Professor, Natural Resource Sciences
Q: What advice do you have for students about developing their academic writing skills?
A: One key way to develop stronger Academic writing skills is to practice writing that is decidedly non-Academic. It is important to make sure writing is a fun process! I write a blog so that I can enjoy writing in a more casual manner and in a manner that allows creativity to blossom. This helps to become a quicker and less ‘constrained’ writer. Academic writing can be rigid, so if you allow yourself opportunity to write in more open fashion, it’s easier to buckle down and focus when it is time for more Academic writing. A second piece of advice is to “just start” writing. The biggest obstacle is sometimes getting the engine started. Once it’s rolling, you can start to pick up speed, and you will eventually get to where you need to be. You can always correct, edit, and rework your writing after the first draft is done. Do not fret over mistakes and getting everything perfect. I often write with a small program that pays no attention to spelling mistakes and never indicates grammar mistakes. This lets me focus on the message and the tone; I later take the writing into proper word processing software for careful editing.