Posted in Thesis reflections

“You are trying to sound too scholarly.”

Another great piece of advice from a friend. “I think you are trying to sound too scholarly.”

I’ve been researching, reading and making notes for months. I have found my common themes for my literature review and I have finally started to actually write. The problem is, I want it to be perfect. Even draft #1. So I tried to make it sound like all the articles I’ve read. I thought it was brilliant.

I shared my initial attempt with a friend a few days ago (because of course I need it to be perfect before I share it with my advisor – I know, I know…) and I received great feedback again:

  • Kelly, I think you are trying to sound too scholarly.
  • You are assuming everyone will know what you are talking about.
  • You have to unpack this and use YOUR voice.
  • Write like you talk to me.

Of course at first hearing this, I felt like I failed at my first attempt. But then quickly realized that I had to embrace this learning. My first opening sentence had six concepts that I assumed everyone would understand. Yes, six. We circled them. That made me laugh out loud.

I ended up tossing and turning all night, rewriting while I tried to sleep. And when I got up the next morning, I just started typing as if I was talking. I took that one opening sentence and turned it into a page and a half, without referring to any notes from any of my articles. I just used my thinking, my experiences and my voice. And I believe it’s more real. It’s more ME.

I think I’ve been thinking too hard. I think I need to think less. I actually found an article to support that thinking this morning 🙂


Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board Vice-Principal

4 thoughts on ““You are trying to sound too scholarly.”

  1. Kelly – you continually impress me with your discerning self-reflective attitude, candour and the way you incorporate collaborative feedback. Interesting interplay between the striving for perfection, creativity, and ideally tempered by a ‘mind-letting-go’ concept as the article you cited alluded to. Seems like you’re on the way to mastering the dynamic. So much to learn from you. Happy productivity… 🙂


  2. Can totally relate to this Kelly. I find the less I think of how to sound and just say it the way I would say it to someone I was talking to, the art of writing becomes so much more fun!!

    Thanks for sharing.

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