Friday, October 1, 2010

Writing Advice

These tips from the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences deserve to be heeded by undergraduates as well. Indeed, they are useful to anyone who needs or wants to write.

From the first installment: "Writing everyday contributes to continuity of your thinking and generating the ideas you need to write. Your mind will function differently when you write every day. We all think about our writing every day. But the cognitive processes involved in writing are different from those involved in thinking. Your project moves forward when you write…even if you write a gosh-awful first draft. (The topic of our third posting is the necessity of writing a crappy first draft.)"[1]

Highly recommended!

No further comment!

1. See also The Rule of 200.

3 comments:

rik said...

Good advice indeed, but it writing is the last stage of a long process we call 'research'. On the interconnections between searching, ordering, note taking, mind mapping and finally writing, there is much less advice. In your blog I find many interesting suggestions for dealing with one of the 'subprocesses' but I have not yet found a discussion of the research/writing process as a whole. Coming from index cards, Zettelkasten, Zotero I finally converted to CT, but it still has no central place in my research projects. Maybe you have a suggestion? If not, I would gladly start a discussion on this topic.

Ridjou

MK said...

I actually believe that there is (or should be) no radical demarcation between the two processes of "research" and "writing." In fact, one of the most pervasive traits of this blog is the insistence that you need to start writing as soon as you start your research. Research benefits just as much by writing as writing benefits by research. See especially the entries on Luhmann and Mills.
MK

rik said...

I agree with you that there is no sharp distinction between research and writing. But for my practice Zotero is a more efficient search and retrieval instrument than CT. But CT is much better for getting some order in my thoughts. And even then, I miss the index cards for shuffling (as Webb wrote). Here is an interesting connection with Luhmann: the secret of the effectivity of his Zettelkasten may lie in the physical contact with paper and in the shuffling which gives us a truly 'synoptic' view of the information.

R