Most academic writing fails to captivate the professors that read it. Why does student writing fail to grab our attention, and what can we do to fix this problem?
Our details are left in the dust as we try to get our essays done in a timely fashion. Just writing blindly and not returning later to fix arrangement and go into greater detail makes a number of our papers feel incomplete to the reader. We need to go deeper into the issues that we bring up in order to hold onto our readers until the end.
Student writing typically tends to leave out connections. Even if we have the skills to include the perfect amount of detail and explanation, what application does that have to other disciplines. Having the ability to pull back our scope and connect what we are writing about to other studies is not only a huge advantage over others, but it also creates a much more interesting read for our audience.
Learning to think across disciplines is part of being enrolled in a liberal arts education. We are supposed to gain a basic knowledge of the way all schools of thought are laid out so that we can realize the importance of all of them and use them in the real world.
Tone is of utmost importance in all of writing, not just for academic reasons. Many writers that are my age pay no attention to their tone, they are all just writing to get the assignment done. If we were to all go back and read the essay in the tone we want our work to be received in, we would have much better flow in our papers.
Another subject that young writers seem to struggle with is word choice. A fad among some writers is that they think that adding a bunch of random words from a thesaurus will make their work interesting. What we need to realize is that words will only work to our advantage if we are familiar with them. We need to know the context, and have an intentional definition to form a sentence that does what we want it to; get into our readers head.
At this level of writing, we need to know how to introduce a problem, and then solve it with our writing. If we know what problems our reader will get invested in, even better. It is absolutely necessary to develop concepts into the writing instead of just having them appear.
Argumentation is arguably the most important piece of writing, and we have to know how to use it in order to make our papers interesting. Anyone can throw a quote into a paper, but what really makes it your knowledge is when you can argue and explain what you have brought in.
Doing free writing with random concepts being thrown in is a great way to introduce our minds into the connection making process, but that is just the first step. Now we must take what we have learned, and apply it to our papers in all of our classes. Transfer what we are learning, and we will learn even more.