New with Budrich: Mind Your Writing. How to be a Professional Academic Writer by Christian Wymann
About the book
Christian Wymann presents ten of the fundamental questions that every academic writer should be able to answer. He focuses on some questions which may appear trivial at first glance but will likely prove to have more impact on the writer’s efficiency and success than initially expected. Wymann’s main argument is that writers who become better acquainted with themselves become more productive and happier writers. By knowing their own skills and the specific challenges of academic writing, writing will become a task they can master. Because of its focus on these fundamental questions, the book differs from usual guide books on academic writing. It addresses writers irrespective of their disciplinary background.
Between 2013 and 2020 I worked as a writing coach, both freelance and employed at the University Library Bern. During this time I published four books. For now, this is my last book on academic writing. I started a new career in the software industry, where I keep on writing, just about a different topic and for a different audience.
1) Dear Mr Wymann, please summarize the content of your current publication Mind Your Writing. How to be a Professional Academic Writer for our readers.
The book asks ten questions for academic writers. Some might seem trivial at first glance but as my experience as a writing coach shows, they are not. The questions target the writers’ assumptions about writing and being a writer. They offer an opportunity to reflect one’s ideas on and strategies for writing. Put differently, these questions want to start a process that helps the readers to become more efficient and confident writers. The book wants the readers to be professional in the sense of asking fundamental questions in order to become better at their job.
2) How did you get the idea to write this book?
At the very beginning of my career as a writing coach, I started to ask myself these exact questions. Of course, I had to write on regular basis myself. The reflection of what I did helped me to empathize more with my clients. Back then I also started a blog where I engage with different ideas about academic writing. What started as the Mind Your Writing blog now culminates in this book – seven years after starting out my career.
From the perspective of your coaching experience, what are the greatest challenges for authors regarding academic writing?
That’s exactly what my book is about – the (at least) ten greatest challenges I think academic writers have to tackle. For me, though, it’s not so much the question of what challenges writers face; it’s more about how they inspect these challenges and how they adapt themselves and their writing in order to deal with them. There will always be challenges. The question is, do I know how to overcome them time and again. This requires a good dose of self-reflection, courage and adaptability.
In order to write and publish successfully, academic writers need to be able to answer fundamental questions about their writing, you say. Could you introduce one of these questions and explain why it is important to answer?
For me the question about motivation is crucial. It’s a question writers can ask themselves every time they start a new project or when problems arise. There are two types of motivation: On the one hand, there is the overall motivation to write academic texts. The question here is, why do you spend so much energy and time on writing instead of doing something else? On the other hand, there is the specific motivation to pursue a particular writing project. As long as the overall writing motivation is positive, writers can temporarily spend time on less motivating projects. But if the overall motivation changes so radically that writing becomes a chore best to be avoided, something is wrong.
This is why I published this book with Barbara Budrich
I’ve been working with Barbara Budrich for the last six years and I’ve always felt in the right hands. The team took good care of me and helped me transform my ideas into books.
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Christian Wymann: Mind Your Writing. How to be a Professional Academic Writer