Useful Writing Practices to Improve Your Skills

Writing Practices and Experiments to Make Your Creativity Flow

Being a student or academician, you have to conduct research papers all the time. The main question you probably ask yourself is: “Does it really work?” Your honest answer for yourself must be “no, it doesn’t.” However, if you are an idealist and passionate writer, you must be worried about this aspect. You want to create something valuable and share it with others. What is more, your writing helps you grow and improve your own knowledge, which is extremely important in the competitive academic world.

Developing writing habits is hard, and especially considering the fact that no solution fits everyone here. Some writers are more productive when they work in a calm and silent environment, moving at their own slow pace. The others are more productive when they have burning deadlines and thousands of projects. The only way to find an approach and method that suits you best is to try various options out. In this post, we will discuss various writing experiments that will help you to become a more productive and enthusiastic writer.

Join a writing group

Busy academicians have to balance numerous life activities. If you are a faculty member, you need to combine various duties, including tutoring, mentoring, and administration. When short deadlines become routine, there is a need to develop a new approach to writing. Joining a writing group is one of the most efficient practices for busy writers. 

Writing groups allow members to maintain and reach their goals as well as to work together efficiently. If you don’t know any writing groups, try creating one. Your colleagues might be experiencing the same problems as you do. Offer them to meet up in a cafeteria once a week and talk about your projects. Share your visions, discuss, adjust, and solve the problems that occur in the process together. Set concrete deadlines and goals for yourself. Each of you should lay out your plans about the projects, from outlining to reviewing. If someone fails to meet his/her own goals, this person should pay for everyone’s coffee and cakes. Believe it or not, but a couple of dollars spent on your friends’ meal each week is pretty motivating.

What is even more motivating here is a  necessity to tell other people about your plans and ideas. This means that they kind of watch you. Of course, nobody will blame you or judge you, but this small detail influences us on the psychological level. We don’t really want anyone to be a witness to our failures. After a couple of months, you will see that your life activities become more structured.

Before you join or start a writing group, make sure to finish your current duties and projects. Regular writing and organization will become a habit with time, and you will begin to schedule and prioritize tasks automatically. What is more, communication with colleagues will support you and help you write better. 

Revise, revise, revise

Academic writing is a long and tedious process. Sometimes, you spend days, weeks, and even months working on your paper. However, once you are done, the new stage begins: revising and rewriting. Amendments and improvements are crucial for efficient academic work. Even professional scientists do revisions. Thousands of them!

You are lucky if you have co-authors, editors, and colleagues to review your works. As you may know, editing someone’s work is an act of appreciation and care in the academic world. People agree to take some time, read your work, evaluate it, and give some comments to let you become a better writer. Sometimes, your mentors are really picky so that you might see your papers covered with red ink after their review. However, you should remember that this is a great gift for you and a chance to develop your skills.

At this point, it is crucial to establish a distance between your work and yourself. You are not your project! So when your mentors become too critical, perceive it as a chance to grow.

One day – one paper

If you think that writing one article per day is impossible, then you just have to give it a try and see. This can work if you have already organized a writing group. Hopefully, your group consists of motivated and hard-working colleagues, ready to accept challenges.

Before you start, you need to do some prior research and develop the necessary background. Then you should divide responsibilities. Decide who will:

  • Draft the methods
  • Conduct additional research and analysis
  • Develop the results section
  • Write an introduction

After you are done with this stage, let every member of the group start working on his/her own piece. Show your results to one another and edit them collectively. If someone has a question, solve it immediately. When you are working together in the same space, everyone stays focused, and no distractions can keep you from writing.

You will be surprised that collective academic activity can be really enjoyable. You will brainstorm together, share ideas, and move further. Working in a creative environment is beneficial for every member of the group and what is more – this is a time-saving practice. You are expected to analyze and understand the problems to make the paper as well as your writing habits. Discuss weak spots and disagreements to see problems clearer. This way of writing can be exceptionally efficient for the projects you (and your colleagues) are stuck with.

Developing particular practices and approaches is crucial for academic writers. Trying something new like working in a group can make your writing more productive and your routine – brighter. Don’t be afraid to try these approaches – the outlined experiments are simple, but they can change your entire academic career to better!