Before ending this series, I want to share my final notes in nutshells.
Audience as an Element to Shape Your Paper
If you were a PhD student working on optics, you wouldn’t explain the light refraction to your friend in the same way you explain it to your professor. In a similar manner, you have to define your audience so that you can determine the content, level of details, wording and the theoretical background. Thus, the first things to bare in mind before writing should be the medium that you want to share this paper on and the audience who is going to read it.
Instead of Shuttling, Be Consolidative
Paragraphs of a text work like the organs of an animal. A paragraph should have a distinct meaning but also it must collaborate with the rest of the text. Note that heart doesn’t do the job of the stomach, thus, a paragraph should mind its business. Yet, sometimes you need to mention something which is not essential for that paragraph. In these cases, instead of shuttling between what is essential and what is subsidiary, you should first mention your focus point and leave the subsidiary to the end. Let’s suppose A represents the focus points and B represents the additional point. Instead of using ABA ordering, try to use AAB.
Instead of Word Limits, Use Pomodoro
One of the common mistakes when writing a long piece of paper is that most of the time people put a minimum word or paragraph limit for each day. However, this is not the healthiest way. Some paragraphs are more difficult and sometimes you need to read rather than writing. Instead of word, paragraph and chapter goals, you can set a minimum pomodoro target. Pomodoro is a time scheduling method. It divides an hour into two pieces of pomodoro. You study for 25min and rest for 5min. Two pieces of pomodoro means that you studied for 50min and rested for 10min. To have pomodoro targets divides your works balanced into days.
Mind the Virtuous Procrastination
It creates a pain in the neck to hold off what is inevitable. So, it is significant to have a discipline for writing each and every day, even if it is only a word. All students encounter with the secret and bewitching world of procrastination at some point. Some of them develops strategies against this trap. Yet, everyone should mind the reality of the virtuous procrastinations: “I should clean my room”, “It’s an appropriate time to start this book”, “Let’s call my friend whom I haven’t seen for months”, etc. This kind of procrastination is more dangerous as it prevents feeling of guilt.
Set Free Your Creative Ego
I have two different egos when I’m writing: the creator Said, and the editor Said. While the first one rushes around he is restrained and organized by the second one. They work well together. However, sometimes I feel stuck and I let the editor Said to go on a vacation. During his vacation, creator Said is allowed to write anything he wants. I may end up writing gibberish and funny sentences but most of the time I find the ore of an idea after I skim through what I write casually. I highly recommend you try to set free your creative ego.
Don’t Hesitate to Mimic What You Consider Successful
As a final note, it is advised to mimic the tone and the methodology of good writings. Of course, anyone can create his/her own style, I’m not recommending you write like a different person. This is just a strategy to start writing. In your own journey, you will find your own way. But first, read a lot, mimic if you need, try to improve your writing and write a lot.
This was translated into English, in Jul 2018.
Source: Eric Hayot, the Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities.
Featured Image: Liralen Li