15 Flags: How I Create Habits for Writing

I am constantly searching for ways to better integrate my digital life into the world of paper, pens, and printed materials that I still love (here, here, and here).  Although there are countless apps available to help create and track new habits–many of which gamify the traditional 21-days rule of habit formation with some very fun results–I have found the best way for me to track my habits is with a stack of sticky flags and my Moleskine.

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Refining Technique in Academic Writing

Typewriters

 

I wrote briefly last week about the importance of technique in academic writing.   Academic writing is, above all else, a specialised form of communication, which remains true whether we are teaching essay writing to first year students or working on a journal article addressing our research. Articles, essays, theses, and dissertations are all modes of communication that serve to share with readers how we have approached our topic and the conclusions to which we have come. And the success of this communication is dependent each writer’s display of technical mastery. This does not, of course, mean mindlessly following the model, although many writing teachers would agree that is preferable to write with good technique and be a bit monotonous than to write with no technique and lose the reader from the outset.

The aim of good technique is to create a fluid and organic microcosmic structure. What this means is, simply: 1) each paragraph is a self-contained unit, 2) which contributes to the argument of its individual section, 3) which contributes to the argument of its chapter, 4) which contributes to the argument of the work as a whole. No matter the length of the writing, these key building blocks will always stay the same, and should always help your reader to enter into your analysis with the tools to engage meaningfully with what you have to say.

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