How To Write Effectively

A colleague recommended this video the other day, and it is indeed very worthwhile 80 minutes of your time, if you do any kind of scholarly writing, or are at least somewhat interested in writing at all.

Just a few take-aways:

Nobody cares about the inside of your head. Unless they are paid to do so.

Don't explain to show you've understood something.

Oftentimes we write because it helps us think. This is fine but orthogonal to how it gets read, thus rewrite for specific target reader.

Writing success is to make it valuable to the reader.

What you write is not for eternity, it is to bring the conversation forward.

The performance of the speaker felt over the top at times, I was reminded of how faith healers talk:

"Forget everything you think you knew! Even the things that I tell you you thought, even though you did not think you did. Because here comes the revelation!!1!

But it became clear that he is much self-aware of this and manages to keep an undertone of irony and self-deprecation throughout. At the end he apologizes for being theatrical. Here's the link once more.

One thing I very much like about my current role at work, is that I do not have to write grant proposals and journal articles any more. I was never comfortable with that and therefore not good at it either. Would this video have helped, had I seen it during my time as a student? Maybe. But is quite possible that past me would not have understood it.

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