Helpful Advice on Academic Writing

If you are in any form of education, academic writing is unavoidable. You will most likely spend a large portion of your time researching and writing, no matter what your discipline is. So how do you become a successful academic writer? There are many things you can do to set yourself up for successful academic writing.


There are two main areas to keep in mind when you think of preparation. First, critically evaluate yourself and your current level of writing. What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? As early as possible in your academic career, get help in the areas you are weak in. This may mean taking an extra class or two or getting a tutor. Seek out help from your instructors, advisers, and resources on campus. Tackling areas you need improvement in early will set you up for success down the road.

Next, make sure you are prepared for each specific assignment. Make sure the guidelines that your instructor has set for your assignment are clear. Know what the expectations are on the length, the citation style, and anything else that will impact your grade. The best way to be successful on as assignment is to fully understand it. If you are unclear on any part, ask your instructor for clarification early in the process.


Establishing a routine and process for your writing is another key to being a successful academic writer. It will take some trial and error, but you will need to find what works for you. Do you need a space outside of your home, like the library? Or do you work best at the local coffee shop? Are mornings or evenings your optimal time to do research and writing? Finding locations and times of day that work for you, and planning your schedule around this will help you get into the mindset you need to accomplish your writing.

You will also need to find a process of writing that works for you. How do you brainstorm best? In groups or on paper? Do you need to outline in a traditional fashion or use note cards? How many drafts do you usually need to produce until you are comfortable? All of these things will develop over time and once you have found your groove, stick with it. Following what works for you every time will help you stay focused.

Being a successful academic writer is within anyone's grasp. By setting up a good foundation and following what works for you, your academic writing will be top notch.

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