Professor, librarian and Fulbright Specialist Marta M. Deyrup has published the Librarian's Guide to Writing for Professional Publication.
Deyrup has published nine books to date, numerous scholarly articles and a host of pieces written for popular publication. In this book, a practical guide to writing for librarians, she takes her ample experience in writing for publication and maps out a course for those who wish to advance their careers through the use of the written word.
In the book Deyrup
explains the difference between traditional and self-publishing; supplies advice on picking a publisher and working successfully with a publisher; and provides useful information on copyright, open access publishing, and contract signing. While geared to all librarians, the text also includes text intended specifically for librarians on the tenure track and those who wish to experiment with new media.
It should be noted, however, that although the title of the book focuses on publication, Deyrup supplies her readers with writing advice beyond the published page— and beyond even the scope of librarians – as she offers a guide to professional writing of all sorts. As noted by the book's publisher.
The book supplies writing templates that make it simple to write various types of communication, such as a letter to the editor, effective emails and memos, or compelling letter of recommendation; a news release, newsletter, or feature story; and conference proceedings, peer-reviewed articles, technical manuals or brochures. You'll also learn how to write a proposal for a book or journal article to submit to a publisher and how to turn your master's thesis or doctoral thesis into a published work. Any librarian who is serious about advancing their career will find this an invaluable resource.
It is not hard to see how other professions could benefit from Deyrup's writing templates. In fact, Deyrup recounts in the book how the creation of these templates was spurred by her work as a writing teacher.
She writes of her templates and innovations:
I developed these simple techniques after spending many years working as a writing teacher and book and journal editor. The students I taught and the writers I edited were often so anxious about making a mistake or being caught out as a “bad” writer that they spent needless hours worrying – many times to the detriment of the project they were trying to finish. Some became so preoccupied by what they perceived as the inadequacy of their own writing that they were unable to get beyond the first or second paragraph. Even if they were experts on a topic they often struggled to find the right words to convey what they wanted to say. All of them were highly educated people, who had no trouble expressing themselves verbally. It wasn’t that they didn’t know how to communicate, there was something preventing them—something deeply psychological that had to do with the physical act of writing.
Creation of the Template Method
To that end, Deyrup came up with a method that allowed her students to overcome their reservations about writing and focus on the work’s function rather than its form. She writes,
In response to this, I developed a writing technique I call the "template method" of writing. The template method is based on the assumption that if you understand the structure of a piece of professional writing you will be able to reproduce it. This method developed out of the observation that most kinds of professional writing are built around a simple formula – hence the idea of a template. If you look up the original meaning of template in the Oxford English Dictionary, you will find that it is "an instrument used as a gauge or guide in bringing any piece of work to the desired shape; usually a flat piece of wood or metal having one edge shaped to correspond to the outline of the finished work; also used as a tool in moulding, and as a guide in forming moulds for castings or pottery, in an automatic lathe, etc."(OED) This is a good metaphor for professional writing. Professional writing is a craft. It will become easier to do over time as you gain more experience. However, just as with any craft, writing doesn't come automatically. You will need to continue to hone and shape a text until you are satisfied with the result.
Once you understand this and are able to pick the right template for your writing, you can focus on what really matters—the content of your work.