One of the most challenging types of writing anyone will face is academic writing. The sheer volume of this genre can be overwhelming. Getting the formats right, proofreading in class with people who probably have no idea how to write that particular assignment either, and all other forms of struggle are the bread and butter of college life. Here are a few Writing Workshop books you should always have handy at your desk:
Can I Use I? Because I Hate, Hate, Hate College Writing by Catherine Prendergast
This book is not only a seriously useful tool, it’s full of laughs! Catherine Prendergast breaks down everything you need to know about writing in college. Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she openly admits that she hated her introductory writing class. The major focus of the book is to take the guess work out of assignments and to tackle them with confidence and tact. It is not just good for the beginner, it is a great refresh tool to have on hand. To answer the title question, Yes, but this book is far more than it seems.
How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing by Paul Silvia
This book about writing is by a Psychologist! Stay with me. One of the culprits of writer’s block and barriers is mentally preparing yourself to write. Silvia created an easy guide for overcoming lapses in motivation, finding the time to write productively and overall, how to become a more effective writer. The book also covers how to write to publish and gives tips at doing so. The academic mind is full of brilliant ideas; we just need to get them onto paper.
A Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H. Abrams
Everyone needs to constantly work on their vocabulary. Our lexicon as a collective society is ever-growing, so why should the writer ever be satisfied with the amount of words they use and know. This book is not just for the Literature Scholar. Abrams’ book is full to the brim with words like “Bildungsroman” and the difference between a parable and a fable. The book almost reads like a “Choose your own adventure;” it’s easy to get lost for hours. The tenth edition is currently being sold (as the original was published 50 years ago) and it is constantly changing and updating as new words come into play.
Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory by Roy Blount Jr.
Yeah, that whole thing is the title, but it gives you a good idea of what you’re in for. This book is intense. The sheer volume of information in this text is astounding. It’s a great “One chapter (letter) every night” read and it will fill your head with anything and everything about the world of words!
Remember, your brain can always get better.