No piece of writing is perfect when first written—that’s why they call it a first draft and why editing exists. Pat Thomson offers a bit of comfort in her piece this week in that all academic writers (or any writer for that matter) face the same struggles. She focuses on being ‘stuck’ with a writing piece and how to move thru it. Today, just focus on getting started and let the rest fall into place. The rest will either fall into place or, if nothing else, give you direction for where to go on the page next time you sit to write. Either way, just start and know that you can (and will) edit later.
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Many novice writers imagine clean, clear prose springing off of the fingertips of accomplished writers. Most writers will assure you that it does not work this way. We first write, and then, revise, revise, and revise some more.
Trying to write perfectly the first time around has three central problems. 1) It takes a long time; 2) It can be a waste of time, as you often can only see at the end of a paper what needs to be cut; and 3) Your writing will not be as good in the end because the best writing comes out of revising.