No Shortcuts

I write to discover what I know. – Flannery O’Connor

It took four weeks of reading, twelve pages of notes, and two hours of tinkering to compose this thesis for my next article:

“Although most doctoral students have written enough A+ papers to think they know (or believe they should know) how to do it, most are not equipped for the kind of writing required for dissertations and publications. The most significant obstacle to developing these skills is the misconception that writing is a utilitarian task separate from the essential work of research. As a process not of transmitting ideas but of making them, writing is research. Training to be a scholar means becoming a student of writing.”


10 thoughts on “No Shortcuts”

    1. Hmmm…. If it’s not clear then I either rewrite the thesis or write the article so well that the thesis explains itself. Either way, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

      1. I am sure it is perfectly brilliant! I’m just exhausted and that was too much for me to process at the moment. It was meant as a joke, comparing my inability to comprehend at the moment to the amount of time it took for you to write it. Please, don’t take it as you were being unclear. I will stick to writing non-joke comments! lol

      2. Oh, I took it as a joke. No worries! Adopting the professional or academic persona can create this stilted, inaccessible distance whose aim is to project authority. Howard Becker describes this as “a truly crazy cycle in which students repeat the worst stylistic excesses the journals contain, learn that those very excesses are what makes their work different from what every damn fool knows and says, write more articles like those they learned from, submit them to journals whose editors publish them because nothing better is available. . . and thus provide the raw material for another generation to learn truly bad habits from.”

        Reading so much convoluted academic writing (and so much about why academic writing is so convoluted) condemns me to reproduce it even while trying to get my students to do something different.

      1. I love it because of the irony of the Bible Salesman. I won’t be spoiling it for you. Please read it; you will love it.

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