The Course

Jump to: Introductory Seminar, Masterclasses, Capstone Seminar, Podcasts

This four-week course is intended to introduce participants to the basic principles of Writing Process Reengineering. The course consists of two 3-hour seminars, a masterclass, and 20 hours of individual writing. It is organized around the composition of a roughly 8000-word draft research paper in the social sciences. Though a participant who follows the whole course should end up with a complete draft, the aim is not to get a paper finished and ready for publication. The aim is to become a better writer and to master a discipline that will foster continuous progress also after the course is over.

This course should be of particular interest to doctoral students and early-career researchers, but anyone who wants to improve their writing should be able to get something out of it. The seminars will be streamed, recorded, and posted here, so it should be possible to follow along from anywhere as a self-study course. Registration is only needed for those who wish to attend the on-campus activities.

I. Introductory Seminar

Monday, 8 November 2021, 13:00 to 16:00, SPs13

The structure of the course is presented. Participants are told how we approach the relationship between “knowing” and writing, what paragraphs are, how to become better at composing them, and how to arrange them into full research papers. The importance of having a number of deliberate, formal writing experiences before the masterclass is emphasized.

Note: Due to a technical issue, the video for this session could not be used.

(Note: The first ten minutes of the last hour were unfortunately not recorded..)

For next time: 9 hours of writing. Using the “standard” outline, participants will write 18 paragraphs, covering all of the sections of a research paper. This will constitute a short draft.

II. Masterclasses

Friday, 17 December 2021, 14:00 to 16:00, online (register here.)

About mid-way through every calendar month, there is an online masterclass for people who are taking this course as self-study. Participants submit their short drafts of ca. 18 paragraphs in advance of the masterclass. Selected paragraphs are read out loud, analyzed, and work-shopped by the group, led by the instructor.

For the first masterclass, I made some introductory remarks. The audio can be heard here:

For next time: 11 hours of writing. Participants will write another 22 paragraphs, filling in the holes of their short draft, resulting in a first draft of a full paper.

III. Capstone Seminar

The experience of the preceding weeks is discussed. Participants will ideally have had 40 highly structured, very explicit experiences of writing, and there will be much to talk about on their basis alone. The seminar also offers a model of time management particularly suited to scholars and some tools for implementing and maintaining the process going forward.


In addition to the seminars and masterclass, participants are encouraged to listen to a daily, 10-minute podcast at the end of their working day, before they decide what they will write the next day. These podcasts are available here as well for people who are unable to attend the classes. With a little effort and some extra reading, it should be possible to complete this course on your own.

First Week
Second Week

Over the next seven podcasts, I will be going through the “Seven Little Disciplines” of scholarly composition. Below each podcast, you’ll find a link to a blogpost that covers some of the same ground.

See also: “The First Discipline: Objectivity”

See also: “The Second Discipline: Assertion”

See also: “The Third Discipline: Posture”, “The Pocket”

See also: “The Fourth Discipline: Knowing”

See also: “The Fifth Discipline: Simplicity”

Third Week

See also: “The Sixth Discipline: Orality”

See also: “The Seventh Discipline: Perfection”

See also: “Discipline Zero”

See also: “The Paragraph”

See also: “Enjoy the Company”

Fourth Week

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