It will be no surprise to anyone that I hear a lot of writing advice—some good, some less helpful. But some of it is just literally untrue, and yet the myths are so pervasive that people believe they are terrible writers because they are not following that advice.
Writing has technical aspects, sure. You need skills, and training. And you need to be organised and disciplined about keeping up with deadlines and juggling projects. And writing has physical challenges, you have to sit and use your back and wrists and neck and eyes. But, you also bring your weird, inner, non-rational self to the desk when you write. The inner self that has views about what music you can listen to, or that you need to enact your writing rituals before typing a word. There are good reasons why you might like what you like, but a lot of it just is personal preference, and that is totally a great reason to take it seriously.
I hear a lot of conflicting advice on how to write sentences, and I bet you do too. Should you write short sentences, because they are easier to read? Should you write longer sentences because they sound more academic? Should you write a careful mix of sentences, because that creates good flow?
There is an important aspect of feedback that you may be ignoring… and that is accepting positive feedback.
A PhD is often inspired by a particular vision–either your own passion project or a passion project of a more senior researcher. When you pitched the thesis to funders and your faculty, the project was going to be a sweeping, world-changing, life-changing research idea that would proceed without any hitches. And then you have to deal with real life.
Just popping into the blog to say that Level Up your Essays, the new book with Inger and Shaun, is now out in the world.
In 2019-20 I was writing 3 books with other people (publication ranged from Nov 2019 to March 2021, but this does not reflect the writing or editing period of the books.) The books took between 9 months and 3 years to finish, and all of them overlapped in a great crash.