Things You Need to Think About Before and After You Write
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
by Frédéric Mégret, Associate Professor and Dawson Scholar in the Faculty of Law at McGill University
#1: Always try to focus on the one thing that you are trying to say. If you are saying too many things, you are not saying anything.
#2: If it is too obvious, it's not worth saying.
#3: You may want to focus on the debate about the thing, rather than the thing itself.
#4: The fact that someone has said it before does not make it true.
#5: Anyone can be right; it is harder to be interesting.
#6: Structure is not something that you superimpose on your thought; structure is what helps
you think through your ideas.
#7: If everyone is writing on it, don't.
#8: Listen to your inner voice.
#9: Read the few sources that matter thoroughly, rather than everything superficially.
#10: Keep it real.
#11: Be your own worst critic, but not to the point of numbing your audacity.
#12: Imagine that you are reading yourself. Now, do you understand what you are saying
without needing yourself to further explain it?
#13: Your reader should never have to guess what you are saying.
#14: Simplify the complex, complexify the simple.
#15: Don’t belabor the same point.
#16: Present arguments you disagree with under their best light
#17: Try to remember what intrigued you in the first place.
#18: Imagine that the people you are discussing are right in front of you.
#19: Think about your thinking.
#20: Backtrack to figure out where you went wrong.
#21: Be aware of the material conditions that make scholarship possible.
#22: You first draft was probably the best. But at the time, you didn't know why.