Developing – Drafting – Revising – Finishing
Remember: you will improve the more you do it. Don’t be dismayed if the first time feels like a ‘kid’s drawing.’ The most important is to share your work and start conversation with your mentors around your work. Don’t let perfectionism hold you back. (Perfection is not possible, and is also rooted in fear and pride. )
Drafting: Use outlines. Headings. Subheadings.
Revising: Use hard copy to revise – and attempt to read backward from right to left to help you catch mistakes. Remember – your writing does not have to be perfect. Beware of Perfectionism, Procrastination, paralysis. Don’t be afraid to let garbage get out on your writing. JUST WRITE. Get your words to flow by writing. You can revise later.
Writing is rewriting.
Don’t self edit when you are writing. Editing comes later.
Grad writing is mechanically correct, spelling correct, grammar correct, proper formatting, etc. Remember that the formatting, the details of excellence in your writing transfers over to excellence in your life.
In grad writing – goal should be to draw others into your argument. You write in your voice, incorporate your ideas into your work while also engaging other sources that you find to help you form your ideas.
You need to engage deeply with the texts you read and are writing about, and offer your own ideas, criticism, points of view etc to the conversation. You must also explain why you think the way you do about the text. Not just simple yes/no answers.
The more you research and read, the easier your writing will be. Consider 1/3 for research, 1/3 for reading and 1/3 for writing.
Look to bibliographies of your sources to help you find additional resources if you are having trouble finding sources.
Keep a database of quotes that you can easily access.
Research hack = in your outline and findings, use symbols like !@#$%^&*() to label (use left margin) your outline headings, and then apply the corresponding symbol to your findings according to how they would fit best into in the outline.
Key Take Always:
- The importance of getting your ideas flowing by writing. To not attempt perfection, but to share your work as quickly as you can while doing your best to follow proper writing structure of your papers. If I knew how to write excellent academic papers, I would not need to be learning how to. Excellence will come over time.
- Graduate level writing will be easier if I delve deeply into research and reading before attempting to write. (Vs. undergrad writing which is often how fast can I get my paper done.)