November 8

10 signs you’re a scholarly writer

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    A little levity for your Friday afternoon. Do these 10 signs apply to you? Well, then you, my friend, are just might be a scholarly writer:

    1. Every time you sit down to write, you think, “I should really read just one more article before starting the writing process.” Twenty hours of reading later, you’re still not quite ready. Maybe tomorrow.

    2. You spend so much time thinking about your research that you can hardly have a normal dinner conversation without saying something like, “You know, that reminds me of something I found in my research!” And the eyes of your dinner partner glaze over for the next 20 minutes.

    3. It’s hard for you to write more than two sentences in a row without citing a reference.

    4. When reading other scholarly writing, you often think, “Wow, I could write so much better than that. Why doesn’t this journal publish me?! Must be political.”

    5. You twitch with uncertainty every time you start a sentence with “I” or “we,” as if your reader would be surprised that the research was conducted by a real person.

    6. You consider the oft-cited advice to avoid the “passive voice” annoying and fairly unhelpful.

    7. Why use preposterously simple language or ludicrously compact sentences, when, clearly, a plethora of adverbial clauses and phrases of nominalized origin would more accurately portray the esteem that you hope to garner from your reader?

    8. You read fiction secretly, and with much guilt, because you know you should be reviewing literature, but you just can’t put down that true crime thriller! (Or is it the vampire romance novel? Be honest.)

    9. You wonder if you could ever hack it as a fiction writer. They seem to make a lot of money, they get published every year, and sometimes they even get a movie deal! Chances of your research ever becoming a movie? Even your mom wouldn’t watch a movie about your research.

    10. You secretly fantasize about getting a normal 9-5 job, and you once even put your CV on monster.com. No calls yet, but there’s always a lingering hope.

    What's another sign? Comment with your own tell-tale sign you're a scholarly writer below, and I'll add it to the list! Let's keep this going. Don't forget to share with a scholarly writer friend.


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