On Being A Word Toting Rebel

Are you a rebel without a cause?  Are you a word toting rebel?  Writers of books, blogging gurus, and professors alike often want their students to argue against something. You must have a counter-point, they say, for you to get attention. There must be an argument, a thesis, which will anchor your paper.  Indeed, I teach my students the importance of a strong thesis in order to write a persuasive argument. However, I struggle with extending encouragement to stir the pot without skin in the Continue reading →

Productivity Tools for Academics, Lawyers, and Professionals

Productivity doesn’t have a finish line; it’s an evolving set of methods, skills, and task management habits. This is especially true when considering productivity tools for academics, lawyers, and professionals. Some time ago, I wrote a post offering some advice and links to productivity tools I found useful. I thought it was time to revisit the topic and reflect on what I’m finding most helpful now. This article is part of our effort to offer advice for research tasks and professional development, like using plain English Continue reading →

Essential Archival Research Kit

Preparation is essential to making the most of limited time in an archival research library. One of my secrets to getting the most out of time is archival and reference libraries is my “essential archival research kit”! The Essential Kit Readers card Laptop (and chargers/power cord) A pad of paper or research notebook Endnote Pencils, eraser, sharpener Outline of research Business cards Change for lockers, photocopying (though you may need to carry a Plastic form of currency if you’re anything like me), and Clear plastic Continue reading →

Survival Kit for Graduate Students

A survival kit for Graduate students you say?! For some of you, it may be a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, hence: Coffee does more than Milton can, to justifie the ways of God to Man. There’s a variation on that quote from A.D. Houseman, if you know it. For others it may be getting your necessary 10 hugs a day –apparently that’s the number we all need to thrive — and for others still a hearty belly laugh! I am not Continue reading →

31 Things We wish Someone had told us before we Started Graduate School

What we wish someone had told us before we started Graduate School. This post was originally published on Goannatree, a blog I wrote for 6 years. It was a post that received many many comments and that readers seemed to find helpful. This is updated. _____________________________________________________________________________ There are those lessons you learn from facing the fire and walking through it. Those things that you read and know will change the way you think about your life. This list is definitely an outpouring of the former, Continue reading →

5 books to help you grow

My reading has always been somewhat eclectic so don’t be suprised by these 5 books to help you grow. From legal treatises, works of theology, summaries of psychological research, and literature from a variety of english speaking traditions – I thought i’d share some of the books that have been lugged around in my suitcase and graced my nightstand early in 2018. Tables in the Wilderness My first book for 2018 was “Tables in the Wilderness” by Preston Yancey – in those heady days after Continue reading →

Work from anywhere: practical tips for location freedom

I’ve spent much of the last ten years traveling. I’m all about figuring out how to work from anywhere. A large part of that also involved working in the “fringe hours” and making the most of working on research and writing projects in the midst of travel. This post does include affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for more information. I have worked beside pools, in parks, on buses, on long road trips as a passenger, in countless hotel rooms, internet cafes, friends’ kitchen Continue reading →

Want to be a better writer? 6 Questions to Ask

Writing well, (to be a better writer) both for comprehension and for style and beauty is an art form that requires continuous improvement: improvement in form, style, learning the rules so you know when to break them, learning when to rely on the classical forms of rhetoric and when to seek to cut through the brush and find new and uniquely you ways of expressing yourself. Metaphors, synonyms, antonyms, similes. Beauty, ugly, honorific, soporific, deriding, motivating, cutting, seeking to find solace in the past or Continue reading →

You are not special

A few years ago I spent six months in between positions in higher education working in retail hospitality: a cafe in a busy mall. I wrote this reflection in the midst of that experience. Each Christmas I am reminded by the lessons buried deep within muscle memory from that time. _____________________________________________________________________________ Working with ‘the public’ for the last four or five months, one pervasive attitude has struck me as being detrimental to our communities growing and thriving. It’s something that I don’t see the church Continue reading →

Writing for Good in the world

I love to write when creativity strikes and while I would contend that is in a place of unbridled creativity that my best ideas come it is not usually where I can expect to write polished pieces. But what is writing for Good? Often the moments of creativity produce sparks and tangents that take time, control, and discipline to flesh out into fully developed arguments that flow. I often have to go back after I have posted to fix spelling and grammar mistakes, and to Continue reading →