Tricks, Treats, and Topics

One of my “tricks” for academic writing is choosing a topic that I’m genuinely interested in. As graduate students, we’re expected to do this, but even as an undergraduate I always tried, no matter what the course, to find some aspect of the subject that I really wanted to learn more about. Trying to write about a topic that I have little to no interest in is not only more difficult, but it’s also not very much fun. If I don’t care about the topic, I’m not very motivated to learn more or write about it, so when I did have to write about subjects that were less than enthralling, I always made sure I found a specific area of focus that did interest me. This makes a huge difference when it comes to both reading and writing about the topic. When I choose a topic that I’m really interested in and want to learn more about, the “treat” becomes the actual learning that comes from reading and writing. The “treat,” the motivating factor of my academic writing, is essentially the more complex understanding about a given topic. And it is both reading and writing that bring me closer to this reward, since reading current scholarship informs me of the topic itself and what the “experts” have to say about it. Writing then helps me articulate my own understanding and, even more important, make connections so that my writing reflects my own insight and analyses.

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