books

Reflections on writing my monograph 1

I am currently contracted to complete my monograph, with Routledge, at the end of 2016. I have been writing it like mad recently. Not ‘from scratch’ though as the research is from my doctorate. Reformulating and developing sections of my research, and making it more accessible, is enjoyable most of the time, but not always.

Revisiting my writing and ideas when they were meant for a fairly closed group, and now trying to envisage a global audience is not always easy: e.g. teacher-researchers interested in writing, lecturers and academics in the sociology of education. The book is entitled Assignments as controversies, and explores case-studies of assignment writing in the situational contexts of classrooms.

At the moment I envisage eight chapters, and four of them are ready in draft form. The easy four, not the first four. That is always my personal rule: start with the bits you like best and then run with it.

Always in need of inspiration, I have picked up some of the most useful writing tips that have helped me get going with this project. They’re from various leading writers, and I hope you also find them beneficial:

To ensure that you proceed slowly, write by hand. (Annie Proulx)

Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.(David Ogilvy)

Style ought to prove that one believes in an idea; not only that one thinks it but also feels it. (Nietzsche)

Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. (Neil Gaiman)

Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are ok (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out – they can be got right only by ear). (Diana Athill)

Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? (George Orwell)

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Text of Ghazali’s ‘Ihya ulum al-din’ | ibrar bhatt

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