Given the choice between Scrivener, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs, which would you choose?
Institutions are pretty strict about the format in which a thesis should be submitted. However, there are no rules about what word processing application you can use during the writing process.
How you decide which application to use depends primarily on your budget, your writing style, and what features you need.
In this post, we’ll compare Scrivener, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs. We’ll go over the strengths and weaknesses of each, so that you can make the best choice for you. After that, your thesis writing process will (hopefully) be smooth sailing.
The worst advice I’ve ever been given to beat writer’s block can be summed up in two words: just start. Let me tell you why that advice sucks.
First, there is nothing more terrifying than a blinking cursor on a blank page combined with high expectations.
Do you have a million ideas and no idea which one to choose?
Do you have a quickly approaching deadline?
Are you a perfectionist?
Whatever form your high expectations take, being told to just start is a recipe for disaster. Staring at a blank page is the surest way for me to do just about anything else instead.
Second, when someone tells you to just start, they rarely if ever tell you where to start. Put another way, they never tell you what to start with. It’s like giving you a box of furniture parts and some tools, but no instruction manual.
There are two ways to approach this situation.
You might abandon the task entirely, which is entirely fair. They put you in an impossible situation!
Alternatively, you might break down and choose a place to start that looks straightforward enough. But it would be a lot easier if you had a piece of paper that enumerated each of the steps for you.
For most of us, the stakes are too high to go with the first option, so we figure out where to start eventually.
For those of you who are new here, the hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. This month I’m talking about how to write an abstract.
One thing that I actually was taught to do that would benefit me academically is writing abstracts. Moreover, I was taught, as part of a graduate seminar on Ancient Medicine in Winter 2018, how to write an abstract before writing the paper.
Up until that point, I had only ever been confident in my ability to write abstracts based on papers I’d already written, and I’m sure most people can relate. Submitting an abstract based on a paper you haven’t written yet is scary.
On the one hand, this nebulous idea that’s floating around in your head has to be coherent enough to be accepted.
On the other hand, if it does get accepted, you’ve actually got to do the work, write the paper, and present it. Woof.
As it turns out, that lesson was extremely useful as I did go on to submit the abstract to CAMWS in 2019 and it was accepted. In the end, however, I decided to withdraw from the conference when the pandemic hit and everything went online.
Since then, I have become more and more comfortable with writing abstracts based on ideas rather than full-blown research papers and happen to be in the midst of writing one now. So, I thought it would be a good time to share what I’ve learned from the process as part of the hidden curriculum series.
The hidden curriculum series is back! For those of you who are new here, the hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. Since I signed up for a Dissertation ECoach last term, I thought I’d share a few tips that I found most helpful from it.
Dissertation ECoach – What is it?
The Dissertation ECoach is an interactive digital messaging tool that draws on dissertation writing strategies to affect graduate students’ writing practice. It was developed by several teaching and writing centers at the University of Michigan, and ran weekly for the duration of the Winter term (Jan-Apr).
Through the ECoach portal, graduate students who are starting to write their dissertation receive personalized messages that influence a positive writing process. The personalized feedback that students receive helps them engage with more effective writing practices.