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Note: This post written by Dr. Elizabeth Manley (Department of History).

Do you need a quiet space to write on campus? Looking to take a writing lunch? Have some planned writing time but keep getting distracted? Come by CAT+FD and take advantage of our new writing room!

CAT+FD Faculty Writing Room

Over the summer, we repurposed an old office in CAT+FD as a dedicated faculty writing room. The room, located just off the reception area, is a space solely for scholarly writing and research. It is an email-, social media-, and grading-free zone, where you can get away for an hour (or six!) for some focused research and/or writing time. Sit in an armchair and do some reading, spread out on the big farm table to get some words on the page, or simply contemplate a new (or old) project.

CAT+FD Faculty Writing Room

It’s totally up to you! Here’s what one visitor has to say:

The writing room was the perfect place for me to go and shut myself off from the world to get my conference presentation completed. The room is comfortable and the staff was very attentive offering drinks and snacks as I worked. I will definitely use this space again when I just simply need to get
work done without disruptions!!

Celeste R. Parker, SLP.D., CCC-SLP
Director of Clinical Education, Department of Speech Pathology

Further, we are building a library on writing productivity (for online suggestions see the new Writing and Research Productivity resources on our wiki), as well as working to fill the space with plants and nurturing vibes.

We have refreshments, quiet, and (hopefully) writing inspiration. Come by, grab a coffee and a snack, and get down to writing! We look forward to seeing you soon!

A conversation between Cathy Mazak (UPRM) and Elizabeth Manley (XULA) on academic writing.

Catherine Mazak is originally from New Jersey. She earned her B.A in English from Indiana University, Bloomington; M.A. TESOL from University of Arizona, Tucson; PhD in Critical Studies in the Teaching of English from Michigan State University. Mazak joined the English Department at UPRM in 2005. The courses she teaches are the Basic English courses (INGL 3101, 3102), Linguistics Seminar INGL 4028, Graduate Research Methods INGL 6006, and Current Topics in Linguistic Theory INGL 5025. Her Teaching or Research Areas are Translanguaging in higher education, bilingualism and learning, qualitative research methods, linguistic ethnography. Also her Currents projects are Co-founder and Co-director of CeIBA, Center for research on bilingualism and learning; Affiliated researcher University of Illinois at Chicago Bilingualism Research Center.

Elizabeth Manley is Associate Professor of History at Xavier University of Louisiana. She is the author of The Paradox of Paternalism: Women and Authoritarian Politics in the Dominican Republic (University Press of Florida, 2017) and co-author of Cien Años de Feminismos Dominicanos (AGN, 2016)with Ginetta Candelario and April Mayes. She has published articles in The Americas, The Journal of Women’s History, and Small Axe, is a contributing editor for the Library of Congress’ Handbook of Latin American Studies, and is the co-chair of the Haiti-Dominican Republic section of the Latin American Studies Association.

Links for this episode:

Transcript:

Coming soon!

1

A conversation between Cathy Mazak (UPRM) and Elizabeth Manley (XULA) on academic writing.

Catherine Mazak is originally from New Jersey. She earned her B.A in English from Indiana University, Bloomington; M.A. TESOL from University of Arizona, Tucson; PhD in Critical Studies in the Teaching of English from Michigan State University. Mazak joined the English Department at UPRM in 2005. The courses she teaches are the Basic English courses (INGL 3101, 3102), Linguistics Seminar INGL 4028, Graduate Research Methods INGL 6006, and Current Topics in Linguistic Theory INGL 5025. Her Teaching or Research Areas are Translanguaging in higher education, bilingualism and learning, qualitative research methods, linguistic ethnography. Also her Currents projects are Co-founder and Co-director of CeIBA, Center for research on bilingualism and learning; Affiliated researcher University of Illinois at Chicago Bilingualism Research Center.

Elizabeth Manley is Associate Professor of History at Xavier University of Louisiana. She is the author of The Paradox of Paternalism: Women and Authoritarian Politics in the Dominican Republic (University Press of Florida, 2017) and co-author of Cien Años de Feminismos Dominicanos (AGN, 2016)with Ginetta Candelario and April Mayes. She has published articles in The Americas, The Journal of Women’s History, and Small Axe, is a contributing editor for the Library of Congress’ Handbook of Latin American Studies, and is the co-chair of the Haiti-Dominican Republic section of the Latin American Studies Association.

Links for this episode:

Transcript:

Coming soon!

Photograph of Jose Bove speaking at a conference.
Jose Bove was one of the early proponents of what would come to be called the Slow Food movement.
I'm at an interesting confluence of professional development methodologies. For the Xavier University Faculty Writing Group, the guiding premise is Just Do It™ -- force yourself to write, even if only for 15 minutes a day. Squeeze it in however you can. (I've been pushing myself to do 30 minutes.) This makes sense; it's the same advice I was given as a creative writing graduate student; it's the same advice you get from any successful writer: write every day no matter what. But I'm also in a book club that is currently reading and discussion The Slow Professor by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber, a book that attempts to embrace the ideals of the Slow movement while living the life of the modern academic. Berg and Seeger, I think, would not agree with the Just Do It™ premise of my writing group.

Berg and Seeger argue for a greater mindfullness of our time, even if they never use that particular language. They argue for faculty to incorporate into their lives what they call "timeless time," sessions that are purposefully (mindfully) organized in order to allow us to focus wholly and completely on an activity... an activity like writing. According to Berg and Seeger, a session of "timeless time" requires several things of us:

  • A period of transition, time to focus our energies on the upcoming activity;
  • The acceptance that we will probably need more time than we think accomplish this activity;
  • A sense of "playfulness"; and
  • A silencing of our inner and outer critics who think that such activity is a waste of time (and money).

So on the one hand, I'm encouraged to squeeze in 15 or 30 minutes to write, no matter what, to be consistent and regimented -- the same 15 or 30 minute every day of the week, while on the other, I'm encouraged to not simply carve out a chunk of time during which to write, but to create an extended session of timelessness -- a meditative, almost spiritual experience.

At first, this seemed contradictory, but they're not. They just need to balance each other. So I'll be trying something new in the next week: I'm still carving out that 30 minutes each day (I've been doing it at 8:30 every night, after I've read to and put my son to bed, because I'm not a morning person (I'm really just not)), but I'll be leaving the first 5, 10, or 15 minutes to prepare myself to write for the rest of that half hour.

The question now is what to do with that "period of transition." I want to say I'll do some kind of focusing meditation; however, I'm guessing that will often be supplanted by a need to review some research before I start writing. A challenge I've found with the write every day model is that you need to be prepared to write -- not psychically prepared, as Berg and Seeger suggest, but prepared with the research in mind. When I do creative writing, that's often not an issue, as it's all in my head. But scholarly writing, but its nature, can't be all in my head. So I've found myself leaving big gaps in my writing these days, notes to myself to "check the literature on this" and "verify this idea." So that transition period may become a literature review period. We'll see.

Note: This post first appeared on the Xavier University Faculty Writing Group's blog.

Download Conversation #60



A conversation with Joli Jensen of University of Tulsa on scholarly writing.

Throughout my academic career I have struggled to combine my academic writing with other commitments. What I’ve learned about overcoming obstacles to my own academic writing has led to my current focus — offering academic writing support to colleagues in the humanities, social sciences and sciences.

Links for this episode:

...continue reading "Conversation #60: Joli Jensen on Scholarly Writing"

This is just one of the compelling programs on offer at Rising Tide 8. Register now.

MelaNated Aug 2011

Far too often writers of color are unheard, under-represented, and undervalued in the literary world. MelaNated Writers Collective (@melanatednola) was established in 2010 to create a network of support and resources for writers of color in New Orleans. Members of MWC will discuss its struggles and success as a collective and why New Orleans is a ripe city for literary rebirth. Panelists will discuss how the group’s mission, vision, writers workshop, and how it engages community and partners with other locals.
...continue reading "Creating Community for Writers of Color: MelaNated Writers Collective at Rising Tide 8"