Some great suggestions on how to improve your skills as a writer:
- 10 Rules of Writing: http://indianquarterly.com/10-rules-of-writing/
- How to Be a Better Writer: http://time.com/3584611/write-better-tips-from-harvard/
- 5 steps to writing a book: https://medium.com/the-mission/the-5-draft-method-to-writing-a-best-selling-book-3df3d532c9c0
Some general tips:
- The introduction is usually a bad place to start. You don’t know what you’re going to write about until you start writing, but the intro requires you to know what you’re about to write—it’s a recipe for writer’s block!
- Pick an idea from your brainstorming and simply start writing. Don’t edit, don’t second guess, just get your ideas on paper (or on the screen). You’ll often find that you can get into a “groove” if you just keep writing (10 minutes is a good goal if you’re using a timer) with no distractions (put the phone away, turn music off, find a quiet space).
- After you’ve written, take the night off! Reread what you’ve written the next day. It’s important to give yourself distance from what you’ve written so you can approach it a little more objectively, and you’ll also find that a good night’s sleep can help you figure out new things to say, better ways to phrase an idea, or see how good (or weak) your previous work was.
- Try putting your sentences (or even whole paragraphs!) in different orders—the flow of how your ideas is presented is important and can change the entire scope of an essay. Oftentimes the order that we come up with ideas isn’t the best order for sharing them with a reader.
- Write your introduction last. Once you’ve figured out what your essay says, it’s easier to welcome a reader into it.
- Read your essay or sections of it out loud. Imagine that you’re speaking to someone as you do so. It’s easier to notice awkward grammar, usage, or word order when you have to say it out loud.
- Let someone else read your essay and tell you what they liked about it and something they still don’t understand after reading it. Fix whatever is unclear—if one reader had difficulty understanding your wording, logic, or point, someone else probably will, too!
- Use the campus Writing Center. They’re there to help you expand and deepen your skills as a writer so that you feel more confident about this assignment and more prepared for future assignments.
- Don’t print at the last minute. Technology can be problematic, and there’s not always a stapler handy when you need it.
- Reread the essay prompt and rubric to grade yourself before you turn anything in.
Notes from past QCC classes: