Posted 1:59 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022

Dr. Vivek Pande working in bed.

Writing in Accountancy

The Write Here, Write Now blog invites writers from the University of Wisconsin and La Crosse communities to respond to a series of questions that shed light on their writing lives. As readers of the blog will discover, learning to write is an ongoing, life-long process and all writers, from first-year students to career professionals, benefit from reflecting on the writing process and sharing that process with others. 

Name and Title: Dr. Vivek Pande, Associate Professor of Accountancy

Department, Speciality Area, and Classes Typically Taught: Accountancy with a specialization in business law. I regularly teach BLAW 205 and BLAW 405.

Current Writing Project: I'm currently revising an academic paper on healthcare fraud and researching another and plotting post-retirement creative writing projects.

1. What are you currently reading?

Sadly, at the end of another busy semester, no real book other than a biography of Giannis by Mirin Fader which my 13-year old son loaned to me and I seem to be stuck halfway through. I read The New York Times and The New Yorker religiously and a smorgasbord of other online news and content but am a bit depressed that I don’t read as many books as I used to.

2. What type(s) of writing do you regularly engage in? 

Legal writing, academic writing, personal creative writing

3. When/where/how do you write? What are your “writing necessities”?

I write in two modes:

  1. Morning in between 7 and 11 in bed with coffee and music or news in the background. Good for detailed writing, outlines, editing, review.
  2. Evening in between 7 and 11 in bed with a glass of wine and sports on TV in the background. Good for ideas, thoughts, notes, rants.
4. What's the best writing advice you've received?

Oh, a lot--here's my top four sort of synthesized:

  1. Write. Stop talking about it, thinking about it, dreaming about it - just sit down and write.
  2. Edit. Put it aside. Edit some more. Writing is a creative task that can always use more refinement and revision.
  3. Read. Everything. If you want to succeed at any creative task you have to learn from what has been done before.
  4. Watch. Good memoir/narrative/creative writing depends on a keen sense of observation and recall.

5. How does your discipline affect your writing style?

I was a corporate, pension, and tax lawyer at a big law firm in Los Angeles, and currently teach business law here at UWL. As a lawyer, you learn to write concisely and persuasively under short deadlines with little sleep. These skills translate into other areas of writing.

6. What is your best tip for getting started and/or for revision? How do you avoid writer’s block?

Just write. Anywhere. Everywhere. Carry a pad and pen. Take notes on your phone. Dictate snippets whenever you can. There is no perfect place or time. Ideas, thoughts, phrases, sentences are all the building blocks of writing so create and assemble them methodically whenever you can. 

I think the phrase “writer’s block” is a bit of a misnomer since there are a variety of impediments to writing that can be lumped under this. I try to avoid the lot by:

  1. Working on several writing projects at the same time, preferably in different genres and stages of development. When I’m bored of editing a more completed project, I’ll take a break and relax and doodle and think about something new.
  2. Always compulsively trying to produce something. At the risk of sounding repetitive, writing complete, finished, polished, intelligent sentences is not a one-step process. So any contributions of anything, anytime along the way are helpful.

7. What do you think students need to know about academic writing?  

Most academic writing is awful and needlessly dull, especially in the social sciences, business, and law. Avoid reading more than necessary as it can be hazardous to your health and your own writing ability.