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snuz

How hard it writing?

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Hi all! I'm in my first semester and doing well. I am curious though about the writing process of other people. My classmates seem extremely stressed about the lit review we have as a final assignment. Without trying to backdoor brag, I have to say writing comes fairly easily to me. There are, of course, other areas that I'm weak in -- public speaking, for example -- but writing isn't one of them. I don't want to ask my classmates about it because I want to be sensitive to their distress. I'm interested to know if writing is as difficult for others as it seems to be for my fellow students.

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It varies a lot per person. I know people who hate it, do it last minute because they can't get themselves to it, who have a hard time structuring things, etc. I personally enjoy writing, which I think helps with the quality of my work.

At the same time, I think writing becomes better and easier the more you do it (especially if someone gives you proper feedback). 

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It varies person to person but also between stages. It is not the same to write a grant application in your first year than your fourth year. It is not the same to write a literature review as a paper for class than as part of your dissertation. 

That said, and without wanting to shake you confidence in any way, I am a little surprised that it is December 5 and it *looks* you haven't started writing this final paper? I am not questioning your writing skills, I'm just hinting that writing a literature review means connecting themes in books, which means to read a fair share of them. 

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6 hours ago, snuz said:

Hi all! I'm in my first semester and doing well. I am curious though about the writing process of other people. My classmates seem extremely stressed about the lit review we have as a final assignment. Without trying to backdoor brag, I have to say writing comes fairly easily to me. There are, of course, other areas that I'm weak in -- public speaking, for example -- but writing isn't one of them. I don't want to ask my classmates about it because I want to be sensitive to their distress. I'm interested to know if writing is as difficult for others as it seems to be for my fellow students.

It is good to hear that you can write at ease. However, you'd better take your time to complete this final assignment. Personally, I find that writing in a cohesive and logically way is the most difficult. It is this part of the writing process that stresses me out terribly for the past year! My advisors indicate that this is something most students struggle badly with. Grammar and phrasing are important too, but these can easily be addressed by a copy-editor. 

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On 12/5/2017 at 7:44 PM, AP said:

That said, and without wanting to shake you confidence in any way, I am a little surprised that it is December 5 and it *looks* you haven't started writing this final paper? I

I can't imagine waiting so long to even start the thing. Nope, I turned it in yesterday. Done for the semester! :D 

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On 12/5/2017 at 7:36 PM, Psygeek said:

I personally enjoy writing, which I think helps with the quality of my work.

This is my take on it as well. My undergrad was in English/writing, and I am grateful on a daily basis for it. Have been a college writing instructor as well. I unintentionally set myself up with some serious advantages, I believe.

Good luck, btw. I highly recommend SFU. :)

Edited by snuz

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On 12/5/2017 at 7:44 PM, AP said:

It varies person to person but also between stages. It is not the same to write a grant application in your first year than your fourth year. It is not the same to write a literature review as a paper for class than as part of your dissertation. 

Yup. It's also hard to go back and fix up a paper that you submitted six months ago but which was rejected with some pretty negative referee comments. You have to psych yourself up for it, because so much of the intervening time was spent psyching you out.

Writing comes naturally to me too, and I don't have much trouble getting it done once I know what I need to do. The trick is getting to that point, and there are lots of demoralizers out there which can interfere. Not having written anything in a while, for example, makes it hard to start again. Or getting overly negative reviews.

One thing that may be affecting your peers' stress levels is impostor syndrome. It's pretty hard to get work done when you're convinced you're a fraud and everyone else is better at this than you are, and that everyone (/your supervisors) will know immediately as soon as you hand the thing in. Overcoming that feeling can be really difficult, too--many of us never really shake it off, actually, precisely because we get so much negative reinforcement and almost no positive reinforcement.

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I tend to have the opinion that social science people tend to use passive voice a lot more than other fields. For anyone with writing problems, I would suggest reading as much scholarly writing as possible! In addition, it is important (well, at least it was in my case) to find a professor that is willing to critique your work. Unfortunately, many professors just grade a paper and write a couple comments without really critiquing your writing.

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16 hours ago, Jay.B said:

Unfortunately, many professors just grade a paper and write a couple comments without really critiquing your writing.

A lot of the time students won't even bother to read comments they get on written work. So many professors don't waste their time giving too many comments. If you want detailed comments on either the content or writing in your paper, ask for them. I can't promise that everyone will oblige, but you're more likely to get detailed comments if you express a willingness to digest them than if you don't. 

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How hard it writing? Well, judging from the title, apparently very hard XD 

I kid, I kid. 

For me, I generally don't find it that hard, but it is a chore so I don't enjoy it despite being fairly decent at it. 

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Sometimes it's a slog to get myself started, but writing isn't too difficult for me. Editing is the difficult part, haha. That's part of why I utilize a network of people to look over my academic writing before I submit it. Working on a 30-page paper now that I should finish by next weekend. Plenty of time to get it to my reviewers before it needs to be submitted. :)

Experience: Academic writing (courses, conference presentations, grad report, other materials based on research projects), professional (geeky articles, blogs, social media posts), fun (more blogs, tabletop rpg campaign building, short stories, etc). 

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