One of the biggest problems facing anyone teaching academic writing--or, at least, so I think--is that professional academic writing is not produced under the conditions of undergraduate or graduate academic writing. The rhythms are different; the preparation is different; the time constraints are different; the revision process is different. For example. In undergraduate capstone and graduate-level seminars, the students write a research paper (although, depending on the course, students in the capstone have some flexibility about what form that paper might take). Because this project is worked out in stages over the course of a semester, students have to propose a topic fairly early on (an obvious problem, especially at the undergraduate level--they've only read a few texts at that point), then generate a short paper, an annotated bibliography, the draft of a longer paper, and then the final product. Of course, they only have a semester to produce the final version. Now, nobody, myself included, would deny that this process teaches valuable skills (formulating a topic, reformulating it as one does research, evaluating scholarly sources, etc.). But it's not how most academics sit down to write an article, a book chapter, or even a conference paper. My own process, for example, often goes something like this:
1) Hey, I have an idea!
3) OK, I still have an idea.
4) Continues reading.
5) I think I will write an article about this idea.
6) Checks to see if there's an immediately relevant CFP.
7) I shall think about this idea for the next two months when I walk around the village.
[That is, in fact, what I do while perambulating: I think about whatever scholarly project I'm working on.]
8) A-ha! Now I know what I want to say about my idea.
9) Assembles and classifies lists of primary and supporting material.
10) Begins writing.
11) Finishes draft.
12) Ships to relevant editor.
13) Receives readers' reports.
14) Walks around cursing loudly for a bit, then revises to incorporate requests.
15) Ships off again.
The academic calendar is not set up to accomodate someone rambling about, thinking about their ongoing project, while not producing any documents to show for it. It's also not particularly hospitable to a free-form approach: thus, I don't outline before I write, I just...start writing, then stop periodically to revise and tighten up the argument. If you asked me for my thesis at the beginning, I'd shoot you a blank stare. In other words, on the one hand, we expect students to write according to a schedule that we couldn't really follow ourselves (and would often find counterproductive to follow ourselves); on the other hand, having been trained to write as our students write, we then have to figure out what to do when the only time someone pays attention is when we can point to a publication on our annual report.