I was catching up on my “fun” reading this weekend and I came across this blog post by Matt Might (University of Utah).
Unfortunately, the only way to get better at writing is to do a lot of it. 10,000 hours is the magical number folks throw around to become an expert at something. You’ll never even get close to 10,000 hours of writing by writing papers.
Assuming negligible practice writing for public consumption before graduate school, if you take six years to get through grad school, you can hit 10,000 hours by writing about 5 hours a day. (Toward the end of a Ph.D., it’s not uncommon to break 12 hours of writing in a day.)
That’s why I recommend that new students start a blog. Even if no one else reads it, start one. You don’t even have to write about your research. Practicing the act of writing is all that matters.