Competition entry: writing tips

We have had two more entries to our writing competition. Below are the entries from Katherine Kruger and Camilla Bostock, both students from the department of English. Thanks very much both! We will be picking a winner at the end of the day.

Katherine Kruger’s tips:

  1. Try to write something small every day. After a long period of research, even if it includes a lot of note taking, I find that I lose the ability to have confidence in just putting coherent sentences down on paper. Maintaining momentum by writing even just a paragraph each day seems to keep this form of writer’s block at bay.
  2. Edit at the end.  This relates to the first tip.  Have the confidence to write ideas down as theycome trying not to get too caught up in language and sentence structure but leaving this until you have finished a section or idea and are in the editing process.  For me editing is the longest part.  Ideas often form through writing not before writing. If I get stuck with an idea and can’t quite work out how to proceed with it I find that writing it out is the best way to understand what I am trying to say; writing something, even if it reads as contradictory or embarrassingly reductive at the time, is how I get to the crux of an idea.
  3. Find somewhere to write where you will not be distracted. This is essential!

Camilla Bostock’s tips:

– Write EVERY DAY. Even if it’s just 20 minutes of free writing or a page of thoughts about your project, a short story, a poem–write something, anything. Become addicted to writing and the writing up stage of your thesis, when you come to it, will be much easier to manage (and perhaps even enjoyable).

– Remember that everything takes longer than you anticipate. I have found this out the hard way on too many occasions! Give yourself time—but not too much that you become complacent.

– Try to enjoy it. Your enthusiasm for and engagement with a text, theory or idea will be conveyed to the reader and make for a more lively and interesting piece of writing. In my experience, the best writing comes when you forget who, what, and where you are…

– I highly recommend this wonderfully funny, stimulating and reassuring video of the philosopher Avital Ronell talking about writing your Phd thesis/dissertation: Ronell reminds us all to be humble in our writing but also to be a bit wild!

– Finally, a great text for improving your academic writing is Helen Sword’s Stylish Academic Writing (2012). Flair, creativity and lucidity, as this book demonstrates, are important for all types of writing (whatever your discipline): ignore them at your peril!

Look out for the winner soon. We will be announcing a new competition over the next few days.  If you’d like to write anything or advertise anything on the blog email us at:


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