Monday, November 18, 2013

10 Tips from Scholar Who Knows How to Write Less Badly

During my 20 years at universities, I have met a lot of talented students fail because they have no skills in writing. Moreover, I’ve seen some much less talented young people (I see one of them in the mirror every day) have done well because they learned how to write.

It all starts from graduate school, where happens a real transformation. People are switching from taking courses to writing. The stars of the classrooms – the people everyone admired and looking up to – are not so cool anymore. Conversely, a few ordinary students – those who did not care about pleasing the professors by making every task in the assignment – are suddenly sending their articles to journals, publishing their works and growing into professional academics. The reason of their transformation is not complicated. It is writing.

Many professional writers have talked repeatedly that writing it is a hard work and that’s true. Unfortunately, requirements for writing in most universities subjects are so low that student don’t write their own assignments, they just order essay papers from such sources like Essay Shopping.

 This post is all about useful information on scholarly nonfiction writing that (I hope) help students to write less badly.

 1. Writing requires practice. You can get better and faster only improving your writing skill. If you were going to give a speech at an important professional conference, would you wait for it and then speak unprepared. No, you would be preparing most days before the event. You might start on choosing the material and then training in front of the mirror. If you want to be better, write as much as you can. Do not expect that external-review report will help you to enhance writing.

2. Set effective goals. The plan to write four hours without a break is a delusion. The task to complete four double-spaces pages assignment is a goal. After you wrote four pages, try to do something else. Go for meetings, prepare to class, study. If later in the day you want to write some more, great. But if you don’t, then at least you’ve done something.

3. Try to write interesting content; don’t just turn in a paper. Most students do not think that their essay should be interesting. They are focused on grades, as if the essay assignment is not related to ideas writing. Paradoxically, if all you are thinking about are grades, you may not receive the highest ones. It is easier to write about something when you are interested in subject you are writing for.

4. Do not make all the work at the last moment. Many clever students convincing themselves in pathetic lies like, “I will write my best essay at the last night.” It is not true – face it. You cannot write better under the pressure of the deadline. I’m not telling that you are not smart. Just understand that you cannot make an important contribution to the profound problem in the middle of the night just before the exam. Real writers think of their works for hours, wrestling their ideas. They discuss ideas with experts over dinner, ask questions, go for a long walks. And then write some part of the creation. Don’t feel bad if your writing skill is not perfect and isn't promptly applicable. You will get ideas as long as you write. Writing is like magic, because writer can produce in the mind of some other person, distant from him, a picture of his ideas.

5. Everyone's unwritten work is a work of genius. The more work is unwritten, the more genial it is. We are all familiar with those talkative graduate students that have all the answers. They are telling you what they will write about and how brilliant it will be. This being said holding a beer in onу hand and a cigarette in the other in some bar. Years pass, and they still have the same answer. It never stops, because they are not actually working on anything. In reality, when you are actually writing and working hard on the assignment, you will feel stupid, inadequate, and tired. In case you don’t feel like that, then you worked not so hard. So, do not worry when someone asks you, “What you are working on?”, and you cannot explain anything. You just have no time to practice your answer like the guy with beer and cigarette.

6. Complete the puzzle.
Think of you essay assignment as an answer to a puzzle: - “A and B start with the same assumptions but reach opposing results. How?” - “There is three problems in the assignment but, surprisingly, all are the same problem. I’ll tell you why. - “Theory proves something. But in practice appears something else. Is the theory is wrong or there is other factor we have missed.” Do not follow these formulas too closely, but they will help you to present your work to an audience of listeners at a lecture.

7. Reserve your most productive time for writing. I am a “morning person”, so I write early in the day. Then I spend the rest of my day doing a paper work, teaching, or having meetings. Some could be a “night person” or something in between. Just emphasize the most productive work for writing. Do not put away writing for later. Just squeeze all your things; the writing will be better with the clear head.

8. It is hard to create profound thoughts. Many students get confused because they cannot find analytical advantage of the question in essay assignment. Then they stop writing at all. Do not rush! The thing is that you may spend quite a lot of time just by focusing your thoughts. It is always hard to refine assignment questions, determine terms, or know your argument will work until you written it all down and read a few times.

9. Your most compelling thoughts can be wrong. Or they may be not completely correct. It is funny when new graduate students think they know what they will write for their dissertations. Almost all academics were changing their mind on doing research and writing about it. They making their conclusion by doing, and sometimes, they learn that all their thoughts are wrong.

10. The first drafts are always not good. Edit your work as many times as it needs. Give other people to look at it. One of the big advantages of graduation is that we are passing through all this together. Moreover, we all know the disadvantages of not very clean eye. Exchange papers with mentor or peers. And if you tired of your own writing, read someone else work. Do not afraid to be criticized or rejected. If you feel that you have written enough and composing a paper is pretty easy for you, you can earn good money as a writer. The sources like Writers Career are always looking for those who write well. So, following this tips, eventually, you can make writing as a career.