Darin Barney

Professor, Art History and Communication Studies

Q: What advice do you have for students about developing their academic writing skills?

1. Take writing seriously and believe that it is worth your time.

2. Find others who do and believe the same. Make friends with them.

3. Respect the gift of time and attention your reader is about to give you.

4. Distinguish academic writing from other genres and sites of writing.  

5. Know that academic writing is a practice, and takes practice. It is work, not play.

6. Be patient with your mistakes in thinking, but intolerant of your mistakes in writing.

7. Learn what words mean, and what punctuation is for.

8. Read, for hours. Take note of the difference between good writing and bad writing.  

9. Make every word, and every sentence, matter.

10. Luxuriate in length, but do not abuse it.

Photo credit: Claudio Calligaris