Professor Michael C. Munger of Duke University, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, offers “10 Tips on How to Write Less Badly,” something every graduate student should read.
As students make the shift from undergraduate studies to graduate school writing becomes crucial. According to Professor Munger, some talented people fail only because they write poorly.
“Many of the graduate students who were stars in the classroom during the first two years,” he writes, “suddenly aren’t so stellar anymore.”
Munger explains that some of the mediocre students go on to be published academics because they know how to write well.
Even though he offers a few obvious tips that encourage you to write a lot since “writing is an exercise” and “edit our work over and over,” there are some tips worth highlighting here.
“Everyone’s unwritten work is brilliant. And the more unwritten it is, the more brilliant it is.”
“Your most profound thoughts are often wrong. Or, at least, they are not completely correct. Precision in asking your question, or posing your puzzle, will not come easily if the question is hard.”
How well you write can make or break your career. Even though Munger doesn’t consider himself a good writer, “thinking about these tips, and trying to follow them myself,” he says he has “gotten to the point where I can make writing work for me and my career.”
Read the rest of the tips here.