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Between the paragraph and the word is the ‘line edit’

There is another intermediate stage of editing, which is typically called ‘line edits’ in creative writing. This is the edit that is all about style and grace, about flow, about clarity and voice. In other words, this the edit that is absolutely not essential and many academic writers don’t bother with it. It’s a ‘nice to have’, a cherry on the cake, which is why I haven’t written about it before.

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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

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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Can theory be healing?

I can easily see how theory that is wrapped up in liberation, that sees and tries to help people in pain, can be understood as ‘healing’. I can see how philosophy that emerges out of the lived experiences of marginalised groups, allowing them to be seen and heard and valued, would be ‘healing’. But what about other kinds of theory?

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Can ladies do Deep Work?

I recently re-read Cal Newport’s Deep Work in preparation for my new book on writing and wellbeing. And soon enough I started to notice that the people he uses as exemplars of doing deep work were … all pretty similar. By my reading, there are only two women in the book who are described as doing deep thinking. And yet, perhaps, ladies* would still like to do deep work.

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What would it mean to make your writing sacred?

I don’t know that I think you should make your writing sacred. But I do think that you could and you might like to. In any case, this thought-experiment about ‘what would it mean to make your writing sacred’ may help you to think through what you do think about your writing, how you define its meaning and place in your life, and what habits and environments you put around it to help you get that thesis written.

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Little writing luxuries

I am a massive fan of writing luxuries. Somehow the beautiful pencil or the diffuser scent or the ideal snack makes an outsized difference to how excited I am to sit at my keyboard. Maybe it’s a bourgeois trick, and maybe it’s self-care, and maybe it works for me and anything that works is worth exploring.

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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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