» Initiated by professors from Durham University (UK), the Writing on writing series presents short texts written by seasoned researchers, where they reflect on their own experience of writing. As you can read on this page, “[i]n these pieces, scholars from a variety of social science disciplines share their thoughts, feelings, pearls of wisdom, anecdotes, theoretical musings and much else likely to give insight and inspiration to those in the later stages of doctoral writing.” Over twenty-five distinguished scholars have up to now posted a contribution, and they are worth a visit.
Posts by Viviane
As captured by PHD Comics!
As I’ve mentioned before, I love libraries. But I also find the concept of the writing studio quite appealing. A rather small but functional space dedicated to writing, with a minimalist design and big windows… Here a a few examples of these beautiful spaces, so you (and I!) can dream…
Here are a few links I found interesting in the last few weeks. Do leave a comment if you have any thoughts on what these links present!
I found this article via Twitter, directing to the Writing For Research site (highly recommended, by the way!). In fact, I saw it circulate many times before I actually clicked on the link to find out what “paragraph re-planning” meant. The first times I saw this mentioned, I’ll admit that wasn’t that interested, given its slightly boring title. But when I noticed that this link was tweeted and retweeted again and again, I grew curious. Don’t fall in the same trap as I did, and do not wait to go read about this strategy, also called reverse outlining. I have not tried it yet, but I plan to do so soon. This approach sounds relevant to avoid what can happen when you work on long texts: that the front-end and back-end of the paper are not well aligned and drift apart, or that the focus of your paper gets lost.
You’ve heard about the famous Pomodoro technique, but are not quite sure what it is and how to use it? Follow this link, and all your questions will be answered! I’ve tried this approach, which is built on blocks of 20, 25 or 30 minutes of focused work, and it has its merits. I’ve found particularly useful when I felt stuck with a text, as a way to get going. Read more
Detail of a painting by Nina Sten-Knudsen (2001), at the CBS library – seen when I visited it in January 2014.
Helen Sword is the author of a book on academic writing, Stylish Academic Writing (Harvard Press, 2012), and she recently gave a talk on this topic. She starts from an observation that many of us share: academic writing is rarely stylish – and by stylish, she not only means elegant, but also engaging and effective. In fact, she describes writing – especially research journal writing – as “wooden and dry” (at best) or “spongy and soggy”. In her talk, based on research she has conducted, she describes what stylish writers do.
If her conclusions may come as no surprise to anyone who has read on writing, it’s always good to be reminded of them. For example, stylish academic writers are deeply concerned with communicating complex ideas in a clear way, they find pleasure in crafting their text, and they display creativity in their work. It’s also interesting to hear her on the reasons why so much of academic writing is bad (let’s not be afraid of the word!). Helen Sword suggests that many academics feel that they need to impress other academics with their writing… and that they are ruled by conventions and fear. Instead, she invites us to strive for elegant and personal writing that serves to illuminate our topics of inquiry and to push the boundaries of knowledge. So here’s her talk:
Information on her book can be found here: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674064485
The Canadian writer Alice Munro recently won the Nobel prize for literature. She gave an interview with the Paris Review in 1994 where she talked about her stories, her characters and how she writes. Despite the differences in the kind of texts we craft, it’s always interesting to learn about how other writers work!
You can read the full interview here: http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1791/the-art-of-fiction-no-137-alice-munro
I found this image some time ago, and unfortunately, I don’t remember where I came across it… and I don’t know to whom I should be giving credit. If you do know its author, please let us know in the comments section – he or she should be congratulated for having captured so perfectly how some days of writing really look like…
I’ve recently discovered something in Twitter: people use the social media not only to share links to interesting stuff, to discuss with other people or to comment on anything and everything: they also use it to talk about academic writing. A growing number of people are adding the hashtag #acwri to their tweets when they are talking about academic writing.
Based on my at home and non scientific inquiry into the use of this hashtag, I’ve discovered that mainly four kind of tweets use it: Read more