Writing Habits

Many, many times, I’ve heard people (especially students, oddly) say some variant on the following: “If we write in text-speak all the time, we won’t be able to turn it off when we need to write for some kind of professional audience.”

My response, usually: bah. With practice, we can turn our writing habits on and off for different communities, genres, audiences, settings, and so on.

But: lately, as I’ve been drafting like mad my article on remix literacies, I find two habits keep sneaking into my academic writing unexpectedly:

  1. Professional writing habits: I write so many emails with lots of headings, short paragraphs, and bulleted lists that it’s hard to put those aside occasionally in favor of more fully developed paragraphs.
  2. Creative nonfiction writing habits: I’m having trouble gauging how much my target journal (shooting for the top: Computers and Composition) wants artful analogies, prodigious first person, narrative asides, and so on.

Now, both of these things, contrary as they may seem, are things I’d like to see more of in published scholarship, and I have no problem being a voice in favor of their slow leakage into academic journals. But it’s interesting to see how much these feel like habits that are hard to break, that I’m sort of defaulting into, and which in heavy-revision mode I’ll have to decide which to keep. Perhaps this is what it feels like 2 writers who R used 2 abbrvtd stylz. (Or not?)


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