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.
He offers 11 tips:
- Hit the ground running —begin thinking and working on your dissertation from day of entering into a graduate program
- Make coursework work for you
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Be open to change
- Draw on your advisor
- Leave your adviser alone
- Set a firm end date for yourself. Then set one for your committee
- When you’re stuck, take a walk or write your acknowledgments
- 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.
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:
- Be on time to meet your editor
- Be willing to wait a few extra minutes for the editor to arrive
- Discuss your project succinctly
- Ask questions about the publisher
- Remember, the meeting itself is not a proposal submission
- Keep in mind you will almost certainly know more about your book topic than the editor—you are the expert on the topic, here.
- Allow the editor to ask questions to gain more insight
- These meetings are mostly a way for the author and editor to “feel each other out”
- A formal proposal should be submitted later
- Handing something to the editor is a helpful for them to gain an idea of your project
- Do not give editors the full manuscript
- If you are shopping around for your dissertation, consider reading this piece
HT: Nijay Gupta