Books and Software for Faculty Writers

As scholars and writers ourselves, we know that research and writing are crucial to academic life, but are not always easy to accomplish under the pressure of the many other demands on our time. Here are some resources we have found useful for own writing lives.


Advice for New Faculty Members: Nihil Nimus by Robert Boice

Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to Productive Writing by Robert Boice

How to Write A Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing by Paul J. Silvia


Pitt makes Endnote available to you. This software allows you to create a library of sources that you can then cite in your writing. It will automatically format citations and bibliographies in the style that you choose. Mendeley is free software that works in similar way and may be a better fit for you, depending on the word-processing software that you are using. The University Library System offers regular instruction for both Endnote and Mendeley. You can read more about both at the ULS site.

Evernote allows you to organize your own notes, files of many kinds, and Internet finds. You can add it to your browser to easily save pages or clippings. Apps allow you to synch your notes across platforms or to annotate files, organize contacts, and more.

Scrivener is a content-generation tool for long documents. It helps you organize and develop your content and it keeps track of your research. It allows you to look at your work in many different ways and even manages drafts.

Have you ever wished you could just turn off the Internet so that you can work without distraction for a while? Freedom allows you to do that. You specify the number of minutes that Freedom should block your access to the Internet (and email!). This low-cost software is available for Mac and Windows.

If you are a Mac user, Self Control can allow you to block your own access to any distracting aspects of the Internet while still allowing you to do online research.

Rescue Time will not only block sites, but it will also analyze your computer use and tell you how much time you spend, for example, writing and how much on surfing, Facebook, or email. By helping you better understand how you use your time, Rescue Time can help you make better choices.