Mar 282013
 

That’s the subtitle of my favourite blog on academic writing, “Stupid Motivational Tricks,” authored (primarily) by Jonathan Mayhew, a Professor of Spanish at the University of Kansas, who is a friend of mine and has been since our days in the sun in graduate school at Stanford. I have mentioned Mayhew’s work earlier, in my post on “The Plain Style.”

Mayhew’s blog is notable for its winsome erudition and a tart, funny and hyper-lucid prose style. Its focus on practical strategies for actually putting words on the page is unmatched among scholarly blogs and books I’ve seen. His insights on the latter include ways to divide one’s days and weeks rationally, how to use one’s non-writing time to resolve intellectual and creative problems, and how best to interact with one’s peers.

All of these insights are “portable,” and can help you become more productive in your own workplace. His blog is worth bookmarking as a resource for all writers.

I quite like Mayhew’s recent posts on “creative uses of theory,” like this one called “The Theoretical Reading“: It is said that if you don’t have theory, you will be relying on an unstated theory, unreflectively. That is true. Not having a theory or not having theory will not make you into a creative reader! In fact, you are likely to have very dull ideas, in the same way that someone who knows nothing of poetry is likely to write a poem about flowers that rhymes.

Full disclosure: A few years ago I made one post on this estimable blog. It was titled “Detecting BS.”


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