I am a PhD student (in the UK, and part-time, member of faculty at the same time)
But I struggle to write well and fast. To quote my supervisor:
The greatest weakness [of your report] is a ground hog day feel to it. I feel like you've woken up and started your narrative afresh at various places (this may be the reality) but a more consistent effort could improve efficiency of expression and clarity.
If effort alone solved this, I wouldn't be asking this question, but this does point to a long-standing problem. I am a slow, painstaking writer, with a history of overcoming impairment / clumsy pen-holding. Even in my native language (French) and in any topic.
My usual "strategy" has been to accept that limit and work with it, by:
- Focusing on science (computing was transformational for me at school, thanks to typing and programming Maths/Science homework)
- Displacing writing with work that provides material - preparing diagrams, software, bibliographies, synthetic tables, that can make their way in the work
- "pre-writing" - like a procrastinator using pre-commitment, writing for a conference paper because the short term and specific focus kick-starts a short document
- "recycling" writing. Starting again appears to fail, so I rework existing wording and presentations, e.g. merging an earlier report with a conference paper and new material; torturing sentences to adapt them to a new order...
- Building a top-down structure first, and focusing on structure - to avoid the patchwork quilt impression that re-using written material would leave.
- I have tried recording myself, as my speech can be clearer, but this has proved very inefficient too - suddenly a lot of umming and erring; speaking above family is also not always an option.
But (as well as still being a lot of work) this results in the poor efficiency of expression and lack of clarity that my supervisor remarks. At worst, the work can be a collection of tables, diagrams, bibliographic notes, commented to give them context. Hopefully it is not always as bad, but:
- What other strategies would you recommend?
- My "paradigm" has been to accept, my limited writing. What practices would help me change paradigm? If am not limited to my history, what would I do to level up?