Scholarly writing is just telling stories that are true

One of the key points that I make to every writer I work with is that whether you are writing a novel or a manuscript for JAMA, writing is about telling a story. In both fiction and scholarly writing, the purpose of putting words on paper is to guide the reader from where the story starts to a conclusion you made based on the elements within the narrative. An author’s skill at telling the story often determines whether reading that paper or novel is a pleasure or a real slog, bogged down in unnecessary details or skipping over important steps along the journey.

If you are struggling to get in touch with your inner story teller, you might consider a few of the exercises recommended by Madeline Walker. Walker (2013) describes a one-day intensive workshop experience provided to graduate nursing students to help them both connect the act of writing with the literature, and to demystify the process of writing. Through exercises that included freewriting, mind mapping, thesis development, and APA formatting, the participants of the workshop connected scholarly writing with storytelling in a way that left them feeling more confident about academic writing and storytelling in a scholarly way.


Walker, M. (2013). Stories are like water: An academic writing workshop for nurses. Creative Nursing, 19(2).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *