Growth Mindset for Academic Writing

Academic writing is not my strong suit. I finished my masters degree in 1994. It had been over 20 years since I had written anything for a course that wasn’t a lesson plan or a reflection when I started to write my first paper in the summer of 2016. That first paper was excruciatingly hard. If I could wish for anything, it would be to be able to write quicker. I’m a pretty good writer but I am SLOW. If I am “on a roll” it will take me about 3 hours to write a page (about 250 words). But it takes about 2-3 full days of focussed work to get on a roll. This luxury of time is available to me in the summer, but not during the school year, so I have really struggled with my courses during the fall and winter terms. I love the research part though. Searching out sources, reading, reading and reading some more, defining words (remember those vocab lists from my first post?), going down “rabbit holes” into interesting topics that are not-exactly-but-maybe-relevant (to justify the time), making connections and then, finally, there’s no more time. It’s time to write or die. All the profs said to write daily. They said to get into a daily habit of writing without fail. If only I had listened to them! But I thought, “How can I write until I’ve finished the research?” Looking back, I see that I also did not allow myself to be a novice. After having supported Grade 12 students for 15 years as they learned how to write argumentative essays and editing those essays, I felt that I should be able to do it easily. I had to get it right the first time, without major edits and it had to be brilliant! These thoughts are paralyzing. Well, I believe in a growth mindset, not just for my students, but for myself as well. I have a lot of writing left in this degree. I can develop the habit of writing daily. I think I just started that habit about 4/100 days ago. #100LSreflections #100dayproject.

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