Blog posts are the only things I know how to write, but even that is questionable. It depends who you ask.
So whenever I have to write for academia, you can imagine the ensuing panic. And if you can’t, I’ll try to describe it.
Never mind, I can’t.
Safe to say I’m no expert when it comes to writing research papers or literary essays. But somehow I’ve gotten by.
How? I have no idea.
Do I have any business giving advice on writing? Nope. Will that stop me? Never.
Follow instructions. Follow rules. Follow whatever your professor says.
I hate following with a passion. But I’ll do whatever it takes to pass. Academic writing will never be as kind to you as creative writing is.
If you’re ever unsure about a fact, double check.
When you’re unsure of the meaning of a word, look it up. It’s always better to err on the side of caution. Always.
When in doubt, cut it out.
Try to delete anything you don’t need. It’s hard to detect sometimes, especially if you’re editing your own writing. But you’ll thank yourself later. Besides, everyone is better off without unnecessary adverbs. Seriously, your lovely teacher will totally understand that your really amazingly awesome point is very important.
Know your weaknesses.
Also, try to learn the words you fall back on as a crutch. You know what words I’m talking about. In elementary, my teachers pointed out my love for the word “then.” Then this happened. Then I did that. Then you get the idea. Now for some reason, I have a mildly unhealthy attraction to the word “that”. It’s more obvious in my essay writing when I’m not careful. Using the same words again and again becomes redundant. If you use them too much, the word loses power. After all, not every sentence needs to begin with “then” followed by “that.”
Even if you follow nothing else I’ve said, hopefully you’re able to do this:
Write about something you care about, something you’re passionate for.
It doesn’t have to be a topic you know like the back of your hand either. That’s why research exists. I realize students don’t always get a say in the matter. Still, finding an interesting subject that makes you want to write is half the battle.