Resources: Books

Wendy Laura Belcher, Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success

This book does not focus on dissertation writing, but on the writing of publishable articles, as its title indicates.  Belcher is an academic herself and has worked as a writing consultant; the book outlines concrete, tested techniques for improving one’s writing and productivity and does not waste space on self-help palaver. The information in this book is helpful for writing articles as well as for academic writing in general: highly recommended.

Robert Boice, Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to Productive Writing

Boice is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Stony Brook University, and his work is widely cited as among the best in the field of faculty advice and guidance. His superb advice on writing draws on evidence from studies he and others have conducted: as with Belcher, this is not the empty rhetoric of self-help, but substantive information that you can use to create your own writing habits.  Boice is also the author of Advice for New Faculty Members, which is worth reading as a grad student and as a faculty member.  Both books highly recommended.

Eviatar Zerubavel, The Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Books

Scheduling time to write, sample schedules, scheduling strategies: the tortoise beats the hare.  Recommended if you need models for structuring your writing time and inspiration for writing on a disciplined schedule.

Irene Clark, Writing the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: Entering the Conversation

Less focused on the writing process than on the dissertation as a genre and the practicalities of producing a dissertation: includes discussion of structuring arguments, working with your advisor and committee, use of sources, etc.

Joan Bolker, Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis

Focuses specifically on writing the dissertation, and helpful in particular for those who are struggling with getting words onto the page.  Bolker is co-founder of the Harvard Writing Center, and this book is cited often as one that is helpful for dissertators.

Paul J. Silvia, How to Write A Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing

Practical advice for scheduling writing time with a pun in the title: writing a lot requires allotting specific times within a busy schedule and treating that time as if it were teaching time (i.e. non-negotiable). Geared towards psychologists, making the second half of the book less useful, but overall inspiring and helpful in every stage of academic writing.

I welcome additional suggestions for books that you have found useful and/or comments about the books above.


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