Free Write: Academic Writing

In the past, I’ve been told that academic writing is extremely formal. I’ve been told that all sentences must be completely grammatically correct, factual, and politically correct. I have been told to cite sources and credit the work of others. I’ve been told that academic writing needs to be told completely in the third person and to avoid using my own thoughts and opinions and feelings in it. I have been told that academic writing must conform to the same writing style as other academic writing and any writing that strays from that status quo is wrong. I think a lot of this is true in terms of grammar and style, but I also think that there can and is some level of freedom in academic writing. I think that academic writing should be about learning from others and showing others what you can discover and what you are capable of. I think I have a lot to learn about academic writing.

A lot of the apprehension around writing for social media stems from concerns about reputation, and ultimately, promotion. @RoystonPalmy, commenting on Denise Horn’s blog about the challenges she faces completing both a book and a dissertation simultaneously, explains: “When writing in my own voice, rather than my academic voice (especially in online fora), I usually do so under a pseudonym (as I am doing now) due to an anxiety that I am being watched and judged by my academic colleagues and peers, who I am convinced will frown upon informality, irreverence and humour”.

So is it possible for academic writing to be both informative and irreverent? And as blogs and other social media grow in popularity, what are the skills academics need to write well for their diverse audiences?”

I think this excerpt makes a lot of sense. It really calls to mind that personality is an important aspect of your writing because who you are does impact what you know. I think we should all leave more pieces of ourselves in our writing. We should be writers with work, not work with writers.


3 responses

  1. I really like the last sentence also. We should be writers with work, making it simple that we just have to get something done. Not work with writers meaning we should enjoy this and express ourselves.

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