Earlier this month, Rachel Toor, of The Chronicle of Higher Learning‘s bloggers, wrote two posts about writing that were interesting to me. I have been busy writing since I began my post-doc this month so process and style of writing have been at the forefront of my mind.
The first post, “My Little Bag of Writing Tricks,” Toor discusses her strategies for making her writing clear, which she finds challenging, especially when a lot of academic writing is not.
On the simplest level, we’re told not to be vague, to write with strong nouns an verbs. But it can be hard to remember what vivid looks likes. When you begin reading academic prose, it’s like going into the monkey house at the zoo. At first you’re overwhelmed by the noise and stink. Then you get so used to it you no longer notice.
She then gives some really helpful strategies for making your writing less passive and ways of seeing your work differently to help in the revision process (like changing the fonts).
The second post, “The Problem Is: You Write Too Well,” discusses how some Ph.D. students are told that they write too well and how clarity can bee seen as a failing to some in academia.