Why Scholars Need a Clue About Good Writing: Part IV

For many people, writing is a challenge. Sometimes good writing can flow from your fingertips. Sometimes. But there are few writers who can write successfully in the stream-of-consciousness style. And academic writing has its own challenges. As I struggled through the doldrums of writing my dissertation, I made a promise: tell the reader a story. That’s it. Tell a good story and writing can be fun. How do you get out of your own head to think like a reader? Is there a secret to good writing? How do you write for other people?

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Practicing My Craft Redux

This month, I’m celebrating three years since I earned my PhD in public policy!!! YEEHAW!!! Yep, it still gives me a thrill to think about planting my butt in the chair, thinking up an idea, and making it my reality. It was a struggle from day one: My mother passed away the first week of classes. I was torn between taking a leaving the program or hanging on to start my journey.

My colleagues and instructors encouraged me to stay. Dr. Patti had her struggles as well. Classes were easy. I enjoyed exploring new ideas, the challenges of learning online, and the opportunity to write about my topics of interest. The final stage and the biggest challenge: Writing my dissertation. Then there is life after my PhD. What’s next? Continue reading “Practicing My Craft Redux”

Writing Well: Three Signs You’re on the Right Track

If you’re like most people, writing does not come easy. One thing I know about writing is that revisions are my best friend. But that’s only one part of the problem of writing. The other part is to engage the reader. Whatever form of writing you’re doing, you need to grab your audience quickly. You want them to care about your topic. Think about it: Why should the reader spend time reading this? What’s my argument? So what? Who Cares?

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80/20, Love, Hate: A Guide for Dissertation Success

This week’s blog is about advice from a seasoned academic advisor (SAA). I wondered how that advice compared to advice Dr. Patti and I share on this blog. While the dissertation process (SAA calls it dissertating) feels like a mystery, it isn’t. When you start the process or when you’re deep in the bowels of it, you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know what questions to ask, what ideas are important, what a good research project looks like. And that’s the real mystery: When do you know what you know? When does the light goes on and your thinking starts to flow? When do you feel like you’ve got this?

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Why Scholars Need a Clue About Good Writing: Part I

Everyone loves a good story: a good story means good writing. Since Dr. Patti and I completed my doctoral journey, we’ve developed a new appreciation for writing. We earned our writing chops, but writing is an evolving skill.

For example, I push myself to try different forms of writing: blogging, academic, copy writing, drafting proposals for conferences and fellowships, and emails. But another form of writing that I see too often is bad writing. Let’s talk about why scholars need a clue about good writing.

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How Being Bad is a Good Thing

In reality, we’re all bad at something, probably many things. For example, I’m bad at cooking, but I discovered how to bake a cheesecake from scratch. When I started my doctoral journey, I had no idea that writing could be so complicated.  I wasn’t a bad writer, but I had bad writing habits. And writing is at the heart of your dissertation program. What can you learn from being bad at something?

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10 Ways to Leverage Your Academic Writing

Writing is a skill we need to practice. As a grad student or doctoral candidate, writing is at the heart of your plan. If you don’t write you won’t finish your program. I try to practice writing daily in my journal, and weekly for my blogs.

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