Writing Tips: How to Peel Back Layers of an Onion

Good morning…

The topic that is in the wind for us this week is the idea of the big picture process of writing, particularly for the graduate thesis and doctoral dissertation. Many students often struggle with moving from writing assignments for class to writing the final project.  Why? Writing for the graduate these and the doctoral dissertation is more circular and less linear.

Ideally, a student (or any writer) has developed a writing system. (see How to Create a Writing video: www.YouTube.com/DrCherylLentz). The writing system has a way of overall organization to include the template of all elements such as title page, table of contents, introduction, body, conclusion, references, appendices etc.  In addition, this system looks at what needs to be done and in what order or sequence.  Does a student simply start writing or start researching?  These layers of an onion are the complexity of writing.  Many different systems may be needed as part of this overall writing strategy to accomplish the end result.

The challenge for many students is when one comes to the many levels of review during the editing phase as one digs into the evolution of the process.  As one completes the first draft and sends to the Chair, there will be many comments to begin the process of updating and adjustment.  With every draft of the revision is another evolution—peeling back yet another layer of the onion. Students get frustrated feeling as if they have wasted their time with all the elements that are often deleted as part of the process.  WRITING IS NOT A WASTE OF TIMETo get to the last layer of the onion, one has to peel back ALL of the ones that came before.  What you know TODAY is a culmination of everything that has come before and that was NECESSARY to get to this next part of the journey.   Getting to the next step is not possible without the previous step.  Nothing is EVER a waste; it is simply part of the learning process.

Therefore, my best advice is to be patient with yourself AND the process.  Keep peeling back the next layer and the next layer of that onion, to see what treasures lie beneath the surface.

Please take the time to share your process.  The graduate thesis and doctoral dissertation are not adventures we can do alone.  It takes a village to raise a student. Enjoy the journey!

My best,  Dr. C
The Academic Entrepreneur

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July 3rd, 2017 by admin

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