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Academic Writing Club: Stylish Academic Writing

A guide for the CSU academic writing club using Helen Sword's book, Stylish Academic Writing.


Woman writing

Do you wish you could graduate with a published journal article under your belt? Could you use some structured time to write and receive feedback from colleagues? Do you have some academic writing that needs polishing to become publishable? If so, this writing club is for you!


Offered by the Writing Center and the Michael Schwartz Library, this writing club is meant to help students and junior faculty improve their academic writing productivity. Each week we will send a short video and provide resources and advice related to an academic writing topic, and we'll have a synchronous Zoom meeting to review the topic. At least 20 minutes of the meeting time will be set aside for quiet writing to keep you on track!  This Spring 2021 semester the weekly 5-minute videos will concern a chapter from the book Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword.

Meetings will occur in Zoom from 12:00 - 1:00pm on Fridays beginning January 22 and ending April 30th.

Filling out the sign-up form does not obligate you to participate or attend every meeting; it merely puts you on our reminder email list and provides access to the Zoom link each week. Please feel free to share with classmates who would like to make some progress on publishing! 

Please note that this writing club will be especially useful to graduate students in the humanities or social sciences. Undergraduates who have some academic writing to develop into a published article are welcome to participate. 

You might asking yourself, why should I bother trying to publish an academic journal article before I graduate? There are several reasons why turning your academic writing into published work can benefit you, even if you do not plan to continue in academia after graduation.

Having a Publication Makes You More Marketable

Transforming an academic paper or project into a published article takes time, perseverance, and expertise, and these are skills that future academic programs and employers look for in students. Your publication may allow you to distinguish yourself from other candidates, and this gives you an edge.

Completing a Publication as a Student Gives You Valuable Experience

The publishing process is not intuitive, nor is it easy. Potential academic programs and employers will know that you have at least some experience with this difficult task if they see a publication on your CV, and that gives them confidence that you can hit the ground running with more publications as a new professional or researcher. The process may also help you to begin identifying important journals and writers in your field, which will give you a depth of knowledge as you progress in your career.

Preparing a Publication Provides Opportunities to Connect with Your Professors

Your professors were likely once in a similar position to where you are now, and they may appreciate the opportunity to mentor and guide you through the writing process using what they've learned. Your professors have considerable expertise and experience to share, and working on a publication project provides an opportunity to make a connection with them as you get their advice.

Publishing is a Valuable Learning Experience

As you delve deeply into the literature, consider your own writing carefully, and share your work with other students and with faculty for feedback, you will gain a much deeper understanding of your research topic than you may have while developing it into an academic paper. In some ways, there is no substitute for in-depth research and writing that will be seen by a public audience for motivating deep learning.

Do I need to have the book to participate?

No. We will be following the topics of each book chapter every week, but you do not need to have or obtain access to the book to participate.

Do I need to be a graduate student or faculty member to participate?

The book is aimed at graduate students and faculty, but undergraduates are welcome to participate. A variety of experience levels will make for richer discussion.

I'm currently writing my thesis or dissertation. Will this writing club help me?

Yes! This writing club is likely a good fit for you and you are welcome to participate!

I'm a student in science or engineering. Can I participate?

The book and writing club target social sciences and humanities scholars. You may find some of the content does not apply to you. But you are certainly welcome to attend and take what you can from the sessions.

Who can I ask questions about this program?

You can ask Mandi Goodsett (a.goodsett[at] or Mary McDonald (m.murray[at]

Writing Center

Dr. Mary McDonald
Phone: 216-687-6982
Fax: 216-687-6943