Most of the research which investigates writing in university contexts focusses on student writing, and the social practices of writing as part of student learning. In this seminar we present selected findings from our research project (see http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/acadswriting/), which examines the writing of academics in three English universities. We have spent the last 18 months working closely with academics across different departments, universities, and disciplines, and used repeated interviews and observations of writing processes to explore their cultures of professional writing. Specifically for this seminar, we focus on elements of our data where our academic participants recall how they became acquainted with the demands and conventions of their professional writing; in short, how they learned to write as academics. We outline the management of ongoing and ‘on the job’ learning to write, new challenges of collaboration and digitisation, developing strategies to cope with changes, and mastering an increasing diversity of genres and text-types. We hope that this seminar will stimulate an important discussion about the choices academics make about their writing, and the most appropriate ways of approaching professional development for academics, both at the early career stage and throughout their professional lives.