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Structural edits on paper

I just finished the first full draft of the Writing Well and Being Well book, and that means it’s time to go through the structural edits.
This blog post documents how I did it this time.

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Succeeding in a Research Higher Degree

Doing a Research Higher Degree (like a PhD) is hard, but lots of people have succeeded and you can too. It’s easier if you understand how it works, this blog gives you the insider view.

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Recent Blog Posts

Catch up on the latest blog posts

Structural edits on paper

I just finished the first full draft of the Writing Well and Being Well book, and that means it’s time to go through the structural edits.
This blog post documents how I did it this time.

Read more

Does deadline juice give you wings?

“Deadline juice” is a term I just made up when talking to a student the other day, but it’s pretty apt. It describes the eustress response to an upcoming deadline—a healthy (yes short term appropriate stress responses are healthy!) jolt of adrenaline when your energy is up, your focus is up, your speed is up.

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What is a ‘writing audit’ and when should you do one?

When I was part of the La Trobe RED team, and we were running our Accelerated Completion Programme for late-stage PhD candidates, we got people to do a thing we called a ‘writing audit’, where you counted up what was in all the sections of your PhD, and then worked out what was still missing. It could be scary, or a massive relief, but either way it gave you a sense of where you actually were.

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Non-linear structures for academic writing

You don’t have to use the traditional Aristotelian formula for structuring your research story—but it is the most common way to do it, so it’s what people will expect as a default. Doing something unexpected isn’t an issue, you’ll just have to be clear and upfront about what you are doing instead. Use your citations, your methods, key words, and your explanation of how you will structure your writing in the introduction to help the reader expect your non-linear path.

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Authorship and collectives

This post encourages us to think deeply about how authorship debates are part of broader questions of what authorship is for, who it is for, and who benefits from it. The examples in this post help us to see that there are established of ways of attributing authorship that can acknowledge these collectives, and perhaps encourage us to be innovative or accurate in our authorship practices.

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Who is your team? 

Once upon a time, academics had wives. It’s not that academics weren’t busy—they were—but they had a team. Now the solution to succeeding as an academic is to build a team.

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Tuning in, tuning out the writing voices in your head

Writing advice gets under people’s skin and into their guts and hearts. When I chat to a person whose self perception of their writing is a long way off the reality I see on the page, I often ask them ‘who told you your writing was like that?’ A school teacher, an undergraduate lecturer, a supervisor. Those comments stick, sometimes for decades.

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Front burner/back burner work

In other words, yes add to your word count and update your EndNote library. But also take time to mull things over or let things mature. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and. Do your front burner and your back burner work to sustainably, excellently, elegantly, enjoyably create writing that will wow your readers.

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What’s the best writing posture?

There is no one ideal posture that you should take and maintain for the full working day. Instead, the best posture is actually a series of different positions. At home, you already have a range of furniture and spaces available to you, so it’s easier to switch it up. Changing how you sit every so often, even if it’s just moving chairs every few hours, can make a huge different to your comfort and mobility. Move from the desk to the sofa and back again, or out to the balcony. Stand at the breakfast bar, or use that treadmill or stationary bike in the living room.

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Resources

Books

For more insider tips, techniques and insights, check out my books.

Level Up Your Essays

Level Up Your Essays is the essential guide to essay writing for university students. Written by the people who mark your essays, it will show you step-by-step how to write high-quality essays that will get you top marks.

Your PhD Survival Guide

The ‘Insider Guides to Success in Academia’ offers support and practical advice to doctoral students and early-career researchers. These neat pocket guides fill specific and significant gaps in current literature. 

How to Fix Your Academic Writing Trouble

This clear and accessible guide to decoding academic feedback will help you interpret what your lecturer or research supervisor is really trying to tell you about your writing – and show you how to fix it.

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