Every now and then, you’d be asked to write something. Maybe a speech, a eulogy, or just a plain paper due the next day. While writing is a skill that most people don’t have, it certainly helps when you at least have the basics pegged down to a tee. After all, everybody can write, but not everyone is a writer.
So for non-writers looking for a quick fix, here are some sound advice from writers, themselves. We’ve collated the simplest of them so you can directly apply it to your writing in real-time. Remember that when creating something out of nothing, the best advice is to take everything into consideration and have the courage to let things go if need be.
Be honest even painfully so
Look, there’s nothing that will make your writing more personal than being honest. So forget about your hang-ups and reservations, and lay it out in there. Don’t worry about anything, and write down what you’re thinking as they come to you. There’s magic in letting yourself go, and if you can track down your emotions, you’ll have a promising writeup up ahead.
Being honest in your writing means opening yourself up to the emotions that you feel, have felt, or will be feeling. It will require you to be vulnerable as well. Once you finish your draft, use wordcounttool.com to assess the brevity of your written work.
One of the problems which you may encounter in being honest is that your work will be wordy, and repetitive, so make sure you edit around on those. Keep your ideas flowing by making sentences short, and if you can avoid dangling modifiers.
Don’t mind your grammar, it will take care of itself
Most people will be so concerned about the technicalities of writing that they forget that grammar, for all intents and purposes, will sort itself out. What that means is when you’re thoughts are flowing, grammar usually follows. So get over your fears of technicalities and just write.
Create an outline
If you’re particularly preparing a speech, creating an outline is not only a lifesaver, it’s going to make what you’re writing more streamlined, better paced and more effective. Any writer will tell you that before they start writing something, they will plot it first. It’s the single most important thing in organizing the flow of the article.
An outline should be comprised of at least three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. In the body, you can flesh out things, be more specific, go into the granular, etc. This is where you turn your paper, speech or eulogy personal, deep and intimate. Remember that the more singular what you’re working on becomes, the better it will read. And sound.
When all else fails, find a friend to proofread your work
We all have a friend or two who has a way with words. They are those who passed English and Literature classes without seemingly doing any effort. Reach out to them, and ask if they can proofread and edit and paraphrase what you’ve got so far. Don’t be shy about it either. It can be a great icebreaker if you haven’t talked to them for a long time.
Make sure they know the context of your piece. Let them understand what you need, what you’re going for, and what you intend in your paper. Be forthcoming, but don’t push too much as well. Remember good manners maketh man. And since you’re asking for a favor, you’ll need to be nicer than usual.
Write as you talk
There’s power in manifesting your thoughts in speech. Our stream of consciousness can be a potent tool in improving our writing skills. So talk it out. What you’re thinking, what you’re distracted about, what flits in and out of your mind. To do these, you’ll need to have great typing skills, so if you don’t have one, start with a recorder.
Record what you’re thinking and draft it afterward. This way, you can play, pause and rewind to improve upon your thoughts. While you’re typing it down, your mind will add in some tidbits or added information – write them down as well. Don’t edit just yet – you can do it later. If anything, just try to lay it all down in the paper first.
Make the time to write
For college students writing several essays, one of the most prolific tips that writers recommend is to stick to a schedule. It may be before you sleep, past-midnight or at dawn. The time doesn’t matter – but know that there is wisdom in writing and studying at dawn when our minds are still fresh from sleep.
To improve your writing, or at least make a decent paper – you’ll need to rigidly follow a writing schedule. Following one not only makes your mind trained to think at a certain time of the day, but it also keeps it in tip-top shape for another session the day after. Famous writers stick to a routine, and you’d benefit from one especially when you’re at the end of the semester.
Keep at it
Keeping a schedule will surely improve your writing, but it won’t necessarily finish the stack of papers you need to finish. Another word from the wise: Keep at it. Writing is supposed to be difficult. And if you’re not struggling, then you’re not really doing anything. Think of the frustrations you have at your paper as a motivation to really go at it.
Sure, you’re not going to be a writer – just for the time being, honestly – but a halfway decent term paper that you made and fleshed out yourself is going to be a small achievement. And quite frankly, you don’t want your eulogy, for example, to be insincere and poorly-written, do you?
Writing is difficult. It looks easy, sure, but the ability to make something readable is a specific skill that not most of us are privy to. So in order to take your writing to the next level, define what you want to write first, then take it from there.