Write It Up, Paul J. Silvia

What’s this, then? Second review in two weeks? A book by the same author as last week?

Yes, I really did enjoy How to Write a Lot just that much. Fortunately for me, the two of these books I actually purchased last year on recommendation from one of my advisors, who was also finding them very useful, so I actually had both just sitting on my bookshelf, silently mocking me along with the rest of my somewhat garganuatuan TBR pile. Well, no more!

Write It Up isn’t written as hilariously as How to Write a Lot, I will say that. There are definitely comical elements to it (honestly, it’s worth reading these books for the anecdotal examples alone), but on the whole this contains a lot more solid, to-the-point advice for young scholars unsure how to go about the planning, writing, submission, revision, and publication of journal articles (primarily, though other written forms are discussed).

Ordinarily, I view writing guides or advice books with a suspicious eye and cynical attitude, because there are literally thousands of them an they all claim magical ways of increasing productivity/output/quality and so forth. What I like about this author is his blatant acknowledgement that there is no magic formula for writing or publishing, and lays out a reasonable path for you to get from point A to point published. This is an actually useful writing guide, which these days is somewhat akin to picking up a pebble on the sidewalk and finding out there’s a diamond on the underside.

This book is very much geared toward the academic writer, and even then more so the science writers rather than the humanities writers. That in no way impacts the utility of the advice to social science writers, it just means that the authors examples tend toward his own area (psychology, just in case you were wondering).

Well worth picking this up as a grad student or early-career researcher, or even established scholar wanting to shake things up a little and improve output or time management!


Image credits: my photograph of my copy of the book.

Categories: Personal Improvement

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