Free advice from an academic writing coach!

January 7, 2013
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(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

Basbøll writes:

I [Basbøll] have got to come up with forty things to say [in the next few months]. . . .

What would you like me to write about?I’ll of course be writing quite a bit about what I’m now calling “article design”, i.e., how to map out the roughly forty paragraphs that a journal article is composed of. And I’ll also be talking about how to plan the writing process that is to produce those paragraphs. The basic principle is still to write at least one paragraph a day in 27 minutes. (You can adapt this is various ways to your own taste; some like 18-minute or even 13-minute paragraphs.)

But I’d like to talk about questions of style, too, and even a little bit about epistemology. “Knowledge—academic knowledge, that is—is the ability to compose a coherent prose paragraph about something in 27 minutes,” I always say. I’d like to reflect a little more about what this conception of knowledge really means. This means I’ll have to walk back my recent dismissal of epistemological “concerns” a little.

Will I also have to talk about the “psychology” of writing? Maybe.

In any case, I’d like to know what you’d like to read about on this blog. Please just leave your suggestions in the comments.

Or, if there’s any writing advice you want from me, you can put those requests in the comments here.

Here’s my question for Thomas: How is it that, on one hand it’s hard to get even one idea clearly down on paper, but on the other hand it’s possible to write up 40 different ideas during the semester? Life is short, yet life is long.



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