Becoming a productive academic writer

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Citation: Susan R. Johnson (2004) Becoming a productive academic writer. Academic Physician & Scientist (RSS)
Internet Archive Scholar (search for fulltext): Becoming a productive academic writer
Tagged: Writing (RSS), academic writer (RSS)


The author tackles the issue about how to be a productive academic writer based on her observation and experiences. She provides many useful and pragmatic methods for each stage of the writing process. For a beginning writer, the first step might be the most difficult one. She suggests that it would be better to write down some ideas instantly, even piece of thought which we can revise it later, than do not write anything until the ideas are perfect. Therefore, first, write down the idea about what the problem is; second, think about what is the answer and finally find out why and how we suppose it.

The following is to create a surrounding where is less distractions and comfortable for writing. Sometimes working at another place instead of office or home is more productive, because we often stake off in familiar environment. In addition to surrounding, cultivating a good habit is also important. We have to set a criterion for writing and execute it regularly, for example, in the morning every day. The author suggest that we can write for 15 minutes at first, after getting used to it then we can add the time. Moreover, exceeding two hours for a session may write something unnecessary, therefore, when we meet the criterion than take a rest. Maintaining brief writing regularly everyday is better than binge writing sometimes according to research.

Monitor the output is another useful method for writing. We need to monitor our writing in order to achieve the daily goal we decide. The author suggests some ways to monitor, for instance, recording the daily result and posting it in our workplace will stimulate and encourage ourselves to move on later.

Finally, the attitude to writing is also important. If we viewed writing as a high, priority thing, it is possible that we will be stressful and cannot meet the criteria we made. Therefore, it is a best way to think writing is a moderate thing, which means even brief, simple words is acceptable, and it is helpful for us to write effective and regularly.