Two Helpful Articles on Dissertation Writing and Meeting with Book Editors

In the past few days, a number of articles have been floating around about academia. I have been highly encouraged by a number of them and find their advice not only manageable, but experientially, profitable.

The first article is Finishing a Humanities Dissertation ins Six Years (or Less). A number of books and articles dispense advice on writing, editing, and thinking through a dissertation, but this article, the first that I’ve seen, offers a primer on actually how to finish one.images

He offers 11 tips:

  1. Hit the ground running —begin thinking and working on your dissertation from day of entering into a graduate program
  2. Make coursework work for you
  3. Explore the archives (any archive) as soon as possible — try as early as possible to conduct your primary literature research as soon as you are able
  4. Don’t think of teaching as something keeping you from your “real” work — This one is valuable for me. All teaching duties, student interaction, and other preparatory work have influenced me as a person, and, ultimately, a better thinker and writer.
  5. Get thee to a conference — My Ph.D. career will be forever changed because of the first Society of Biblical Literature conference I attended. I met scholars in my field, I heard papers from leading thinkers and peers, I had constant interaction over topics. It was here that gave me a vision of what caliber of scholarship needs to come from my pen.
  6. Be open to change
  7. Draw on your advisor
  8. Leave your adviser alone
  9. Set a firm end date for yourself. Then set one for your committee
  10. When you’re stuck, take a walk or write your acknowledgments
  11. Make a friend — this is one reason I am grateful to be at Southern Seminary and writing my project. We have an intentional community of thinkers truly care and support one another.

HT: Jonathan Pennington

The second article is A Dozen Tips for New Authors Meeting with an Editor at AAR/SBL. Here, an editor at Wipf and Stock has formulated tips to help newbies in their publishing pursuits. So, when meeting with editors to talk about book projects, here is his advice:

  1. Be on time to meet your editor
  2. Be willing to wait a few extra minutes for the editor to arrive
  3. Discuss your project succinctly
  4. Ask questions about the publisher
  5. Remember, the meeting itself is not a proposal submission
  6. Keep in mind you will almost certainly know more about your book topic than the editor—you are the expert on the topic, here.
  7. Allow the editor to ask questions to gain more insight
  8. These meetings are mostly a way for the author and editor to “feel each other out”
  9. A formal proposal should be submitted later
  10. Handing something to the editor is a helpful for them to gain an idea of your project
  11. Do not give editors the full manuscript
  12. If you are shopping around for your dissertation, consider reading this piece

HT: Nijay Gupta

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