a drafting strategy

I am currently drafting my fourth and fifth chapters of my PhD thesis. I always find I am good at drafting in the beginning but then lose my way somewhere in the middle. This tends to result in me frantically editing my work at the last minute. Needless to say, Pat Thomsons’s post on drafting has arrived in my inbox at a very useful time! I feel like I now have a step-by-step guide to drafting which speaks to me, but will also help me keep on track when I start to flail! Thank you! I hope the writers among you find this useful, too!


I’m not a should-must-always person when it comes to academic writing. I think there are lots of ways to get scholarly authoring done and there are lots of ways for it to look and read. I always feel pretty uncomfortable when I see people writing about academic writing saying “do this”, “always do it this way”, “never do that” …

So I don’t hold for example that free writing works for everyone, anymore than I think that talking-as-writing will. I reckon that, as academic writers, we need to develop a range of strategies and resources, and work out which ones work for us, when and for what tasks. Just like any tools, academic writing strategies aren’t fit for all purposes. They do specific jobs. And after all, we are smart people aren’t we, and we can work out what works for us, even if it takes a bit of time…

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