How to Write a Lot – part 1

Wow – its been way too long since I wrote something in this blog.  You’d think I didn’t do anything toward my PhD in that time but this could not be further from the truth.  I had one class this last semester, which was…how shall I say this…interesting (in the Chinese curse kind of way) and I wrote my Candidacy Paper.  That’s right.  Its not submitted yet, for a variety of reasons, but it will be in the next 5-7 days and I’ll cover that in a different post.  For this post, I’m going to talk about a book the Chris Hoadley, my advisor, recommended to us at a dolcelab meeting.

Silva, P.J . (2007). How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

I’m not going to be able to give you page numbers because I read this on the Kindle, but here are some quotes I highlighted from the book.

  • “Productive writers don’t have special gifts or special traits – they just spend more time writing and use this time more effectively”
  • “Instead of finding time to write, allot time to write”
  • “To begin, allot a mere 4 hours per week”
  • “Writing time is for writing, not for checking e-mail, reading the news, or browsing the latest issues of journals”
  • “The best kind of self-control is to avoid situations that require self-control”
  • “Your advisor, like most professors, probably struggles with writing and has a few stalled writing projects.  Wander into his or her office and say ‘I’ve been reading some books on how to be a better writer, and one of them suggested wandering into your office and asking if I could get involved in some writing projects.  If you have an manuscripts that need work or some data that need to be submitted, I’d like to help out.”.  There’s a realistic possibility that your advisor will sputter incoherently.  Faculty wish that graduate students took more initiative in research and writing, so your advisor will be pleased that you want to get involved”
  • “To solve the third problem, read those books and practice their suggestions, during your scheduled writing time.  It won’t be long before your sentences sound more like you and less like an anonymous, desiccated academic”
  • “Delete very, quite, basically, actually, virtually, extremely, remarkable, completely, at all, and so forth”

There are more, but my pomodoro is up for now so I guess I’ll have to post them in the next entry.


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One Response to How to Write a Lot – part 1

  1. Pingback: How to Write a Lot – part 2 | drajphd

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