I’m thinking this applies to writing by academics and writing taught in the first-year writing classroom. In other words, this seems incredibly relevant for the writing I do and the writing I ask my students to do.
What if academic prose could aspire to be an art form in its own right, equal to any other mode of creative expression? What would be lost and what would be gained in thinking this way?
Lead with the point you most want to make. Don’t hold anything back. Strive to get to the point right away. Don’t let the reader get impatient.
Don’t pander. Challenge the reader, make him or her stretch to get what you mean, to get what doesn’t come easily or right away. Challenge yourself as a writer to stretch what you mean, but don’t lose all control of your meaning. Don’t get carried away by what sounds nice or impressive.
The best measure I’ve found for determining good academic writing is whether or not it makes me want to write. If reading something makes me want to stop immediately and go to the computer with…
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