Good Habits, Great Academic Writing


Posted August 4, 2016

how to write a lotAcademic writing can seem like an incredibly daunting task. When I was a graduate student, writing was something that I often dreaded. I managed to survive graduate school mostly by binge writing, but any prolific writer will tell you that binge writing is not the way to go.  Many graduate students struggle to be effective and productive writers (I know I did). The most consistent piece of advice I got from professors and colleagues throughout graduate school was to make time to write every day. The more general point behind this advice, however, is that developing good, strong writing habits is a key to being a productive writer. And this doesn’t just apply to writing; good habits can help you be more productive in any kind of work.

 

There is a great book called “How to Write a Lot” by Paul Silvia that several professors recommended to me throughout graduate school that I now recommend to my students and colleagues who struggle with writing. It’s very short and easy to read. This book provides direct, concrete advice for fostering good writing habits and using your time effectively. Below is a synopsis:

 

“All students and professors need to write, and many struggle to finish their stalled dissertations, journal articles, book chapters, or grant proposals. Writing is hard work and can be difficult to wedge into a frenetic academic schedule.

 

In this practical, light-hearted, and encouraging book, Paul Silvia explains that writing productively does not require innate skills or special traits but specific tactics and actions. Drawing examples from his own field of psychology, he shows readers how to overcome motivational roadblocks and become prolific without sacrificing evenings, weekends, and vacations. After describing strategies for writing productively, the author gives detailed advice from the trenches on how to write, submit, revise, and resubmit articles, how to improve writing quality, and how to write and publish academic work.”

 

Yours in Success,

Dr. David Kovaz


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