Are you a writing snacker or a binger?

The second virtual DTP skills session was aimed at helping students cultivate writing habits to make writing enjoyable and more productive. In this interactive writing workshop under the guidance of Dr Jenny Rivas Perez, students reflected on writing goals and exchanged advice on overcoming writing barriers.

Research in the 1990s categorised academics as snackers or bingers, based on those who were writing often and those who only wrote when there was an impending deadline, cramming all writing in a couple of days. Exploring this concept further, students in the DTP skills session discussed the benefits and drawbacks of writing and not writing. Highlights from this discussion included “a better understanding of the topic” and “helping pick out knowledge gaps” as benefits of writing. Surprisingly, there are benefits to not writing, such as “having a moment of reflection” or “stepping away from writing to be in the lab or going about your daily activities”. However, prolonged writing inactivity can have drawbacks too since “it can be really hard to fill the gap(s) of not writing”. For instance, having to refer to potentially five lab books when writing your thesis can be a big time-sink. Conversely, allocating time to write a summary of your daily endeavours is essentially writing to yourself in the future, making information readily available.

“Until you start writing about what you think you know, you don’t realise the gaps in your logic” suggested Dr Jenny Rivas Perez

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