Writing is the hardest thing ever!

Given that you will by now have received some feedback on your first entries, it is timely to address a few things…

Dealing with criticism 
Version 22
I hope I have written your feedback in a tone that you find encouraging. Nonetheless, it can be disheartening to see a page marked with comments, deletions, revisions, strikethroughs, question marks, etc.  Try to remember that the criticism is well-intentioned and meant to be constructive.  I too have to face up to criticism of my writing, which is a significant part of my job, so I know how it feels.  It stings even more because we write about subjects that we are passionate about and care deeply about.  However, if you think of it in those terms, then it is even more important that we get it right.

Writing is hard
Lisa Simpson: Writing is the hardest thing ever!

Lisa Simpson: Writing is the hardest thing ever!

Writing takes time and perseverance.
It is messy and confusing and non-linear.
Every writer gets anxious and frustrated.
This is normal.
If you do comment on each others’ blogs, remember to be constructive! (I know I don’t have to say this, but a friendly reminder is no harm…)

Advice on academic writing
Calvin and Hobbes: Academia, here I come!

Calvin and Hobbes: Academia, here I come!

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that more complicated language is better; you don’t want your reader to have to struggle through  over-embellished jargon.
Edit and revise to make your writing clear and concise.  Think about your sentence structure and phrasing. Practice! Read paragraphs aloud if it helps.
You will find some very good advice on academic writing online.  Rachel Cayley’s Explorations of Style blog, for example, underlines the importance of:

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