Academic Writing

Today I discussed academic writing briefly with someone writing a thesis. I’ve never heard of the authors she is writing about, but the topic sounded interesting, and she is clearly interested in it. I also am interested in the things I study and research. Both of us agreed that, even if we are really interested in our research, and enthusiastic about the things that we learned in doing the research, writing is like slitting your wrists and bleeding onto the paper. It is really hard to do.

There might be things that make writing a little easier. Mostly, though, it is being disciplined. It is a matter of butt in chair and fingers on keyboards. Having a set time to write helps. If I decide I’m going to write from time X to time Y, then I have no excuse not to do this. (Of course, I could write a blog post instead of the chapter I’m working on.) Part of having the set time is figuring out when you work best. I’ve not quite got that down yet. I’ve got friends who know they are most productive in the morning, so they get up at the crack of dawn and write. More power to them. I’ve been trying to work out when my most productive time of day is. I used to write most of my essays for classwork late in the evening and into the night. I’m a little afraid that maybe my best writing time is still deep into the night. I’ve not tried that in a while. Maybe I should.

When is your most productive writing/work time? Any tips for others on figuring out when that might be?

It is also important to take breaks from writing. I’m on a break from my other writing project right now. My problem is finishing breaks and going back to the writing. It is especially hard in the middle of a transition or natural break in the piece I’m writing. It is very hard to bridge those natural breaks and get into the next section. I read an article by a well-known author who gets over this natural break problem by stopping work in the middle of a sentence. I’d be afraid I’d forget how I meant the sentence to end! But it is something to try. I tend to break at natural breaks in my writing, but then restarting is brutal.

How do you get over natural breaks in writing? Or is this only a problem in my head?



Filed under writing

4 responses to “Academic Writing

  1. Lisa

    This made me smile as I’m taking a break right now by reading your blog! I agree taking a break from writing is really easy but starting back again seems impossible until you actually do it. Sometimes I just write rubbish to get me physically started again and then delete it later! Other distractions include facebook, twitter, cups of tea, chocolate and my children, all of which seem to take up lots of my writing time.

  2. I really find I have to have my schedule and plate clear in order to write effectively. If there are several tasks hanging over my head, I can sit in front my computer as much as I want, but nothing happens. Having a free two or three hours, with nothing to think about but writing – gold.

  3. Christine

    Hemingway never stopped at a natural break, he always tried to stop before he ran out of things to say, so he would have something to write the next day.

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