Being an Effective Writer

Pollock and Bono’s 2013 essay “Being Scheherazade: The Importance of Storytelling in Academic Writing” in the Academy of Management Journal investigates the function of narrative in academic writing. According to the authors, employing narrative approaches can improve the efficacy and impact of scientific work.

The essay opens by emphasizing the typical format of academic writing, which is rational and analytical but frequently lacks emotional involvement. Academic writers, according to Pollock and Bono, may produce a more engaging and convincing narrative by using storytelling components such as narrative arcs, characters, and vivid descriptions.

The authors draw inspiration from the character of Scheherazade, from the Arabian Nights, who used storytelling to captivate her audience and save her life. They argue that academic writers can adopt a similar approach by using stories to captivate readers, hold their attention, and convey complex ideas in a more accessible manner.

Pollock and Bono provide several examples of how storytelling techniques can be employed in academic writing. They discuss the use of anecdotes, case studies, and personal experiences to illustrate theoretical concepts and make them more relatable. They also emphasize the importance of crafting compelling narratives that engage readers and create an emotional connection.

Moreover, the authors address potential concerns about the use of storytelling in academic writing, such as the fear of compromising rigor and objectivity. They argue that storytelling can be used responsibly by maintaining transparency, providing evidence, and balancing emotional appeals with logical reasoning.

In conclusion, Pollock and Bono advocate for the integration of storytelling techniques in academic writing to enhance its impact and effectiveness. They encourage researchers to embrace narrative elements to engage readers, convey ideas more effectively, and make their work more accessible and memorable.

“How to Be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing, and Teaching” is a book written by Alex Clark and Bailey Sousa and published by Sage in 2018. The book offers guidance and practical advice to academics on how to achieve happiness and effectiveness in their research, writing, and teaching endeavours.

The authors recognize the challenges and pressures faced by academics, including the demands of research, teaching responsibilities, and publishing expectations. They aim to provide strategies and insights to help academics navigate these challenges and find fulfilment in their professional lives.

The book covers various topics relevant to academic life. It delves into effective time management techniques, emphasizing the importance of setting priorities and maintaining work-life balance. It also explores strategies for managing academic workloads, dealing with stress, and fostering a positive mindset.

Clark and Sousa highlight the significance of building supportive networks and communities within academia. They discuss the benefits of collaboration, mentorship, and cultivating healthy relationships with colleagues and students. They also address common issues faced by academics, such as imposter syndrome and the pressure to meet high standards, offering practical advice for overcoming these challenges.

In addition, the book provides guidance on research and writing processes. It offers tips on developing research questions, conducting literature reviews, and organizing research projects effectively. The authors also discuss strategies for improving writing skills, including structuring academic papers, revising drafts, and overcoming writer’s block.

Furthermore, the book emphasizes the importance of effective teaching practices. It offers insights on engaging students, designing meaningful learning experiences, and assessing student progress. The authors encourage academics to embrace innovation and explore new teaching methods that align with their unique teaching styles and the needs of their students.

Overall, “How to Be a Happy Academic” serves as a comprehensive guide for academics seeking happiness and effectiveness in their professional lives. It provides practical strategies, personal anecdotes, and reflective exercises to support academics in their research, writing, and teaching pursuits while promoting well-being and fulfilment in their careers.

Based on the summarized articles, here are five key tips for being an effective writer:

1. Incorporate storytelling techniques

As highlighted in “Being Scheherazade: The Importance of Storytelling in Academic Writing,” storytelling can enhance the impact of your writing. Utilize narrative elements, such as anecdotes, case studies, and personal experiences, to make your writing more engaging and relatable. Craft compelling narratives that captivate readers and create an emotional connection.

2. Prioritize clarity and accessibility

Strive for clear and accessible writing, as discussed in “How to Be a Happy Academic.” Break down complex ideas into understandable concepts and avoid excessive jargon. Use concise and straightforward language to communicate your ideas effectively to a broad audience. Consider the reader’s perspective and aim for clarity throughout your writing.

3. Maintain structure and organization

Structure is crucial for effective writing. Develop a logical flow and organization in your writing to guide the reader through your ideas. Begin with an introduction that sets the context and purpose of your work, and use clear topic sentences and transitions to connect paragraphs. Conclude with summary or key takeaways to leave a lasting impression.

4. Revise and edit meticulously

Effective writers understand the importance of revision and editing. Take the time to review your work critically, checking for clarity, coherence, grammar, and punctuation errors. Pay attention to the overall structure and flow of your writing. Consider seeking feedback from peers or mentors to gain different perspectives and improve the quality of your writing.

5. Practice consistent writing habits

Establishing consistent writing habits is key to becoming an effective writer. Set aside dedicated time for writing and create a conductive environment that minimizes distractions. Develop a writing routine that works best for you, whether it’s writing in shorter bursts or longer focused sessions. The more you practice, the more you will refine your skills and become a proficient writer.

By incorporating storytelling techniques, prioritizing clarity and accessibility, maintaining structure, revising meticulously, and practicing consistent writing habits, you can become a more effective writer and convey your ideas with impact and clarity.


Pollock, T. G., & Bono, J. E. (2013). Being Scheherazade: The importance of storytelling in academic writing. Academy of Management Journal56(3), 629-634.

Clark, A., & Sousa, B. (2018). How to be a happy academic: A guide to being effective in research, writing and teaching. Sage.