I’m juggling several different writing projects at the moment (book chapter, journal articles, conference paper, research proposal) but no matter what I’m working on I always begin the same way: with Brown’s Eight Questions.
I can’t remember when I first came across Robert Brown’s 1994/95 article Write Right First Time, but it radically improved the way I approach writing. In this article Brown provides eight questions, or writing prompts, for academics to use before they start writing. His goal is for academics to take more time at the start of the writing process to think carefully about what they want to say, so that they will become better writers and more likely to produce high quality work that is “right the first time.” Although he intended the questions to be used as part of an action learning group (where a small group of people get together and peer review one another’s work), I find them just as effective in my own independent writing process.
Brown’s Eight Questions are: