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People often ask me why I read across disciplines (I widely read fiction, non-fiction, works on anthropology, mathematics, sociology, geography, etc.). The thing is I read miscellaneous pieces of literature because they help me broaden my mind. They have also helped me understand how to write differently for different purposes and audiences.
The first piece of advice I received from my PhD advisor was “keep your audience in mind when writing.” So, I do. I write differently when I have to submit a research paper to Humanitarian Sciences or send an article to a psychology journal.
Of course, I cannot reassure you that all I know about academic writing is the result of my personal observations. I learned a lot from my dissertation advisor, the faculty members, and from the authors I read. So, in this post, I will be sharing some of the most useful academic writing tips I have accumulated while taking advantage of various experiences I have had so far in my life.
Here’s how I do it: every day (Saturday and Sundays included) I wake up around 5 am and dedicate 2 hours of my morning to writing. I make myself a cup of strong coffee and do what I love doing the most. Self-discipline has enabled me to make a huge progress. For instance, I’ve added 170 double-spaced pages to my new book, and written more than 200 pages in the last two months. I’d admit I’m quite productive, don’t you think?
Buy yourself the best writing tools.
My parents are both scientists, so I grew up in a house full of writing appliances, including a computer, a printer, and the internet. At home, I also have the best writing tools. I take them with me wherever I go. If I cannot take a laptop, I take a notebook and a pencil. Not so long ago, I bought myself a new comfortable chair because I know that I need every piece of furniture, software, and hardware create the right atmosphere for me.
Write the same you speak
One of my former teachers once advised me to read aloud everything I write. This piece of advice slightly offended me because I thought my writing was perfect. Now I understand that if a person writes as he or she would speak, the final text is much easier to read.
Ask other people to read your texts and give their feedback.
For me, this rule is the hardest to follow because after that, I always change my pieces beyond recognition. However, the result is always inspiring. This tip came from my PhD advisor and since then, it has been helping make my writing better.
Read much and across disciplines.
I can call myself lucky because my PhD is interdisciplinary. It obliges me to study literature in the fields of anthropology, sociology, and even engineering. While developing a theoretical framework and analytical methods for my thesis, I read tons of books and articles in these disciplines. I continue doing it even after finishing my PhD. I recognize it takes a lot of time, but personal development is the best investment.