Writing is a critical skill for academics but is rarely explicitly taught at universities. Since 2004, I have worked with many academics who, while experts in their fields, sold themselves short with poor writing skills. This is why I became a trainer – to give people strategies to improve their own writing.
I run training workshops on the writing process at universities around Australia. I find that half-day workshops are perfect — you’re not out of the office for the whole day and, as opposed to a full-day course, you don’t have to worry about your energy levels crashing halfway through!
What topics do you teach?
I have two signature workshops.
Getting the story right: writing the first draft
Many people find a blank page (or screen) daunting and rush to fill it with text they wrote for other documents. Poor structure results form a lack of planning about who the document is for and what its purpose is. In this half-day workshop, you will learn how to get it right from the start, by planning the content and creating text that flows logically. You will create an outline for your document and then start writing the first draft.
By the end of the workshop, you will be able to:
• analyse a document’s audience and purpose
• create a detailed document plan
• write a draft that follows a logical structure.
Creating engaging content: polishing the final draft
Unfortunately, incomprehensible sentences are a common occurrence in many technical publications. But it doesn’t have to be this way! In this workshop, you will learn how to tighten up your draft and say what you mean, without forsaking accuracy. You will also learn about the copyediting and proofreading stages of the publication process.
By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:
• look at your own work objectively
• apply simple principles to make your text a pleasure to read
• copyedit and proofread your manuscript.
My experience as an editor means that these workshops are full of useful tips that address common problems in academic writing. Participants learn through practical exercises and also have the opportunity to apply their new-found skills to their own writing. By the end of the workshops, participants have a step-by-step process that they can use to create, refine and polish any piece of writing.
How much do the workshops cost?
Each half-day course costs $1500+GST for up to 20 participants, plus accommodation and travel costs from Canberra. The price includes training materials for each participant; the host organisation is responsible for providing a venue.
How do I book a workshop?
Thank you for your wonderful workshop ‘Getting the story right: Writing the first draft’. I have been suffering from ‘Can’t get started’ disease and your workshop helped me immensely. What I really found helpful was the workbook exercises alongside your reassurance that free writing and bullet points are okay to begin with. I went home after your workshop and wrote out the entire first draft of my literature review. It was in bullet point form, but once I did this I was then able to start writing sentences and plugging in my evidence. This was such a relief to me! And my supervisor was incredibly impressed with my progress at our next meeting. So thank you from the bottom of my heart and the top of my brain — you were able to connect the two for me.
LM, PhD student, Newcastle