To assess your own writing, it’s vital to get a bit of distance so you can look at it dispassionately. When you’re at the (almost) final stage of drafting, print out the day’s work at the end of your writing session. Set the page(s) aside and have a fresh look at them the following day. Looking at a printout makes it much easier to assess what you’ve written, and to spot errors, typos and repetition. As well as distance from your writing, you need distance from your research so that you can consider whether any particular piece of research merits a place in your work. This is why I advise against continuing to research once you have started writing. Articles that you’ve only just read will loom larger in your mind than ones digested days or weeks before. Being too close to either your writing or your research can cloud your judgement, skew your argument or even wreck it entirely — the last thing you want when you have a deadline.
5 October 2016
Printing a draft is like taking out a map halfway through a journey to remind yourself of where you’re going.
Always print out your work before you submit it – I guarantee you’ll spot mistakes you hadn’t noticed on screen.
Cherise Saywell When coaching students nervous about the blank page, I’ve often used the word limit as a technique for getting started. A big project, such as a PhD thesis, is less intimidating once you break it down. For example, at the start of a literature review chapter of 20,000 words in a social science…