Do you have a favorite tip that you'd like to share, or maybe something that has always stood out for you from journalism or writing classes?
After 25 years, I still remember my journalism professor telling us to write to the 8th grade level. I don't think that applies any longer, with students staying in HS longer and more and more people getting higher education and technical degrees.
I definitely think it's still a good idea to write at a 7th or 8th grade level Plain language is much more appealing that using big words for effect. I remember reading a novel by William F. Buckley Jr. once and I needed to have a dictionary beside me to translate it
just write, write, and write some more....lol. forget the technical aspects, and write from your heart.
I've read a few books like that!
I also see the words my son has to find definitions for in his Language Arts class, they are definitely teaching him to expand his knowledge base. With some of the books they read, in 8th grade, they need to know more words that I ever did at that age.
Of course, I always remember the 5 w's: who, what, when, why, where...
I like when humor is involved and a fun laid back style - I always stay on a page when it is fun to read and not too stuffy.
In a writing class I took, they said simply write often. If you only write when you feel like it, you probably won't get anywhere. Simple, but tougher than it sounds.
I think the best tips are the simplest one's.
Write TO your readers, Keep it simple, Do your research, and write so that anyone could read it and understand.
Give what you write time to sit. Give your mind a break. Then go back and edit/publish.
Creation and criticism seem to tax different parts of the mind. Making time for both is a luxury you can take advantage of when writing (as opposed to when keeping up with the quicker pace of a conversation).
This doesn't always save me from silly errors or imperfect prose, but it never hurts...
Keep it light ... keep it entertaining ... always give the reader more than just another information piece.
Read your work out loud and proud! Make sure your work is coherent. I see a lot of work that is far-reaching in its language. Many times, people use words in the wrong context, mainly because the writer just "feels right" about their word choice. I find that if I'm not completely sure of the word I'm using, it's usually because it's the wrong word for me to use and so ditch it. And If I still feel compelled to use it, I look it up in the dictionary and learn the word as well as I can and then write it down. I find that simple coherent words work best.
One of my favorite authors (who is sadly now deceased) was Michael Crichton who had a medical degree from Harvard, yet simplified his language into layman's terms so all could understand him. He was also amazing at explaining complex theories.
If you plan to earn money from your writing you will find times you need to force yourself to write. Write lots and lots and lots. Never give up
I just sit and write whatever comes to mind, no matter if it makes sense or not. Then after I read it over and take all the different ideas and make new stories or essays out of them.
One of my favorite teachers was in my writing class and he made us do something fun. He made us keep a journal of our dreams, what time and how long we slept and as much detail from your dream as you can remember. Great excercise because then you had plenty of ideas to write on. I still do it and have started stories based off of my dreams too.
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