The blank page can be inviting or intimidating. What will we write about, for whom, to achieve what purpose? Where do we start?
For most academic writers, the work begins long before we start tapping on the keyboard or taking up the pen. We must first read literature, dissect theories, conduct research, and try to create meaning from what we learn.
While we may have a clear idea about the content, the focus and style of our writing vary depending on the readers we hope to reach. Will this target audience understand foundational principles and terminology, or do we need to explain the basics? Will they read a full-length article, or would they prefer to see a shorter one that is illustrated with diagrams or photographs? Do they want an in-depth discussion of the data collection and analysis, or stories that convey personal perspectives? Should we delve into scholarly intricacies or translate our findings into practical how-to steps? What purpose do we hope to achieve, what impact do we hope our work will have? Do we hope our work is scholarly, instructional, informative, or the basis for policy changes or new professional practices?
The answers to these questions will shape the form, length, and approach we take to filling in those blank pages. Here is how I’ll answer them for my own #AcWriMo project:
Thinking about your Academic Writing Month project, how do you answer these key questions? Use the attached template (Your project) to share the direction you plan to take, and post to #AcWriMo or attach here.
Let’s discuss our projects! Join Methodspace fans and the Textbook and Academic Authors Association to discuss our projects in a Tweetchat on November 3! No registration needed, just log in at 11 am ET (or your time zone) and look for #acwrichat.