Writing Habits That Work

Over the path of this previous couple of weeks, I’ve been buried in writing. I gave a presentation on getting ready for literature critiques, and tomorrow, I’m co-website hosting a webinar drafting variety of statements. In addition to operating on my dissertation, I’ve also been running with graduate students on their programs for countrywide fellowships and educational jobs. Together, we’ve scaled a small mountain of studies and personal statements. It has been, in a word, pleasant.

Yes, admittedly, assisting human beings with their writing may be tough. Actually, doing the writing oneself is now and again surely tough. But talking about writing is most customarily a joy, especially whilst you get to paintings with clearly thoughtful and skillful writers. Fortunately for me, almost all the graduate college students that I work with fall into this class.


With all of this writing on my mind, I’ve been questioning loads of approximately powerful writing techniques for graduate students. Numerous books of writing advice can serve graduate students well (my favorites encompass Robert Boice’s Professors as Writers, Cal Newport’s Deep Work, Wendy Laura Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks, and Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft) and quite a few thoughts from other GradHackers (inclusive of this one, this one, and this one). These sources and others like them offer remarkable suggestions and techniques for dealing with huge writing duties. Often their suggestions seem to echo one another (e.G. Write every day), but in addition, they often diverge. Through the years, I’ve heard about various distinctive strategies that modify wildly (my favorite is a scholar who has a “writing mug” that, while filled with coffee, reputedly never fails to summon the writing muses).

In the midst of all of these competing strategies, recommendations, and coffee superstitions, I assume the satisfactory piece of writing a recommendation for grad students is absolute as a substitute honest: Find a strategy that works for you and persist with it as long as it keeps to work for you. I assume that we have a vision of the type of author that we aspire to be. I, for one, have always wanted to be someone who’s able to fill notebooks with neat, multicolored diagrams that glide seamlessly and beautifully into the text around them. And yet, irrespective of how many Moleskine or Leuchtturm notebooks I buy, my notes are nonetheless chaotic, and I’ve never managed to grow to be greater than a binge bullet journaler.

My dissertation continues to develop bit by bit, and I’ve been making a stunning quantity of development on other writing tasks simultaneously as running complete time. Yet by some means, despite this failing, I continually manipulate to provide writing. This has loads to do with experimenting with a wide style of strategies over the path of 5 years of graduate college and finding numerous that genuinely paintings for me. I’ve collectively pulled a few ideas for unique approaches to method the writing duties that this point inside the semester inevitably brings. Try experimenting with them and notice if any seem particularly productive:

Write for Time: This is my non-public favorite. The guidelines are easy. Set a timer (I like 50-minute double Pomodoros) and keep writing (and only writing) until the time runs out. No email, no “short asking for that e-book,” simply writing. Once you whole your writing aims for the day, you’re loose to stay your existence unencumbered by way of the lingering notion which you need to be writing. On the days when the words are flowing, you could get lots of words on the page in a given amount of time. On the days when the phrases come at a trickle, you may cease your struggling once the time is up; understanding which you’ve completed your component for the day and day after today will likely be better.

Write for Distance (i.E. Length): The concept right here is to set word matter desires for yourself for every day or week or section of the moon or whatever length of time works for you (days or perhaps weeks are probably excellent). Then write till you hit your quota. Three hundred-500 words in a consultation or day is a superb vicinity to start. However, it would help if you discovered something that works for you. They don’t must be amazing phrases; they want to be phrases that you may move again and revise later.

Write Your Way In: In the early degrees of writing, it’s frequently clean to locate yourself on the lookout for what it’s far that you really need to mention. This approach is set using writing as a device for questioning and honing your knowledge or develop an insight. The middle assignment here is to attend to a topic, concept, or concept and preserve writing about it until you return to a brand new perception or manner of information. This may be an idea of writing as looking and is regularly handiest at both the ideation level or in case you find yourself stuck with the specific idea.

Write Your Way Out: Sometimes, however, you locate yourself caught in the center of bankruptcy or an article, and also, you don’t know where to go. The concept right here is to jot down your way from in which you’re at to a logical conclusion without delay as viable. It’s the writing version of creating for the closest go-out, and it can be a superb strategy for stripping away tangents or extraneous detail and finding the straightest route out of anything mission you’re in. Don’t worry approximately the details – you can fill the ones in later – look for the most logical way to finish your mission so that you can go back to flesh it out as soon as you understand how it ends. Keep experimenting and reassess your writing techniques regularly. What’s working? What’s not? How do you want to alter to meet your dreams? Remember now not to allow ideal get inside the way of desirable and, similarly, not to let aspirational writing behavior get within the manner of efficient ones. c

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