Writing Tips from Dr. Brian Vickers

In the beginning of my Acts Exegesis seminar with Dr. Brian Vickers he gave us several tips on writing that I thought were helpful:

  • Stop using the backspace key: In this digital age we have trained ourselves to try and produce a perfect draft as we are writing. This causes a number of issues: 1) This does not allow us to freely write down all our thoughts. Indeed, we do learn as we write[1] If we are continually correcting what we are writing this hurts the development process 2) It falsely makes us think that our first draft is our final draft (see point below) 3) It develops a choppy and less coherent (maybe even incoherent!) paper.
  • Learn to write a horrible first draft: Much of what you write should not even make it to your final draft. Building on the point above, the writing process is one of learning and developing as you go.
  • Learn to just write: He suggests developing a good thorough outline. Don’t think of this as a static outline that you must conform your paper to but expect it to change, as it should, during the writing process. By having an outline it gives you a guide and destination to your writing. Too often people write without knowing where they are going or even where they will end. This is reflected in the final draft.
  • Develop a clear and articulate thesis: You should expect your thesis to take many drafts before its final form. I would also add that you should be in conversation with others about your thesis to help aid you in this endeavor.
  • Don’t wait untill the last minute: This should be self explanatory but don’t wait until the day before a writing project is due to gget started.

  1. See points 5 and 6 here.  ↩