18 December 2011

Transitions: Creative to Academic Writing

In my determination to establish my intellectual contributions to the field, and to not waste away the money spent and skills acquired doing a doctorate, I'm committed to publishing something at least once a year.

My initial steps in transitioning from creative to academic writing have involved making the process less love-hate-like. I've read lots of books and know lots of writers, so the process-part of the process, is nothing new. The mechanics of it are however.

For one, the writing-to-find-out-what-I-think (Cynthia Ozick), approach only goes so far. I tend to go off on tangents, if I don't think about what I want to say, as I'm writing it. I'm a writer-type, not a reader-type, as another writing-tips book suggested. I don't like to read over what I wrote, so the more deliberate my writing is the better.

I also need to just ditch the prose-orientation in the initial stages. I spend way too much time formulating sentences rather than ideas.

Some other things I've learned:

  •  I don't outline, but structure the paper via publication guidelines and section and heading types. 
  • Writing and thinking happen together, so I may spend an hour writing a paragraph, which seems to turn out to be pretty good on the first draft. 
  • I'm experimenting with writing an hour at least 5 days a week because with a full-time job, if I don't stay involved regularly, I lose the connection.  
  • I have an out-takes document, where I park stuff that I may want to use, but don't know yet where.
  • I may throw out something I spent a day on. Oh well.    
  • Make your claim, back it up with rationale and data, then say why you think what you think, then end it.  It's a formula. 
  • The creativity is in the content not the prose.