How long can it take to write a paragraph?

Posted in Research on May 7th, 2017 by steve

“Answer: in my case recently about three days, or — more accurately — about three days of repeatedly getting a few lines down on the screen, then either deleting them or transferring them to a separate document rather sweetly entitled ‘bits and pieces’ and starting all over again. Writing is a rum trade …” (more)

[A Don’s Life, 6 May]


Cursive Is an Endangered Species

Posted in Research, Teaching on June 28th, 2014 by steve

“Over the past decade or so, something big has been happening in public schools throughout the United States: Instruction in cursive writing has all but disappeared, cut from curricula as schools bring more technology (and keyboarding) into the classroom …” (more)

[Valerie Hotchkiss, Chronicle of Higher Education, 27 June]


Writing your way through the Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on June 14th, 2014 by steve

“Leaving Cert exam diarist Sean O’Callaghan asked plaintively this week, ‘Is it really reasonable to expect the tech generation to write for five or six hours at a time?’ Of course it isn’t …” (more)

[Breda O’Brien, Irish Times, 14 June]

Tags: , , ,

Why Is Academic Writing So Academic?

Posted in Research on February 21st, 2014 by steve

“… People seemed to like the essay, but they were also uneasy about it. ‘I don’t think you’ll be able to publish this in an academic journal’, someone said. He thought it was more like something you’d read in a magazine. Was that a compliment, a dismissal, or both? …” (more)

[Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, 21 February]


Can anyone still write?

Posted in Life on February 11th, 2014 by steve

“A little while ago I received a letter from a manager in a large multinational company. He enclosed an extract from a report which had been written for him by one of his staff, whom he supposed – wrongly as it happens – to have been one of my students a few years ago …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 10 February]

Tags: ,

Should authors strive to have a consistent and recognisable style of writing?

Posted in Research on January 23rd, 2014 by steve

“Just as a person’s handwriting is usually recognisable, is it possible that there are similar consistencies in the ways that academics write? Certainly some well-known (non-academic) authors do write in a consistent style …” (more)

[James Hartley, Impact of Social Sciences, 23 January]


Emerging Writer: Tips from the experts

Posted in Research on March 15th, 2013 by steve

“As part of Science Calling’s Emerging Writer series, I asked top editors, writers and bloggers for one tip they would give to new writers. Here’s what they said …” (more)

[Maria Delaney, Science Calling!, 15 March]


Understanding incoherence: why it is legitimately hard to accomplish clarity in academic writing

Posted in Research on February 28th, 2013 by steve

“While it may be true that academics are sometimes prone to dense, jargon-laden prose, this is not for lack of trying, but rather part and parcel of the complexity of conveying both clarity and accuracy of sophisticated ideas …” (more)

[Rachael Cayley, Impact of Social Sciences, 28 February]

Tags: ,

Curse of cursive handwriting

Posted in Teaching on February 23rd, 2013 by steve

“… We tend to forget, unless we have small children, that learning to write isn’t easy. It would make sense, then, to keep it as simple as possible. If we are going to teach our children two different ways of writing in their early years, you’d think we’d have a very good reason for doing so. I suspect that most primary school teachers could not adduce one. It’s not just about writing, but reading too …” (more)

[Philip Ball, Prospect, 20 February]

Tags: ,

Why is Academic Writing So Bad?

Posted in Research on February 18th, 2013 by steve

“Over at the new, independent Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan has been hosting an interesting thread on why academic writing is frequently abysmal. As someone who tries hard to make even my academic writing clear and accessible and who tries to instill that value in my students, I’ve followed the thread with interest …” (more)

[Stephen M Walt, Foreign Policy, 15 February]


Dr Jekyll writes – binge writing as a pathological academic condition

Posted in Research on January 21st, 2013 by steve

“A confession. I like a good writing binge. I sometimes find it’s the only way to get something done. I have to immerse myself completely in a topic and its associated readings in order to make sense of it. Now I don’t do this very often …” (more)

[Pat Thomson, Impact of Social Sciences, 21 January]


How many words can you write in a day?

Posted in Research on August 9th, 2012 by steve

“I am being – so far as the outside world is concerned – a very dull girl. That is to say I am blissfully happy, hidden away, writing. I get up in the morning, do the emails and stuff, then go to my (newly tidied) study …” (more)

[Mary Beard, A Don’s Life, 9 August]


When Writing an Article Seems Easy

Posted in Research on May 26th, 2012 by steve

“First, let me preface everything with a caveat that writing, as a rule, is not easy. Writing is work. It’s not some fun-time vacation-land in which the words just come forth like magic in a perfect and awesome state. Not so. Not ever …” (more)

[Reassigned Time 2.0, 25 May]


My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Dissertation

Posted in Research on April 14th, 2012 by steve

“I am the proud owner of a nearly finished first draft of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad dissertation. When I started writing, I realized that I couldn’t aim for perfection because perfection would paralyze me …” (more)

[Rachel Herrmann, Chronicle of Higher Education, 8 April]


History and Writers

Posted in Life on November 7th, 2011 by steve

“Occasionally I am asked questions relating to what people ‘should’ study at college, especially if they want to be a writer. (Sometimes it comes in the form of ‘do I have to study English?’) Well. I have discussed English degrees here previously …” (more)

[Claire Hennessy, 7 November]

Tags: , ,

The writing is the hardest part

Posted in Life, Teaching on August 30th, 2011 by steve

“So here I am again, surrounded by notes and papers and books littered with colorful sticky tabs.  I have more than enough material and yet I find myself making a list of other things I should look up …” (more)

[Juliana Adelman, Pue’s Occurrences, 29 August]


Dedicated centre to enhance student writing skills at UL

Posted in Teaching on July 7th, 2011 by steve

“In the era of the text, email and twitter, the University of Limerick is working to ensure that students develop their writing skills …” (more)

[Jimmy Woulfe, Irish Examiner, 7 July]

Tags: ,

Better Writing

Posted in Teaching on January 3rd, 2011 by steve

“My students can tell anyone that I have an obsession with good writing. Most of my students could benefit from devoting more attention to the quality of their writing. The spell check programme that is built into Word and other similar programmes is a help, although sometimes things slip by …” (more)

[William A Schabas, PhD studies in human rights, 3 January]


Do writers need paper?

Posted in Life on October 23rd, 2010 by steve

“As the sales of e-books finally start to soar, what effect will this digital revolution have on publishers, readers and writers? Will the novel as we know it survive? …” (more)

[Tom Chatfield, Prospect, 20 October]


We Drink and Write for Some of the Same Reasons

Posted in Life on August 6th, 2010 by steve

“There are probably many reasons why writers tend to drink. Here are some possibilities: both encourage subversiveness; both are an alternative from dealing with the world on its own terms; both let you temporarily trust your voice with less judgment. They also grant some sense of control over the world or an ego boost – making your perspective seem correct and central …” (more)

[Ilana Simons, The Literary Mind, 4 August]

Tags: ,