Writing Strategies


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Writing is an essential form of communication in which you share your thoughts with your reader. It is important that your reader receives the message that you are sending.

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Writing Strategies

  1. 1. Writing: Presenting You C Gita Bosch, PhD, MBA Academic & Educational Consulting theacademicconsultant.com Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them. John Ruskin
  2. 2. Outline  Personal statement  Writing strategies  Writer’s block  Personal statement  Some examples  Wrap-up B theacademicconsultant.com
  3. 3.  Personal Statement  Job cover letter  Abstract/Paper  Grant proposal  Thesis proposal/Dissertation Writer Reader Thought Impression words B theacademicconsultant.com
  4. 4. Personal Statement  Introduction of you  Commitment and motivation  Writing skills Inform and persuade Who am I? What do I want to do? B theacademicconsultant.com
  5. 5.  Your qualifications/experiences  Your goals Introduction of you I have to talk about my research…do I think like a scientist? B theacademicconsultant.com
  6. 6.  Do not use slang/clichés/jargon  Use active, not passive voice  Be positive  Do not use gigantic words when diminutive alternatives can suffice  Better to understate than exaggerate Writing skills My personal statement has to be a professional document? B theacademicconsultant.com
  7. 7. Inform and persuade  Beginning  Interesting and captivating  Middle  Substance = Research Statement  Ending  Reader wants to meet you OMG! I need weeks to work on my Personal Statement! B theacademicconsultant.com
  8. 8. Where do I start?  What is your story?  Outline  Linear, hierarchical (left-brain)  Mind mapping (right-brain) B theacademicconsultant.com
  9. 9. from MindMapping.comB theacademicconsultant.com
  10. 10. Mind Mapping  Main idea = commonality of semi-main ideas  Logically relate the boxes  Number each network in relevance to the main idea I have an OUTLINE! B theacademicconsultant.com
  11. 11.  Procrastination  Open computer to write and….  Check FB, email, etc. Writer’s block Now what? How am I going to get through this? I have to talk about my whole life…will they think I am qualified? What if they hate my PS? B theacademicconsultant.com
  12. 12.  Anxiety  Not enough planning  Grandiose expectations  Over-thinking  Underestimating your ability  Boredom  Not enough planning  Narrow thinking Writer’s block B theacademicconsultant.com
  13. 13.  Zoom out, think about the big picture  Free write  Prepare an outline  Zoom in on the task at hand, writing  Take small chunks and write  Do not guess at the readers’ reactions Writer’s block solutions B theacademicconsultant.com
  14. 14.  Listen to instrumental music  Clear the clutter in your writing space  Find a new space to write  Write at a different time of day (when is your most productive time?)  Take a walk, exercise, take a nap Writer’s block solutions B theacademicconsultant.com
  15. 15. Strategies to be a better writer  Writing is like preparing to run a marathon  Write everyday  Set an output goal for each writing session and stop when you reach it  Write about what you are interested in, your voice  Writing generates ideas, keep writing B theacademicconsultant.com
  16. 16. Writing vs. Editing  Send your internal editor away!  Write on paper, you go back less than if you write on the computer  Write the whole draft, wait two days, then edit B theacademicconsultant.com
  17. 17. Personal Statement  Beginning  Interesting & captivating = the hook  Who are you?  Why do you want to go to graduate school?  Middle  Substance = Research Statements  Experiences  Ending  Reader wants to meet you  Why this program Inform and Persuade B theacademicconsultant.com
  18. 18. What does the school want to know? BE HONEST  Your goals—degree, field, specialty  Why are you pursuing this degree?  What events brought you to this point?  What makes you qualified to do this?  Why are you applying to this School?  How will they help you reach your goals? B theacademicconsultant.com
  19. 19.  Read the instructions  Answer the questions  Why are you unique  Accent the positive  Briefly address negative events which impacted your academics, no excuses  Show how the negatives positively impacted your growth  Do not whine What you should do BE HONEST B theacademicconsultant.com
  20. 20. SKGSBS Writing about your research  Introduce the overall purpose of the research  Describe specifically what you worked on and what you did  Describe how your work fitted into the overall objective of the main project, the field and human health B theacademicconsultant.com
  21. 21. Research paragraph One of the goals of the laboratory is to generate …. We studied ….. My project involved ….. The resulting structures were …. Because they ….., these structures could be used to ….. B theacademicconsultant.com
  22. 22. Personal Statement  Write. Edit. Edit more.  Get feedback  Have faculty read & comment for content  Have someone read & comment for writing  Rewrite. Edit. Rewrite. Will they want to me meet after reading this? B theacademicconsultant.com
  23. 23. Read it out loud The Final Touch  No errors!  Grammar. Spelling. Language.  Proofread!  Punctuation: commas, colons, & semicolons  Apostrophes and hyphens  Subject-Verb agreement  Word usage Listen to it B theacademicconsultant.com
  24. 24. Some Common Errors  Its v. It’s  Affect v. Effect  Would have v. Would of  Supposed to v. Suppose to  Then v. Than  Wonder v. Wander  Their v. There v. They’re  Farther v. Further B theacademicconsultant.com
  25. 25. Personal Statement  Deliberate & thoughtful  Clear & simple language  Concise (trim the fat)  Interesting & creative  Style & tone  Vary the sentence forms  Seamless transitions between paragraphs  More is not necessarily better B theacademicconsultant.com ERROR- FREE ZONE
  26. 26. A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. Max Planck B theacademicconsultant.com