Writing workshops & advice

I periodically put up blog posts about writing, some with writing exercises that I’ve used in classes and others with just reflections.

The most recent writing workshops I’ve done are hardly writing advice at all – they’re just me saying over and over again that it is possible for writing to be not awful and that you can find a way to do writing without resorting to loops of shaming or punishing yourself. If this sounds like your jam, here is one on deciding whether to write and another on figuring out when and how you might do that.

There are some not great recordings of two workshops also up on youtube, which I’m leaving up because some people have told me that they are useful although they are old and weird – one on doing a rough first draft of the statement of purpose for grad student grant applications and another on planning to finish your dissertation in the next year.

I’ve been doing a “strategies for suffering-free academic writing” workshop since 2008 for thesis-writing undergraduates and grad students; I’ve offered it at various universities since. Every year there are folks who can’t attend and ask for notes to be made available. Here are the current Powerpoint Slides. Somewhat embarrassingly for me, but perhaps usefully for you, there is also a video recording of the one I offered at Carleton in 2014. The first section is on taking an attitude toward your writing and resisting imposter syndrome, the second is on time and guilt management strategy and “units,” the best writing tool I know, and the third does a quick run-through some specific tactics for working with writing, including a memo plan for guiding supervisors toward useful feedback. The video tracks a slightly older version of the powerpoint slides. The workshop aims to synthesize a number of approaches to writing that hold the understanding that academic writing may always be somewhat painful, but it does not have to produce so much suffering.