How to… – Academic Writing I

I have to apologize, because I totally forgot to post this entry yesterday. I am on holiday right now and during the weekend I tried to relax and chill. I was really good at relaxing and chilling, I actually forgot about this blogpost and I was right half through my spring cleaning plans today when it hits me – I thought about this post for a while now and I did a lot of reading on this matter: Writing – well, not just writing, like writing fiction, but academic writing.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. We were talking about articles we both are currently working on – I said that I really love the creativity about this part of our jobs in academia and he actually did not understand what could be creative about academic writing. In his opinion, we have to be strict and precise in our writing – and that leaves no room for creativity.

After our talk, I thought about his words. Writing without creativity? It seemed so wrong to me.
I know, academic writing has to be precise, concise and standardized, we have to declare our methods, explain our theories, cite our sources, … but still, NO creativity?

I actually googled the term “creativity” – and I found definitions like: “Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed.” (Wikipedia) or “Creativity, the ability to make or otherwise bring into existence something new, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form.” (Britannica)
So, based on the definition, creativity is an essential part of writing and even if my friend and I still disagree on this topic, I suddenly found myself going down the rabbit hole, surfing the net on academic writing advice and so on.

I suddenly started wondering what my own self-image and self-conception as an academic writer is. As you know, Sarah and I do our little article challenge (find the blogpost and the template here) and I must say, I really like her template. I adjusted it for my current writing projects (book chapters and summaries for my finished project on Celtic divine names where I did the archaeological analysis) and I am keeping track of my writing hours for quite some time now.

I am not only writing on my laptop, I really enjoy taking notes or write my outlines by hand – and it is important to do things like mindmaps by hand, at least in my opinion…

I discovered some really helpful blogs on academic writing I would like to share here with you:

First, the blog by Raul Pacheco-Vega, especially his academic writing section. Raul Pacheco-Vega is an associate professor at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) Sede Mexico. He is blogging about a lot of topics and I really love reading his posts. I found very interesting insights not only in academic writing but also in other aspects of academic life.
I appreciate his honest opinions on the often very complicated facts and working conditions in our job and that he is very open about problems and difficulties. I am definitly going to try some of his advices on impriving my writing.

Second, the blog Explorations of Style. A Blog about Academic Writing, by Rachael Cayley, an associatr professor at the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto, who teaches academic writing and speaking.
I came across this one some time ago, during Academic Writing Month and all the challenges accompanying this time. I really like the three key principles defined by Rachael Cayley which make good and excellent academic writing:

  1. Using writing to clarify my thinking
  2. Committing to extensive revision
  3. Understanding the needs of my reader

The third blog in this list is my always beloved and favorite blog by Karen Kelsky (The Professor is in) who has also some posts on (academic) writing. As you may remember, we did a review on her book (read it here) and I use it for a lot of things concerning academia – working on my CV, planning strategies of my early career and so on.

I can go on with this list – e.g. Scientist sees squirrel by Stephen B. Heard (also some very interesting posts on writing and writing stategies) or blogs like Doctoral Writing SIG. Many new worlds opened up to me since I started looking into this topic. Maybe you have some ressources, interesting blogs or advices on this as well? Feel free to share and discuss it with us here!

After finishing my PhD, my next adventure is the publication of my thesis. And I am working on the publication of our project results, as I mentioned before. Another construction site of my writing schedule is a reviewed article I have to re-write. And, oh, not to forget about my new adventure which includes a lot of grant writing… You see, I am busy – as usual. 😉 And there is a lot of writing to be done – writing starting from scratch, revisions, editing, corrections and so on. And you will hear about it!

So, stay tuned for more about academic writing – our challenges, our advices, our writing habits… Thank you for reading us, stay safe and healthy!
All the best,

Astrid

 

PS: And for next week’s post, a surprise for you! Selfcare and a positive mindset are the most important things during hard and crazy times like these – therefore, we are very proud to present to you our first guest post here on Bouldering Epigrammetry!

 


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1 Response

  1. 11/04/2021

    […] Writing”. I wrote about the blog and her writing tips the other day – you can find my first part on Academic Writing here. I found it quite useful when dealing with some other articles I wrote and now had to check […]

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