The biggest problem with academic writing is that it is so, well, academic. It is especially true about students and amateurs who try to make their essays look as serious as possible, which usually results in them being virtually unreadable, with all the relevant information buried under long-winded turns of phrase, 5-syllable words and obscure references. But ‘academic’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘boring’. Let’s take a look at some surefire ways of writing both academically and interestingly.
1. Use Active Voice
Many students go out of their way to put as much passive voice into their essays as possible – they naively believe that it will make their speech sound more academic and serious. Unfortunately, they only succeed in making it boring – it is hard to say why, but there is something inherently tedious about passive constructions: they are cumbersome, uninspiring and awkward. Avoid them if it is at all possible.
2. Get to the Point
Wordiness is another nemesis of good, interesting writing. The fact that you write in sentences five lines long with lots and lots of enumerations and complex structures doesn’t show you as a clever and well-educated person. They show that you don’t know what to say and try to fill in the gaps with senseless rambling. Don’t delude yourself, your tutors know perfectly well what kind of trick you are trying to pull. Thus, write in short sentences, avoid overly long structures and paragraphs, cut away the excessive ‘fat’.
3. Talk to Your Audience
Another good old trick is using rhetorical questions and otherwise addressing the reader. Don’t make your essay look like one long monologue that you recite for your own benefit – it should at least feel interactive, you should acknowledge the existence of the reader and the thoughts he or she most likely has when reading your piece of writing. So talk to them!
4. Write about What You Are Interested in
Of course, it is not always possible – sometimes you are given a topic you couldn’t care less about. But even in this case there may be possibilities of finding something interesting about it – and at least it is better than feeling sorry about yourself because of the uninspiring task you have been given.
And you may be sure – if you manage to get yourself interested in what you are writing about, you will be able to interest your readers as well. So try to adjust your attitude and feel enthusiasm. Just don’t overdo it.
5. Know Your Audience
If you have any idea who you are writing for, you should employ this knowledge. What take on the topic in question do they expect? What kind of language is best used on them? What aspect of the topic they are likely to find the most interesting? Will it be appropriate to do so-and-so? Consider all these things and build the essay around them.
Academic writing may be tough, we all know this; but it doesn’t have to be boring either for the writer or the reader. Don’t hesitate to use these tips – and they will not fail to help you.