Monday, November 16, 2009

Writing and not writing.

While on the phone with a friend today, we got to talking about writing.  In order for me to feel more prepared to apply for PhD programs, I need to become a better writer.  I know I am a good writer, but I need to learn how to be a great scholarly writer, using theoretical frameworks, critical lenses, etc.  I mentioned this to my friend who said "I hate writing" and elaborated to state that she finds it intimidating.

People (myself included) often look at writing as an "all or nothing", have-to-get-it-right-on-the-first-try endeavor.  This is not how actual writers look at writing.  Papers, books, short stories, etc., go through many, many revisions before they are "done", and even when they are "done", there's always room for improvement.  Most writers belong to writing groups, where the members show each other drafts for feedback and constructive criticism.

If you feel this way about writing, I strongly encourage you to read these two books: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont, and Writing for Social Scientists by Howard Becker.  I read these two books in the academic writing class I took, and they were extremely helpful.  I probably need to read them again!

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