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Academic Coaching & Writing

I. Becoming an Academic Writer

Jan 24, 2011 by Caroline Eisner

Thanks for becoming a reader of this blog. In this series on good academic writing, the two most important ideas of this blog series are these: (1) you need to start with your own good ideas and place them at the center of all of your writing and (2) all good writing comes from a recursive process of writing, drafting, researching, citing, re-writing, re-drafting, proofing, editing, re-writing, etc. We are going to start with good ideas and end with how the writing process is recursive. You move back and forth until the day you are forced, or decide, to turn it in to your readers.
Each week, I will provide details about the following points. Stay tuned.

  • Start with good ideas
  • Have a clear sense of Audience, Purpose, and Genre
  • Approach the “So What” question
  • Use a logical progression of ideas
  • Use sources judiciously
  • Use citations strategically and correctly
  • Write clearly and directly
  • Use a consistent tone and style and make sure your writing is mechanically competent
  • The writing process: From ideas to clear writing and back again

When I first became an academic writer, I made the mistake of starting with a topic (not an idea), and going to the library for hours in search of quotations on my topic, which was too broad anyway. Then I would go home with pages of quotations, poorly organized and cited, and try to string the quotations together into an idea, which wasn’t mine, it was just how the quotations fit together. My ideas were nowhere, because I was too busy depending on the quotations of others to do the speaking and idea making. This absolutely had to do with my lack of belief in my own ideas, intelligence, and creativity. Gradually, thankfully, I began to grow confident in my abilities and, at some point, I realized that I could write an entire paper without any outside sources. Only when I was finished with my ideas, did I go in search of backup or counter arguments. This is the way I propose that you put your ideas at the center.

As you read this blog, you are going to hear me say this over and over again: academic writing is about communicating your own ideas. A mistake novice writers often make is to piece together other people’s ideas.


  • Dolly McGregor says:

    May 30, 2016 at 1:04 am

    Reading this blog made me feel better. I felt good inside after reading it, gave me a feeling of hope. Thank you.

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