As a student, you need to learn how to write your papers properly in accordance with the highest academic standards. You write because you want to get good marks that will help you to find a well-paid job that eventually can help you to pay the debt contracted for affording your elitist university studies.
If you consider that it is not enough and you have enough financial possibilities for continuing your studies, you will enroll for some coursework as a post-graduate and even as a PhD candidate, and even more, in post PhD classes where your writing skills will be permanently needed. You should write and read continuously to prepare your papers, but also to submit articles to various academic publications. You need to get ready to write your dissertation and to also think about publishing your research in books.
Sometimes, you may even be requested to edit other people’s books. In order to expand your academic credentials and to win visibility among your academic peers, you should submit abstract after abstract for participating in conferences where, you guessed correctly, you will need to write papers intended to present your academic results to the noble audience.
I am not sure now if academic life requests more writing than reading skills, but in any case, writing could be considered the confirmation of the academic qualities of anyone aspiring to a prestigious position in the academia.
Writing is a noble activity and there are many people who cannot live without writing and sharing their ideas in words. On the other hand, you might have a reason for doing it, besides answering to the hard pressure of the academic life, right? I am not part of the academic establishment myself, but I can confirm that many of those I know who are there succeeded with tremendous effort and sacrifice. The quantity and quality of the academic writing – I avoid referring to academic production, but sometimes I feel that you should be like a machine producing ideas and words night and day – is a reliable business card for being accepted in the academia. When you introduce yourself you should necessarily mention, as in the case of many biographies of authors in publications such as The New York Review of Books, the last book edited or published. And if you did not produce one yet, at least you need to assure your audience that you have worked on the manuscripts of at least two amazing books.
I do not intend to present a cynical picture, but I suppose that in the middle of the fight for academic recognition, you might ask yourself at least once a day: why I am writing? What do I want to change through my work? What new things do I want to add to my academic domain and to what extent can I improve, correct and develop current studies in this field?
Only by having such questions in mind permanently can we give a sense to our temptation to write as much as possible. We should also assume that some articles are good, and some do not say anything interesting, and thus it is better to delay the publication. Sometimes it is too early to say something; sometimes it is better to invest more in refreshing your style. Take a break, enjoy the summer and relax because even though you did not write something in the last 12 months, it does not mean that you are an academic failure.
Ana Dinescu is a regular contributor to University of Venus and a journalist for ten years for Romanian daily newspapers and is currently a communications consultant, living in Berlin.