Are you committed to becoming a good writer?
Which style of writing is most required of you?
Do you know how to create an essay, research paper, proposal, speech, etc., that meets the standards your professor expects?
GOOD WRITERS ARE NOT BORN THAT WAY - THEY DEVELOP SKILLS OVER TIME
What makes a "good" writer?
First, a good writer is usually someone who reads a great deal. If you began reading early in your life then the chances are that you have acquired a great vocabulary and the ability to write using correct grammar and syntax mechanics.
Second, a good writer has had English teachers who have demanded that they write consistently and constantly, throughout their elementary and secondary education. The expectations of their writing gradually become more complex and sophisticated.
Third, good writers have studied the writing of others. They have read newspapers, editorials, magazines, books, short stories, and speeches by others, in order to absorb their structure, style, and creativity.
Fourth, good writers use resources to assist them in getting their ideas down on paper. These include a dictionary, thesaurus, grammar and usage texts, and good quality examples of the writings of others. For example, if you have been assigned to write a comparison/contrast essay in a humorous fashion, you will need to read the work of others who have written the same type of essay before. If you want to use more sophisticated vocabulary and vary your language, you will use a thesaurus to help you expand your repertoire of words.
No one can be a master in every writing style!
If you read the works of many different great writers, you will see that they stick to one style or to one type of writing. This is because it isn't possible for one person to become an expert in virtually every style, structure, and syntax. Writers know their strengths and weaknesses and focus on their strengths.
Academic writing assignments often expect you to be competent in all types of writing!
During your years as a student, you will be given a huge variety of writing assignments. Your English literature instructor will want a critical analysis of specific works you read in class. Your history instructors will require research works; your psychology instructor will require a case study; your statistics instructor will require data collection and statistical analysis in a specific writing form;the list goes on and on! You can continually improve your skills by taking the time to study the works of others and develop your own style, using their structures and styles as examples. You can study the works of other students who receive top grades in the classes you struggle with; you can request additional assistance from your instructors; you can practice, practice, practice!
When you write, ask for others to review your work!
Once you have completed a writing assignment, have someone qualified read it and make suggestions. If you have a fellow student who consistently gets "A's" in English composition, ask him or her to review your essays and make suggestions for improvement! Peer review can be one of the most effective means of improving your writing!
When you write, revise, revise, revise!
Never, never, never turn in your first effort. Write your piece, sleep on it, re-read it and revise it. Wait a while then re-read and revise it again. Truly great writers edit and revise their works many times before final submission. You should do the same!
Use graphic organizers!
When you are given an essay writing assignment, make use of graphic organizers; these are available in all books written on essay writing. Use them before you even begin to write your essay. For example, if you are assigned a personal experience essay, use a graphic organizer that allows you to develop a "timeline" approach to the events you experienced, so that you remember to include all the important events in the proper order. If you are assigned a "pro/con" essay, use a chart to list the pros and cons before you put pencil to paper. If you are assigned a comparison/contrast essay, use a Venn diagram to solidify your thoughts before you write.
A few more tips!
Every piece of writing, whether it is an essay, research paper, proposal, speech, etc., will need an introduction and conclusion. You should learn to write these last. Get the body of your essay written first, and then you can think about the most creative, effective way to introduce your work and to finalize your thoughts.
Creating an outline, especially for a research paper, is critical. Your paper will not be organized and will not flow logically unless you develop that outline and follow it as you write. This is critical because your final product will need to synthesize research that you have completed from a variety of resources.
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