Learning How to Write (I Probably Should Have Done That a While Ago!)

I have been a little quiet on here for the last couple of days as I’ve been attending a Summer School on writing skills for grads.

I’ve always assumed that I am a pretty okay or even a good writer as I’ve been paid to do it for various mediums over the last ten-ish years.  But I do find academic writing tricky.  I think in part its because I presume that there is an authoritative, neutral academic ‘voice’ to emulate.  Doing this course has shown me some of the fallacies of that voice.  Its unclear, its unnecessarily mystifying, it might even be a bit elitist (“What, you dont know what I mean by ‘detraditionalization’! You ignoramus! Please do get out…”).  I am now aiming to bring some clarity, and some elegance (!) to my academic writing… wish me luck!

Which brings me to the other aspect that this course has helped me with (so far, two days still to go).  We’ve been discussing some of our problems with just sitting down and writing the bloody thesis.  There seems to be a common thread of anxiety running through the participants, whether they are first years or fourth.  A PhD is a BIG thing to do.  But writing it doesnt have to be if we tackle a little at a time, or warm ourselves up by writing small chunks of texts regularly.  That’s what I am hoping to do with this blog: practising writing regularly as well as drawing out ideas and themes from my research.

Oh, and the course is being held in this awesome location I’ve never been to before.  They do maths here:

Image

6 comments

  1. Great location! You are absolutely right, academic prose needn’t be obtuse and writing is the best way to learn writing. Good luck!

  2. Wait? The picture was taken in Cambridge? Where on earth is that?

  3. Stupid wordpress (read: stupid me) keeps posting these things too early. What I meant to ask was not “where is Cambridge?” but “where in Cambridge was this picture taken?”. Also your topic (and previous work) sound amazing.

    1. Hi there!

      This is the centre for Mathematical Studies, just off Grange Road, past Robinson (heading South to North). Its an awesome building, even if some of the automated features like blinds are a little distracting! Thanks for liking my post, and my topic. Its something that I really want to do justice to, there’s so much in it that needs exploring! Beth

      1. Thanks, I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in CB (I wish there was a decent connection).

      2. It is really ridiculous that there isn’t! B

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