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Academic Writing Coaching

Need help getting your ideas across? 

Finding the right words for assignments and publications can be really difficult, but it's essential to academic success. I can help you there.

Students

You perfectly understand what your lecturer has been teaching you. You pay close attention to every instruction. You have the most brilliant ideas for your essay. 

And yet, you never seem to do as well as you feel you can. Somehow, you just can't translate your thoughts into words that your lecturer will understand.

I've worked with lots of students who had really amazing insights but struggled to communicate their brilliance in written work. 

As an academic writing coach, I work with students to address issues with writing, working with you to dissect your work and figure out what you can do to make it shine.

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Academics

Your career hinges on your ability to get your work published. Getting published is easier when your writing is compelling. Your writing needs to showcase your expertise in a way that leaves no one in any doubt about how brilliant you are and how important the work is.

There's often a fine line between conveying the complexity and sophistication of your work and making sure a paper is accessible to the audiences who might read it. Getting the balance right can help get your work into the right journals and books. 

As an academic writing coach, I work with academics at all levels of their careers to fine tune written expression for publication. 

Frequently asked questions

What does writing coaching involve, exactly?

It depends. I generally work with coaching clients in two ways. The first involves us discussing your writing habits, blocks, and challenges and figuring out some strategies to build good and productive writing routines. The second involves a focus on a specific piece of writing. Usually, clients send me through a sample of writing from a larger document or a whole document, and I provide written feedback, which we then discuss in one or more coaching sessions. When we meet, I'll talk through my feedback on your sample, and I'll provide you with a marked up copy of your work with detailed comments. Note that this is not quite editing - I won't usually do a thorough proofread/edit of your work, but I will address your common errors and provide direction to help you fix them for yourself. 

Do you coach in my field?

In general I work with students and academics in the humanities and social sciences, because that's where my expertise lies. If you're in a different field and you'd like to speak about whether I can help you with your writing, please book a free discovery call or contact me and we can work out whether I'm the right person for the job. 

Can't I just get my lecturer to coach me for free?

Lecturers sometimes give feedback on your writing, but more often they simply don't have the time to provide detailed enough, or targeted enough, guidance on how to improve your use of language - their focus is usually on the substantive content of the assignment. Your lecturers might only be allocated 10 - 15 minutes to mark 1000 words of assessment, so they don't have time to focus on anything other than the specific ways you're meeting or not meeting criteria. A specialist writing coach spends more time reading your work with a critical eye on your use of language. A good coach can identify the flaws that undermine the credibility of your written work, and (crucially) provide concrete strategies for improving your writing.

Can you write my assignment for me?

Definitely not. It is your responsibility to ensure that our work together does not contravene the academic integrity policies of your institution or field. I can talk you through what's generally appropriate - please contact me if you have any questions about this - but you're the one who must be able to state that you've adhered to institutional or publisher policies on academic integrity when you submit your work. I have my own ethical standards and a professional reputation to protect, so you can trust that I will not overstep in guiding you to strengthen your work. 

Can you guarantee that I'll get published or get a better grade after working with you?

No, I can't make any guarantees on this, but I can give you the tools to make sure the quality and clarity of your writing isn't what's holding you back. The rest - the excellent ideas, the evidence-gathering, the analysis, the putting my guidance into action - that's all down to you!

Why should I employ you to coach me?

You need a coach who knows about academic writing and publishing, who can use this knowledge to critically review your work, and who can communicate what's going wrong (and right) and how to make your work stronger. As a semi-former academic, I continue to publish in my academic fields and I understand how academic publishing works. You can find a list of my publications on my about page for evidence of my track record in academic writing and editing. As an editor, I work with academics in a number of fields to develop work for publication, including higher degree research students who are working towards thesis submission. I'm also an experienced university lecturer (and continue to teach on occasion) with a LOT of assessment marking experience. As an educator, I know how to deliver targeted, clear feedback that you can act on to improve your work. As a human being, I know that receiving negative feedback on your writing can be rough, so I always make sure I embrace a holistic definition of 'critique' - one in which I highlight and celebrate the strengths of your work as much as the areas for improvement.

How much does coaching cost?

I charge 180 AUD per one-hour session on Zoom. This includes a small amount of time for me to pre-read a writing sample of up to a few thousand words if required.

If you'd like more detailed feedback on your writing, I charge 140 AUD per 5000 words.

How do I book and pay?

You can book and pay for sessions on my booking page.

Or email me at hello@amymckernan.com.

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