Becoming a Productive Academic Writer

Categories: Academic Writing Month, Tools and Resources, Writing and Editing

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November is Academic Writing Month #AcWriMo at Methodspace! This post was part of the 2017 #AcWriMo series. The theme of week two was: Be Productive. 

“I don’t have enough time to write!” That is the complaint I hear most frequently from frustrated would-be writers. Most frequently writing is not our only responsibility, so we have to carve out time and space from competing demands of work, school, family and community. Is challenging as this may be, I’d argue becoming a productive writer is more complicated than simply learning time management.

Sometimes I have managed to set aside a stretch of time for writing, only to find that I can’t focus. I might be distracted, or I just can’t get into a writing flow. Nothing comes together, or seems to make sense. Doubts creep in about the worthiness of the whole project.

On other occasions, I find that I haven’t fully answered key questions about the content necessary to consider before I move forward. Am I clear about the purpose I am trying to achieve? Do I need to update my literature before I start writing? What voice will I use, what is my position as a writer, should I write in first, second, or third person? Will the reader know the terms I am using, or should I explain them?

Being productive

Having found time, focus, and clarity, I still need to attend to the mechanics of the writing process. Do I have the best tools for this academic writing project? Am I using a bibliographic manager that works with the right publication style (APA, MLS, etc.)? Do I have the best tool for creating figures or diagrams that have the levels of resolution needed for publication? Should I organize my research, literature, notes and drafts with OneNote, Scrivener, or?

These and other topics related to productivity will be the focus of this week of Academic Writing Month. Log in to find posts and resources, and join us for a Tweetchat to ask questions and share your strategies for being productive.

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