Friday, July 8, 2011

Favorite Writing Resources?

I was just glancing over the comments on Notorious Ph.D.'s/ADM's writing group (which I totally plan to join this fall, by the way--I just missed the first couple of weeks this summer and got out of sync), and something completely obvious occurred to me:

Writing an extensive, independent research paper without strong external direction/guidelines does not come naturally to (almost) anyone. (I expect that there are exceptions. Incredibly enviable exceptions. But we aren't going to talk about them.)

Now, I knew this from my own experience, of course. But I also serve as second reader on all those pesky Honors thesis committees (by which I mean, ALL of the pesky--and even the rare non-pesky--Honors thesis committees at Field College), and undergraduate students, quite understandably, haven't really figured this out. They've never had to write such a paper. They're used to deadlines and people making them do things, and then doing said things often in haste, at the last minute, and under tremendous stress.

As we all know, that system doesn't work well for...well, almost anything, but you can probably pull it off on a 5-page paper. Not, however, on a thesis.

So what I'd like to do is to compile a list of resources, websites, and tips for students who are struggling with motivation, scheduling, organizing, drafting, etc. etc. And what better place to go than to the blogosphere? Since so many of you have blogged so beautifully and brilliantly about such things in the past?

I ask, therefore, that you comment with your favorite resources, motivators, organizers, what-have-you. Feel free to just remind me of a post that you've already written on the subject, too. I do plan to look around and do some of the work myself, but I'm very likely to miss some things--so I would love love LOVE your suggestions! And my students would love them even more!

(And let's not forget the thesis advisors and readers out there, who are surely as frustrated as I am when students don't even start writing until December.... Think of this as service! Tenure file, here we come!!)


Clarissa said...

Stupid Motivational Tricks ( is my favorite writing / motivational resouce. The suggestions are clear-cut, intelligent and easy to follow.

Get a Life, PhD! is another great resource:

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Glad you'll be joining us in the fall!

Something that one of the group participants suggested was the "pomodoro method." I looked it over, and the whole thing can get a bit complex, but I plan on introducing my students to the timer part, gradually working up from 10 minutes to 25 of undistracted reading or writing at a stretch, followed by a 3-4 min break, followed by another stretch, until you've got 5 put together, then a longer break. Building up the attention span seems key.

Good Enough Woman said...

I am SO excited about this thread since I need this help. I'm on the road right now, but I'll try to think about some sources, and I can't wait to get all of the resources from others. Thank, heu!

undine said...

I can't think of the specific ones right now, but I have posts tagged "writing inspiration" that are mostly grabbed from somewhere else.

heu mihi said...

Thanks, all! This is a good start. I'll keep looking (and maybe post a full[ish] list when I've put one together for my students).

Anonymous said...

That's what I like from you; how you open your mind to receive suggestions and sharing opinions. I hate persons who just ignore what people around say.