While deep in the dissertation process, it can be very helpful to have “friendly” books nearby that help ignite awareness of “writer within.” While some dissertation writers feel they need to quarantine themselves from any other lived experience, the reality is that reading for pleasure can profoundly mitigate the oppressive rigor by offering a respite […]
Perhaps one of the most challenging and time consuming stages of my writing process is finding out what I want to write. Finding an idea—a good idea is essential.
I have often tormented myself sitting down across from a blank screen. However, this is not where my ideas generate. I discovered that […]
Once I know something, I find it hard to remember what it was like not to know it. As a result, I have a hard time communicating what I’ve learned. I use jargon – specialized words that experts in the field know. I don’t include examples and evidence that seem obvious to me. […]
I recently went through a box of ephemera from high school, including old essays. Each one I read started with a dictionary definition. According to Merriam-Webster, rigid (adj.) means inflexibly set in opinion, or strictly observed. I think an English teacher told me that one possible way to start an introduction is to define a […]
If writing is a public act, then, your purpose as a writer is to ignite reader’s interest and understanding of what you are writing about. The “Show, Don’t Tell” strategy emphasizes the reader’s experience of the material through the detail presented through action, concrete language, thoughts, sensory imagery, and […]
“You need a comma here. Also, what does this sentence mean?”
I know unclear comments are just a part of getting feedback, but I still do a double-take when I see them. What were you, my reader, thinking? Did you mean my sentence is unclear, and adding a comma will make it clear? Or did you […]
Like many, I multi-task throughout the day, juggling various responsibilities at the computer. Today, I’m juggling emails, finishing reports, editing texts, and writing this reflection. If I am not careful, a variety of documents stack upon each other on my screen, and multiple internet browsers lie open, tempting me to explore […]
“I’m not a writer. I don’t want to become a writer. I just want to finish this document. Could you wordsmith it for me?” I hear this, or something like it, all the time at work. If someone really has to put some words down, they follow up with, “I can’t write. I have writer’s […]
When I was a young writer, I saw the written word as carefully crafted and immaculate. Writing was the transfer of knowledge from the expert to me. To be a writer, I believed I had to stand behind the lectern of perfection and enlighten my audience with flawless ideas—but such writing always eluded me. I […]
Every good thing I have written has two introductions: one for the reader, and one for myself. The former is my objective, but I inevitably begin first drafts with the latter. These rough beginnings clarify my topic and jump-start my thinking. Consider this example from an old first draft:
“Vietnamese politics in the twentieth century were […]
Recently I came across an article by Stephen Pressfield that reminded me my readers are “donating [their] time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities.” I owe it to them to give something valuable, whether that be a well-told story, important information, or a new way of thinking about an old idea.
But giving […]