Academic writing

There is a lot of myth and anxiety about writing for academic purposes. In the A4 days, the days before the Net, it was fairly straightforward. It was not possible to see the variety of information, the styles and approaches to writing that now abound.

I take the view that there is a shift occurring in academic writing. Many folk in education can appear to be intimidated by what they imagine is going on, on the other side of the fence, aka the physical sciences. So there exists a lot of myths about how to write, what good academic writing is and how best to do it. A recent book1 by Helen Sword dispels many of the myths and demonstrates how palpably silly they are. It's an excellent read and offers a lot of pithy examples of good, great and absolutely awful academic writing.

Sword has a helpful site on which you can submit samples of your writing and check it for its flabbiness! :)

I also think that it is a mistake to imagine that academic writing is somehow wildly different from other forms of writing. Maria Popova curates an excellent blog and has a number of good posts about writing2 if you need a bit of encouragement.

Melonie Fullick has a useful piece on academic writing that will likely strike a chord with your own experiences in learning to write academic papers. Her piece includes a link to a now famous critique of academic writing by Steven Pinker.

There is a more developed resource around writing in the kitchen.