How to Like Writing

Writing is a big part of a research career (and student life). If you don’t enjoy it, you’re going to be spending a lot of time not liking your job as a researcher. If you can’t find a way to like writing academically, I honestly think you’re better off finding something else to do with your life. But don’t give up right away. During your graduate studies, and especially your PhD, spend some time learning how to enjoy writing. Insist on finding joy in the act of sitting down at the machine and addressing yourself to your peers.

Obviously, at the end of the day, you have to find that joy in your own heart, and I won’t pretend to know where exactly that is. But through the years I have, I think, found some things that might help. If you don’t like writing, it’s probably because you don’t write often enough, you write too much when you do, you don’t know what you’re writing about, or you resent your reader. Or some combination. My somewhat simpleminded advice is to just stop doing those things. And, yes, then you must open your heart. A little.

Write regularly and in moderation about things you know for people you respect. Write every day, five days a week, 32 weeks a year. Don’t write more than three hours a day. Always decide the day before what you will say; make sure it’s something you know. Have someone who is qualified to tell you that you are wrong in mind as you write. (Remind yourself that you really do want them to tell you if you are.) Enjoy.

4 thoughts on “How to Like Writing

  1. Hi Thomas, I really enjoy reading along on your blog and while I forget about it regularly, each time I return to it I find something of use to the situation I am in! I know you are an expert on writing – but have you also written about reading? About discipline when reading, and the relation between reading and writing. This is something I have been thinking a lot about and would love some advice on.

    1. Thanks. It’s good to hear my ideas I useful. And that’s a great topic for a blog post. I’ll come up with something soon.

  2. Saw your post on TESOL SLWIS. I appreciated your thoughts and your pushback. It’s good.
    I’m working on improving my writing output from my summer “break” here in NY/USA. I find your blog wonderful and the services you offer to students amazing. Sorry to be uninformed, but are the classes at your university all in English, or some in English, some in other languages?

    1. Hi Victoria, thanks for the kind words and your support. Some programs here at Copenhagen Business School at taught in Danish and some in English. We have majors that focus on other languages (Chinese, Spanish, etc.), but these are not instructional languages in any of our programs as far as I’m aware.

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