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  • Sebastián Boada Morales

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.

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