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A Writer's Guide to Academia

by jocelyn Townsend 8 months ago in how to · updated 8 months ago
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A how to guide.

A Writer's Guide to Academia
Photo by Pickawood on Unsplash

A Writer's Guide to Academia: How to Write like an Academic

Step One: The Rough Draft

The first rule to academic writing is to clearly convey your ideas. This usually includes jotting down your thoughts in a way that is decodable to you at the current moment that you are in. What this means is that while your thoughts on paper will hardly resemble how they appeared in thought you have accurately scripted them and nothing was lost in translation.

In fact, you have already received a doctorate in adapting to the coding of your culture which now influences what you believe that you can read. All else is eligible; smiles mean nothing and wrinkles ONLY tell us about age, and nothing about the way a person has experienced life or the emotions that they felt because in academia we know emotions are biasing and do not help us make good decisions.

You know this to be true because a bald man told you it was; or was it a tall man or a bald eagle; or did the bald eagle tell the tall man who went bald through the process of empathy and his longing for his hair back made him emotionally numb, so we extracted emotion from academic writing out of empathy and try not to think too hard about THAT conundrum?

Nevertheless, You understand that 'B' must come after 'A' as it is melodically pleasing and you have been told so. Besides, 'A-C-B-D-E-F-G' just doesn't have the same ring. If you think it does, say it again, say it again, say it again, until the exhaustion makes you agree.

You have accepted that the use of silent letters, yet still find them unnecessary so 'sumtimes' intentionally spell 'fo-net-ic-ely'. However, when this is done you ALWAYS make it clear that your errors were intentional just incase one day you are not the ONLY audience of your externalized internal thought process. This potential future person must NOT think that you are stupid due to miss-spellings and YOU definitely will NEVER indicate in the 'ruf' draft that you are correcting the errorenous writing of your forefamily because a philosophy teacher once told you that if there is a simpler way it is probably the 'rite' way and a research teacher once told you that parsimony is a necessity of science. But the English languij conflicts with these doctorines.

So ur ruf draft is ACTUALLY an experiment in a parallel reality in which sum1 else is attempting to see if there is 1 ultim8 truth 'parsimony or complexity'. In an alternate reality you agree with this experiment, but in this one this is just a 'rough' draft.

Step Two: Checking the Rule Book and Making the Outline Website

During step two, you will thank google that it recalls the last time you visited Prudue or Owl or Eagle, or whatever the name of that website was the tells you the current rules. You use this because your current rule book is outdated by three days and you know your teacher is using an even older format but the majority of students will be using these sites and the majority rules. You know that despite this, you will be the only one to speak up for the majority so you charge forward begrudgingly and check the rule book website and practice your gentle argument until you sound with dove-like sweetness.

Feeling oppressed, you want to scream "screw the rules!" like the Charmed Ones did but that would be crazy. Then, remembering the famous proverb, "if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it did it make a sound?" you realize something that will forever change your thoughts on solitude: You are alone with no witness but the web-camera that may or may not be spying on you. Free of judgement from the external world you scream "Leo, screw the rules!" but it never happened because no one witnessed you- you think, or hope, and at other times do not care. You eye the web-camera suspiciously and decide to cover it with a post-it just in case.

Step Three: How to write an outline

Writing an outline: that's what you are here for...right? Not to squander your existence or distract yourself from the loss of your bestfriend over some gel pens and not knowing that she was into Captain Underpants in the forth grade. Who is Captain Underpants anyhow and was Commando a rebellion against him in a parallel universe? You try not to think of this in fear you may shit yourself and then wonder if you should write a book about a Professor Pee-Pads or something, just to keep up with the inside jokes, maybe call it Professor Porta-Potty, as that seems like where this guidebook is going. Maybe one day it will be a great toilet reader, but we don't know that yet. We know this is on how to write an outline for academia.

Start with an opening line, a hook, figuratively speaking, you are expected to know this and will fail if you leave just a "?" question-mark because it looks most like a hook compared to all the other available symbols on your keyboard.

Introduce your thesis and then explain what will come in all the paragraphs. This may be redundant but because you are aiming to write something so boring that NO ONE will WANT to read it twice you, so you must make sure everything is repeated thrice. This is to ensure that it is boring, the rule of three, because once it's been written three times, you won't have to read it twice. Right? So if I write this three times, you won't read it again, because that's the power of three. Hence WHY I prefer the number two, but my preference is not important because I'm an academic, and prefences suggest emotional biasing and I've still got a full head of hair, so clearly I am doing something right, right? So you write right things three time, so that they already read it more than twice in one sitting.

We must pretend not to have noticed the power of three to be a good academic but abide by it anyway. We repeat ideas three times: once in the intro, once in its' body paragraph and once in the closing paragraph. You realize this is a lot like acupressure points and organs but the parallel will confuse your audience because you have been taught that they do not know how to think, so you omit it. You omit mentioning that you started to question whether or not they CAN think because you THINK you can think, but then you realize you aren't actually thinking because you are WRITING and studies show we don't multitask effectively. Besides you ARE NOT a thinker; you are an academic.

You structure your body paragraphs as if it is human and do not think about the diversity of body types, because in academia, diversity does not exist. It has a neck and hips and knees. These joints are where you clearly state what you will explain in the paragraph, where it closes and a new one begins. Your writing is structured like a human you created, a baby of sorts. Like humans, academics have decided that there is a formulated perfection in which everyone must strive for and subjective preferences are not real because they are based on emotional reasoning, which serves no purpose but to cause longing and baldness. And longing we are told by the monks, the bald men, is suffering. No one ever shaves their heads because they want to and attachment to your baby may be perceived as coddling. You must shape your baby into a human, school it, as if it is not more than clay, hardly real. This too is how you write. Your writing cannot come out as it was meant to be because it says something about you, this would be too complex and require a new superhero be created like Professor Porta-Potty in order to process.

Once you have organized your writing to look like a human drawn by a seven year old with promising artistic abilities you move on to the next step: make your writing look like Barbie-less human, more plastic.

Step Three Three and a half: Writing Your First Draft (make your writing look like Barbie)

First you take a break, the outline took a lot out of you, that's why they call it an outline. So you take a break. It was too much and for a small bit of time you need to acknowledge that you have already been schooled to know emotions.

You forgot about wanting to write and why you wanted to in the first place because you edited your ideas out of existence. Step three and a half is about the 'have tos': Now you 'have to' start reformulating your ideas back into the external world for an audience who also wants to screw the rules and finds this to be a waste of labour and time and will likely dislike your writing in its' new form but applaud it anyways because they do not want to admit that you made them feel stupid because the rules were so frustrating to decode. You have to do this because you are commited financially and professionally. You will have to fill in all the information that you have organized in your outline and make sure that you look at other people's work afterwards. Then you will have to source them so that you can explain that this wasn't your original idea. You have to do this to be humble, not because of the demands of academia to conform to arbitrary rules which include thanking deceased old bald men for having had a similar tought to you. Your willingness to do this is definitely not because you are questioning your self-worth after being made to feel worthless through a process that degrades your creativity. That wouldn't be parsimonious. Parsimony would be that you must have subconsciously picked up on these ideas as you walked through an IndigoChapters one day while skimming book titles; the contents of the books must of fluttered through the sky like an invisible ghost that broke your heart before I met..No, you can't think about that or the gel pens, you have to think about the first draft, but this IS part of the process too. So you TRY not to think about it and leave it for Professor Pee-Pants Pads to solve, or maybe this one's for Professor Porta-Potty because it's kind of smelly and should be cleared out. And you know despite the two P3's being a figment of your imagination, they are NOT you, because you are an academic.

So you fill out these body paragraphs, introduction and conclusion, so that it looks like some sort of Barbie. This doesn't take too much work because Barbies are rather small and skinny, relatively speaking. You don't think about the fact that your favourite Barbie was 'Horseback Riding Barbie' and that she had hinge joints at the knee because Mattel has allowed for greater diversity than academia does. You try not to think about this because you might cry and emotions cause balding and you are wanting to be an academic, so you don't cry, instead you research how emotions are made to convince yourself that they don't really exist, just a cultural phenomenon. You don't think about the table you are writing on or your 'self' and the fact that both are a cultural phenomenon and seem real despite both sometimes being recognized as a perching ledge by your cat who sees your writing as nothing but hypnotic light and your keyboard as a butt-warmer. That type of thinking is for Professor Porta-Potty and you aren't Professor Professor Porta-Potty, you are an academic. So you reference other people in acknowledgement that your thoughts are no longer your own, with little acknowledgement that those who shared similar thoughts are doing the exact same thing -humbling their creativity for social acceptance. When you see someone from a different culture do some of what you did before you were schooled, you will smile as if your heart is exuding an ebullient joy that cannot be repressed, but then you will nearly cry knowing that smile was a cultural phenomenon, you don't because now your emotions are numbed and you are able to carry out dehumanizing policies and experiments because you are educated, an academic, and your writing will be as plastic perfect as Barbie, like all babies should be. We are academics, we do not laugh. Our work isn't funny and emotions are biasing.

Step Four: Peer Review Process and Editing

You send you work to be reviewed. Here you are further dehumanized because the process has taught your peers that this is normal. Critiquing is necessary and even if you don't know how to do it constructively, because that's not important to teach, this is what you are supposed to do to be kind. They correct your run-on sentences, because the run-on was used conventionally to convey an emotion and those are a 'no-no'.

No one questions this because this is academia and we are only allowed to have certain types of questions. We don't try to decode other people by getting to know them in order to understand their writing. This is reserved for the famous, the ones that we study in English class and exalt because the academy told us to. We don't question stress as a sign of 'disease', and we DO NOT parse that word. We never parse THAT word, we leave that to Captain Professor Porta-Potty and Captain Professor Pee-Pad because this is the stuff that takes team work to digest. What we do is wait for the approval of a bald man and encorporate the edits because we are tired but afraid to admit that.

Step Five through Seven: The final three steps.

Step 5:You submit your work to a tall bald man, likely with blue eyes who will grade it. If you get perfect, you failed yourself, the self you were before you learned your A-B-Cs, when A-C-B was still an option. If you fail, you failed after all your hard work, but you don't have feelings, right?

Step 6: When you get your paper back you have a moment with this man. Not really though because everything is online now, but you have it in your head, where most things are still true and un-editted, so in a way you do, it feels real. You don't think about your feelings though You don't think You are an academic You feel. (note to 'self' insert punctuation afterwards)

You look at him; he looks at you, sad and solemn. Then he smiles, you smile back and this time it pours into your heart from the outside in and you don't care about your grade, but this is still in your head. The bald man has entered your psyche, he keeps you company. You smile, you have emotions, they are joyous and then he morphs into an eagle and flies away and you are alone in your mind with your stress. Feeling for once, completely alone with your peers- your stress, you write as you suffer. This is necessary to keep writing, it connects you to something bigger than yourself, even if it is just an idea of a metamorphosis.

Step 7: You scratch your head to feel if you are real; the itch is real. If the itch is real and the itch is on you, then you must too also be real, you think. But the thinking is overwhelming you feel. So you lay your head in your hands and find that a clump of hair has fallen out, stress does this, so does dis-ease, but that isn't for you to know- we all know who THAT is for and it's not you; you are an academic, this is for Monseur Porta-Potty a.k.a Captain P3 the second.

You look for the suggestions made by the bald man and add them in before submitting to a journal and wait for a rejection letter. By this point you know you are suffering. You are delusional and despite all of their attempts to prevent this, you have become the bald man, despite aswell having tried to sever yourself from empathy and identifying as a woman.

You are now the bald man because academics attach sex with genderized social scripts and you have no emotions, so you cannot be female or non-binary because nothing about you is creative, or empathetic or emotional because you are balding NOW and baldness is associated with masculinity and not due to any genetic diseases which impact people regardless of ovaries or impact people solely with ovaries, no, never, no, never, no never. Three times so you know it's true. You are now the bald man, monk like in wisdom, an academic.

Now your body is changing, and that's when you remember what you should not know about. In the process of changing you recall a past life, realize that suffering is cyclical and almost impossible to be liberated from the bald man, the professor, the monk who became an eagle, well, once YOU were an eagle, a bald one at that. And the eagle, the monk, and the bald men sang like a dove.

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jocelyn Townsend

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