The Zen of Writing

Writing is hard. It’s a skill that takes time and practice. In school, you’ll have your fair share of writing assignments that might feel more like a chore, but they don’t have to be if you dedicate time to plan and organize your thoughts. Below are some tips to help you feel more at ease the next time a writing assignment comes around.

Tip #1: Keep your research organized

If you’re writing an essay, expect to spend many hours researching through books and articles. Take good notes and summarize key points in your research, and frame each of your arguments to connect with your readers. This will show how much thought you’ve put into finding good, reliable information and reveal the extensive amount of knowledge you have on the topic at hand.

Tip #2: Write to your audience

An article or journal can be written in a conversational or informal way, enabling you to connect with your audience by using a casual tone and personal anecdotes. If you’re writing an academic essay, however, you will need to not only make sure your style and tone is formal, but also that your writing flows seamlessly with a clear logical order and purpose.

Tip #3: Write simply and use an active voice

When tasked with writing an essay, many students might feel the urge to use new, unfamiliar words; however, this takes away from the clarity of the essay when not used correctly. Use formal language and tone, but make sure you are using vocabulary that suits you and the context of which you’re writing. You want to make sure the choice and placement of words is accurate, natural, and not forced. Additionally, write your statements with an active voice (Subject > Verb > Object). By doing so, your sentences will convey a strong, clear tone and will be easier to understand.

Tip #4: Write shorter sentences and keep paragraphs short

The pressure of impending deadlines might cause you to make many mistakes when writing. As a result, it’s best to make sure your ideas are well-organized and your sentences and paragraphs are short. Why? Concise writing is easier to read and understand. If you add too much to one sentence or paragraph, you might weaken your argument. The rule of thumb is to write one thought per sentence, so it’s easily digestible. Similarly, a good paragraph develops one idea, which helps the brain absorb the information easier.

Tip #5: Trim the fat

It’s easy to be excited about the topic you’re writing about, so you might find yourself writing to your heart’s content. If you’re not keeping a close eye on the word count, you might exceed the limit and miss the mark on delivering a strong argument to the topic at hand. Therefore, it’s best to remove any unnecessary or repetitive words to declutter your sentences.

Writing is a skill that takes time to master but following the tips above will help you become a better writer in no time. Keep your sentences short while still providing evidence that is accurate and supports your argument and thesis. As a result, your readers will be able to fully comprehend your thought process and can fully engage with your work.

Published by

The Literary Tutor

We are English tutors helping students ignite their imagination through reading and discover their unique voice through writing.

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