You probably have heard about the exercise that is said to develop your creativity and writing skills. The aim of such exercise is to describe the opposite of what you always think of a subject or matter. Academic writing will be the subject of the day. Most of the time we advocate the opinion that rewriting thoughts of smart people into your own paper will barely do some good for you, and formatting your essay can legitimately result in a neurotic personal state. But this time, we take the challenge of saying something good about academic writing. Will we be able to withstand the challenge, or will we fall?
What Is Useful in Academic Writing
There should be something good and practical in academic writing, and we are here to find it today and prove to everybody (and mainly to ourselves) that it can be useful somewhere beyond the walls of college.
1) Academic writing helps you understand that writing is a useful skill.
Sometimes writing is perceived as an innate ability – you either have it or you don’t. This actually happens a lot in academic fields, discouraging students from developing their weak skills. The two most common subjects referred to as talents are writing and math.
Well, the truth is that math, chemistry, calculus, academic writing and even poetry are all skills and can be learned. The good news is that while you are made to write academic papers, you learn that:
With a certain amount of patience and determination you can do the things you hate doing well – in other words, no amounts of inspiration required.
With time, your writing becomes better.
Talent doesn’t beat everything, especially in the academic field.
In other words, academic writing teaches you to approach any activity as it is – as a skill, and, as every skill, it can be learned, nourished and developed.
2) It makes you used to a routine.
As stated in the previous paragraph, routine helps to improve your skill. This is tough even for those who do have talent and desire to write, let alone for those who don’t. Forcing yourself to do writing exercises no matter how uninspired and tired you are sounds unpleasant. Let’s be honest, even the most dedicated writers will have to gather all their willpower to do some extra writing in their spare time, especially if the topic doesn’t seem very appealing.
Academic writing is good in teaching you discipline. Most of the time you aren’t attached to the writing, because it’s official and logic-based, and you are probably writing about a topic you also don’t like. During this endeavor you learn that writing is hard, and can be boring and demanding – and this will serve you later, when you push through and keep writing blog posts or practicing your presentation skills while others are waiting for inspiration to come. Guess who will win eventually?
3) It helps you show the work.
We bet you have heard about some mysterious thing called “female logic.” Well, as shocking as it is, there’s no such thing. This is a good example of both social regulations imposed on females (such as “it’s rude to state directly what you want,” “a girl can’t ask a boy out,” etc.) and implied logic. When a woman is mad, there’s a good reason for it – but since the logic is implied, no one can see why, and that’s why people who don’t show the path of their thoughts are labeled as illogical.
When you practice academic writing, you learn to back up your opinion, and show arguments and the logic behind your reasoning. Slowly it becomes a part of your thinking patterns and lifestyle. It influences decision-making and relationships in the long term!
4) It makes you dig to the basics.
We live in a world flooded with information, and not every piece of information we receive can be trusted. However, not every educational institution teaches their students critical thinking. This is probably why writing academic papers is so difficult for most students. We are all used to getting complete information from textbooks instead of reading the source and making our own conclusions.
Well, now you have a chance to develop critical thinking using academic writing. Most of the time a good research paper requires primary sources, such as responses of your interviewees, comments made by the experiment group or recorded information. This means that you need to analyze big streaks of primary data not reviewed by other people. Tough at first, this will be unpleasant, but soon after you will be able to do it easily.
How to Develop Your Skill
How can you improve your academic writing without putting in a lot of extra effort? Here are some suggestions for you, but remember that, unfortunately, there’s nothing you can develop and make better without putting at least some amount of effort into it.
Subscribe to a scientific blog.
This doesn’t sound like the best way to spend an evening, but it can be very helpful. The one thing you should note is that you need to spend some time finding a scientific field that REALLY interests you, or else you won’t be able to keep you motivation at a level needed to click on the bookmark and check the blog, let alone read the articles. This is a form of passive education – the more good academic writing you read, the better you become at it, and the easier it is for you to understand those scientific articles.
Talk to someone who likes science.
We bet you will be able to find a friend fascinated by black holes, but much harder is to find one who actually knows a thing or two about them, and not a friend who became an expert after watching “Interstellar.” People who know a lot in their scientific field and genuinely enjoy it are usually able to explain the most difficult concepts in a simple way, and therefore draw attention to the topic. Moreover, the more concepts you understand, the easier you navigate the realm of human intellectuality. In other words, reading fancy-schmancy academic articles will become easier for you gradually.
Reread your papers once in a while.
Rereading your old writing is very much like looking at your old profile photos – it can be fun and educating, but most of the time it’s embarrassing. However, it performs the same important function of teaching you on your own mistakes, just as your old photos teach you that having bangs isn’t a suitable haircut for you in any scenario, period. Also make sure you leave yourself some room to be proud of the work you’ve done – this will help increase the motivation levels and make you eager to improve your writing even more. Once you encounter a paper you like, don’t forget to reward yourself for it. Positive reinforcement still works pretty well, you know.
What do you think about academic writing and its application in real life? When your professor says you will need it later in life, do you believe that he or she is not lying to force you to do unnecessary work? Share your opinions below.