It’s normal for doctoral researchers to have trouble with some aspect of their writing. The Hive Scholars want to highlight a potential source of help, sponsored by the Royal Literary Fund. Their Writing Fellowship Programme employs two Writers-in-Residence, who are based in the library, and provide support for those wanting to improve their writing skills. This year’s Fellows are Kevin Clarke and Bethan Roberts. We asked Bethan a few questions about her role, and about the free one-to-one writing tutorials that she and Kevin offer.
What is your role as a Writer-in-Residence?
My role as RLF Fellow is to offer writing advice to any member of the university who signs up for a tutorial. The Royal Literary Fund places professional writers in universities up and down the country, and our aim is to support students who want to improve any aspect of their essay writing, from research and planning to drafting and editing. The service is independent (I am employed by the Royal Literary Fund, not the university) and confidential.
What happens in one of your tutorials, and how could they benefit doctoral researchers?
That depends – the tutorials are very much student-led. Each tutorial is 45 minutes long. I usually start by asking a student what they are finding most difficult, and go from there. I am happy to go through a couple of pages of a student’s writing in detail, looking at sentence structure, vocabulary, tone, grammar, or to talk generally about how a student might approach essay writing more effectively. I guess doctoral researchers may find it useful to talk to me about how to deal with planning and writing a long piece of work, and how you keep going!
What is one change that everyone could make to improve their writing habits?
Do another draft! Writing well is a difficult business. It requires time, patience and hard work. Most writing is actually re-writing.
If you would like to discuss your writing with an RLF Fellow, and to start making constructive changes to your work, you can book a tutorial here (log in required). To learn more about Bethan’s work, check out her website or Twitter feed!