Writing

On Writing Academic Essays

Writing essays for academia is challenging to say the least.

I will never claim to know everything there is to know about anything. But I think confidence is key when it comes to academic work.

I often find myself faced with the problem of not knowing what my professor wants. At times, it’s tough to reconcile what they want with what I want.

The academic essay is a genre in and of itself. I’ve written my fair share of them. I have my own unique ways of tackling them. But let’s get back to basics.

To be completely honest, I write before I research. At minimum, I brainstorm before I go hunting for sources.

I feel like researching without a plan can be a wild goose chase. That and I don’t want to get sucked down a random rabbit hole.

I think my biggest issue is not being specific enough. Vague is my middle name after all.

Instead of making broad claims, I should give an example or provide evidence.

Word choice is instrumental as well. Certain words don’t convey as much meaning as others.

Sometimes my topic sentences suck. I ought to revisit them after I finish writing the paragraph. It’s important to revise.

Introductions are tricky. I try to review them once I finish writing the paper to make the beginning better.

A lot of people recommend writing the intro last, which makes sense. How are you going to introduce what your essay is about if you don’t even know what you’re thinking until you type everything out?

I tend to write a quasi-introduction to help me get started though.

Another tip that might work is to delete the first few sentences or even the whole introductory paragraph when necessary. In doing so, the hope is you get to the point right away rather than beating around the bush.

I enjoy writing conclusions the most. Of course, I avoid introducing new ideas, but I attempt to say something my introduction doesn’t say. If the paper calls for it, I may ask a question or offer a solution.

I get too carried away with the mechanical aspects of writing that I often overlook my ideas. That’s my Achilles heel.

Writing

Why People Hate Writing

  • Writing is hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t human.
  • Words don’t write themselves. Unfortunately.
  • They’re bad at it. Or they’re too good.
  • There’s more to writing than just writing. Writers don’t just write. They read. They research. They revise. You have to do more than just write if you want to write well.
  • Writing isn’t black and white. The creative process differs for everyone. What works for me might not work for you. Which is why you should never take someone else’s writing advice as gospel, even and especially my own.
  • It’s not for everyone. We aren’t all born to be writers. Imagine living in a world where everyone loved writing. That’s a terrifying but thrilling idea.
Editing

My Editing Process

I’ve edited essays until my eyes hurt, so I figured I’d break down my process to better understand how I operate. For those moments I don’t remember what to do when faced with a terrible first draft.

I tend to start from the beginning and work my way to the end. It seems the most logical to me.

I’m not sure where I’d even begin if I didn’t start with the first sentence. That being said, reading backwards is a good strategy to catch spelling mistakes.

When I’m on the computer, I make content changes. This involves cutting, rewriting, as well as moving ideas around. It’s just easier to copy and paste on a computer than on a phone.

I make edits to the content first before I get to the mechanics or the smaller but still significant details like grammar. Once I’m happy with the placement of each sentence, I move on to making everything sound better.

I almost always take a break to get away from my slightly-improved-but-still-needs-plenty-of-improvement essays. I think about anything else in the world not related to editing.

I come back with a fresher pair of eyes and a re-energized mind.

Then I do technical edits on my phone. It’s convenient because I bring my device with me everywhere I go, so I can access my essays all the time.

I play with words until I find the perfect one. Two seconds later, I resign myself to the fact that perfection is impossible. Again, I work in a chronological fashion.

I know I’m done when I try to change something but end up liking the original better. I came up with a new title once, but I ultimately went with the old one.

Editing is a time-consuming process. There aren’t any corners you can cut. Just do your best. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself when all is said and done.

Creative Writing

The Door Revised

Because every so often I go back and improve what I’ve written. It isn’t perfect yet, but I hope the character development is getting there. The original can be found here.

***

The girl paced back and forth in front of the door. She had been told it was open.

She wiped her sweaty palms on the nicest dress she owned. More blood rushed to the apples of her cheeks.

Opening this door would knock down an endless row of dominos. The other possibility, leaving the door unopened, seemed like the more favourable option. However, this time, she had something to prove.

At the thought of walking away, her stomach did back flips. That’s how she knew her decision was already set in stone.

Although the young girl knew what stood beyond this door, she did not know the full details. The image she conjured in her mind was a vague outline of a face with no features. Not knowing hurt more, she realized, than being lied to.

An uneventful half hour of contemplation passed.

Her internal organs felt like they were clawing their way upwards. She realized she couldn’t delay her wait any longer.

Every so often, someone would tell her to expect the best.

But with one shaky hand on the metal door and the other on the knob, she prepared for the worst.

Writing

To Post Or Not To Post

I’m not sure if I want to publish my Writing 101 stuff or not.

Granted it won’t be any good.

Then again, the feedback would help me improve.

I’ll leave the to-post-or-not-to-post decision to my mood. So if future me wants to post, I shall. If I don’t feel like sharing on that particular day, I’ll keep what I’ve written to myself. Or until I fix, revise, and edit the thing to perfection.

Are you participating in Writing 101? Camp NaNoWriMo? Both?

Obviously I wish you the best of luck with your writing regardless.

Blogging

8 Commandments For Running A Blog

  1. Thou shalt learn to blog.
  2. Thou shalt blog well.
  3. Thou shalt revise all the time.
  4. Thou shalt respect themselves.
  5. Thou shalt respect others.
  6. Thou shalt read widely.
  7. Thou shalt read frequently.
  8. Thou shalt write as often as possible.
Personal Reflection · Writing

A Life Decision

I have come to the decision that I want to spend the rest of my life reading, writing, blogging, editing, revising, etc. I don’t want to just pursue writing as a hobby or for fun. I’m serious about it. So serious in fact that I want to study writing and English in post-secondary. Serious enough to go after a career in this industry.

You think I’m crazy, right? Crazy enough to follow my dreams, to listen to my heart, to do something I love?

Then yes, I am crazy.

Writing

Things Non-Writers Should Never Call A Writer

Stupid

Unless the meaning of stupid has changed in the last, oh I don’t know, two seconds. Otherwise, someone might need to invest in a dictionary.

Conceited

Writers are the least arrogant, condescending, narcissistic people in the entire world. Scratch that, make it the whole solar system.

Lazy

I’d like to see others wake up at 5 in the morning to write for an hour or two. How about staying up past midnight revising a chapter or ten?