writingThe misunderstandings about writing

Do you find writing difficult? Then you are not alone. That’s why I’m going to help you work through the most common misbeliefs about writing, which will allow you to write better with ease.

One of the obstacles facing PhD students is writing. The writing process requires concentration and focus, and will take longer than the brainstorming and planning stages. And the trouble is, writing is one of the most important skills to hone. With unsatisfactory writing, you won’t be able to graduate. It’s that simple.

One of the reasons writing can be problematic for many is the impact of a few widespread and persistent misunderstandings and biases people tend to have. These preconceptions can hamper your writing process. Here I give you 6 of those misconceptions, and I urge you not to fall prey to them. Don’t let yourself believe them, it will save you from frustration later on.

The starting point will come naturally

Do you think your starting point automatically come to you while you write? False! You should brainstorm as early as possible about what exactly you want to write about, as well as what you want to say about it. Without this step, your text will be a jumbled mess of ideas. Furthermore, without a plan in place, you can lose precious time by constantly editing and fleshing out your text. So, don’t do that. Organize your ideas as soon as possible.

I have to first finish research and analysis

Do you believe that you cannot start writing unless you have gathered all your literature and research? False! Keeping yourself busy by continuously finding information is a pitfall many people find themselves in. Rather, you can easily start writing, or at the very least, brainstorm and organise your ideas before being done with your research. Once you have developed your ideas and brainstormed, it will be easy to see what information is still missing. Absolutely make a head start, on your writing, even when you feel you haven’t “completed” your research, since this process will illuminate the direction the remainder of your research has to follow.

I will organise the table of contents afterward

Do you think you can determine where certain sections should go and the format and structure will come naturally? False! Structure is something that does not happen by itself. If you don’t have your outline, writing is that much more difficult. It will cost a lot of time to afterwards move your blocks of text around, as well as edit your abstract and organisation to match. This is too bad for all the effort you spent writing. So, please make sure you have a good outline, table of contents, and clear line of thought before you start writing. This will save you time, energy, and spare you from frustration later on.

Your ideas will organise themselves

Do you think your research and ideas will organise themselves? False! The organisation and structuring will not appear out of thin air. It is advisable to first outline your ideas, and organise them by argument and themes. This step will help determine both where you start well as how you structure your writing.

I can’t write without inspiration 

Do you think you can only write if you are inspired? That words can only flow onto the paper if you feel as if they are whispered in your ear? False! Writing is hard work, writing is putting your pen to paper (or hands to keyboard), and a question of taking action. Just by putting your thoughts down, your thoughts will become clearer and you will realise what you actually want to say. Just write. Even just fifteen minutes of free writing each day can help you immensely.




Real writers write alone

Do you think you have to do all your writing on your own? False! Having others read your work and give comments can be very valuable. However, it is also important to give clear instructions on the status of your text or to ask concrete questions about your writing. Therefore, your feedback and comments won’t be too vague or too focused on minimal details.

Is it clear which misconceptions you tend to believe? Or perhaps which misunderstandings about the writing process you have? Don’t let yourself believe them! Push them out of your mind. This will help you be a more efficient and more effective writer. Is that not a good feeling?


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  1. I have all these beliefs. It is very hard to stop believing that i can t write unless i am inspired. Basically i hate writing and i don t even if i am inspired. Actually my major limiting belief is that i am not a writer, i have a blockage around expressing. I am not creative so it is impossible for me to come up with ideas about expressing and writing down a research paper. And about the length of the text, i hate being too long about an idea, being concise is what i seek the most. That is the difficulty of writing a thesis.

    • Those difficulties are very recognizable Rima! Free writing might be of great help to get more clarity for yourself. Or read the blog about the one argument formula, that also gives some pointers.

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