How do you feel when you think about writing?

In this article I’ll let you know what the keys are to positive writing experiences. Many PhD students have had little or no positive writing experiences, and because writing is one of the most important skills you need, it is very important that you experience writing as positive, and not as something difficult, hard and complicated…

How do you feel when you think about writing? When I ask this question when I’m teaching, generally negative feelings surface, such as:

–       I get depressed when I think about writing

–       I get stress

–       I feel that I can’t do it

–       I notice that I procrastinate when I have to write

–       It seems that everyone knows what to do, and that I’m the only one who doesn’t

–       I think if people read my text that they can see how stupid I am

–       I do have ideas, but I seem not to be able to get them on paper

You’re not the only one who has that kind of feelings! Most writers – even those with a lot of experience – will suffer from an inner critic, who whispers about all kind of fears when they write. It may be worthwhile to find out what your biggest fear about writing is, so you can work in a more targeted manner towards a solution.

Luckily I’m not only hearing negative feelings, but there are also positive ones:

–       Sometimes when I’m writing it comes across exactly as I meant or even better, that is fantastic!

–       It’s great when I’m writing the conclusion that the whole text somehow clicks; I love it when that happens.

You may want to ask yourself when you feel good about your writing. What can you learn from those experiences?

i love writing

The interesting thing is that research shows that there are four types of experiences, actually four keys to creating positive writing experiences. What are the four keys? Wendy Laura Belcher describes them as follows:

1. Successful academic writers write.

That may sound simple, but for many people it is not. Many PhD students have negative experiences with writing because they procrastinate; the positive experiences have to do with the actual writing. So make sure you write! Plan it, put it on your to do list. And if possible, make sure you write daily. Use free writing for that. Fifteen minutes a day is sufficient.

Writing is a bit like working out: it is difficult to do, but if you actually do it, you feel great afterwards.

2. Successful academic writers make their writing social

Writing is not something you should do on your own, that is just a myth. It helps you to make writing social and public. So: start a writing group, find someone to write an article with, meet someone and agree on writing for an hour, follow a writing course. The more you do those kinds of things, the better your writing experiences will become.

3. Successful academic writers do not give up, despite rejections

When you write, you get many rejections. That is inevitable. Journals will say no, supervisors will say no. But don’t let that stop you.

The difference between being published and not being published is perseverance. Whether your article is published or not, often has nothing to do with the quality of the article.  Don’t be upset by rejection, keep in mind that it will happen, just make the revisions that are needed, based on the comments, but do not let it stop you. Keep submitting your articles, keep rewriting. The criticism is often not as bad as you think.

4. Successful academic writers follow their passion

If successful writers talk about their positive writing experiences, they often have to do with the fact that they have genuine interest in their subject. Those successful writers do not write for their supervisors, their colleagues or for a journal, but they focus on their own fascination. So follow your interest, don’t follow hypes.

So do you want to feel good whilst writing? Make sure you

– Actually write

– Make writing social, so don’t do everything on your own

– Continue, despite rejection

– Write about what really interests you.

Let me know how this works for you!


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  1. This is very useful advice. Especially the one about “keep doing it”. From my experience writing is really just about exercising… and the red in your revised manuscript may be shocking, but once you overcome this shock and see it as constructive criticism, you will boost your writing skills. Another advice: don’t aim too high. Very often we think that we have to perform on a high level without giving us the time to learn. So in the beginning aim low. Reward yourself e.g. for finishing the introduction of a manuscript. With time you will develop and automatically aim higher.

  2. I’m writing a paper at the moment, which I suggested to my advisor because I thought “there might be something there”. It’s about a topic I am genuinely interested in and I’m enjoying every minute of the writing process. So I definitely agree with point #4.

  3. I agree, a good coach can really help you out in writing dissertations for you, but there are many PHD students who do not have access to a good coach, i can recommend them a very useful site, they have expert writers and can help students out in best way.
    Have a look.

    • If you look at my website, you will also find two buttons, if you click them, you will find resources. And of course I am able to help you as well 🙂

      • An S.P. is indeed of great improtance in your application to a PhD program because it can make a difference in the eyes of the selection committee.Here are some basic rules for writing a winning statement of purpose:* — Your statement should be well focused and clearly have the purpose it’s supposed to have;* — A statement of purpose must show that this program is relevant and meshes well with your interests and ambition. It should not be a narrative of your accomplishments;* — Your statement of Purpose should be tailored to the particular institution you are applying to. Therefore, you should avoid writing a one-size-fits-all document to be submitted to all institutions of interest;* — Make sure that your document (statement) has the right length (see requirements), contains no grammatical error nor misspelling and all facts stated are correct. +3Was this answer helpful?

  4. For students a guide for writing research paper is most important. And the fear is to be rooted out with guidance from an expert. And after a expert’s advice, one must get out of the fear first else the fear can mar your whole writing. If rejections occur, no writer should get depressed, he can learn something more and next time he can be a better writing style.

  5. It is true that every person doesn’t have writing skills. There are some people who had this quality. So if you have not that much talent for writing any research paper or anything else, you can take help from companies like solution writers. They provide you the best writing service in every field.

  6. Free writing is the best solution according to me. 20 minutes a day is enough. I feel its the way to express my inner thoughts, idea and opinion.

  7. “Writing is so stressful” that’s the only negative feeling I get sometimes. I was looking for a way to turn this into a positive feeling so I can be more productive. Reading this article gave me few ideas that are worth trying, like writing in collaboration. There are few sites that allows you to write in collaboration. I’ll try them out. Thanks for the inspiration admin.

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