that you don't need special qualities to write; you just need to keep
to your writing schedule. If you do that, you're guaranteed to write more.
How to Write a Lot includes an index as well as a list of recommended books for further reading.