The TextExpander guide for academics

Type Less. Eat more ice-cream. Welcome to the Mewburn-Downs guide to using TextExpander. Here’s the promise of this book in a nutshell: Without working any harder, you can save time with TextExpander by typing less, but still producing the same number of words. TextExpander is an app that runs in the background on your computer; ...continue reading.

The uneven U

Publishers often send me academic writing books to review. I happily look through every book, but if I think I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it, I just don’t write a review. I don’t want to crush a fellow author’s soul. The rejected titles sit sadly, in small piles of guilt, on the bottom of one of ...continue reading.

Latest articles

February 3, 2021

How to write a more compelling sentence

Like many academics, I get to my office every morning and battle the problem of Too Much To Read. To tell the truth, most days I give up the fight. Under pressure to publish or perish, academics are producing mountains of text every year, even in a tiny sub-specialty like research education.  I don’t havecontinue reading.

No Comments
January 6, 2021

Why your anxiety might also be a super power

Happy new year everyone! I don’t know about you, but during 2020, I often felt like a helpless bus passenger being driven towards the edge of a cliff by incompetent politicians and powerful business interests. I feel this way about climate change all the time, but the pandemic made the feeling so much worse. Allcontinue reading.

No Comments
December 23, 2020

The year of living Covidly

We made it. 2020 is about to be over. Before a year in review post, a special announcement: As regular readers know, for over 10 years now I have run the Thesis Whisperer blog as a ‘not for loss’ model, where I donate excess above operating costs to charity. This year, as an explicit christmascontinue reading.

No Comments
December 2, 2020

While you scream inside your heart, please keep working.

So, 2020 hey? What a trip. I don’t know about you, but concentrating on my work when the world feels like it’s up in flames, literally and figuratively, has been, well – difficult. In order to keep my shit together in front of students and co-workers I’ve been, as a Japanese theme park put it,continue reading.

No Comments
November 4, 2020

#whisperfest 2020

The Research Whisperer blog has the tagline ‘Just like the Thesis Whisperer, but with more money’. A lot of people ask me if The Research Whisperer is one of my aliases or a group of people who are trying to rip me off. In fact, it’s neither. Tseen Khoo and Jonathan O’Donnell who run Thecontinue reading.

No Comments
October 7, 2020

Imposter syndrome is not real, but I call mine ‘Beryl’.

I hate to fail. My failure avoidance leads to a tendency for overwork. I drive myself harder than any manager will, mostly out of fear of failure rather than love for the work. My feelings of insecurity make me a good employee and student, but they also put me at risk for burn out andcontinue reading.

43 Comments
September 2, 2020

Do you need clown shoes? Finding a research job during Covid lockdowns

The other day I had an actual 3D, face to face lunch with a colleague, let’s call him Simon. After months of 2D Zoom catch ups, it was lovely to be in an actual cafe on campus, eating steaming hot noodles. Simon and I were meant to be discussing business, but of course the conversationcontinue reading.

No Comments
August 5, 2020

Rich academic, poor academic? Making an academic living in Covid times

I put this post on ice in February this year when the great Covid crisis hit. The post is about how to supplement your sessional teaching income with academic flavoured ‘side hustles’. Back in March everything was going to hell and it just didn’t seem that… relevant? Now, at the start of semester two incontinue reading.

No Comments
July 8, 2020

How NOT to be an academic asshole during Covid.

Close to half of PhD students are contemplating leaving their studies in the next six months. We need to talk about quitting with kindness and empathy – and some people just need to stop being assholes.

No Comments
June 10, 2020

Why academic writing sucks (and how we can fix it)

Academic writing, as a genre, sucks. It’s ritualised, peculiar, archaic and does almost as much to hide knowledge as it does to share it.

No Comments
%d bloggers like this: