Monthly Archives: March 2019

The Most Effective Tactics to Improve Your College Writing Skills in No Time

the girl writing in her notebook at the table outdoors

It’s hard to imagine a modern education without hundreds of written assignments for students each year. So, can we say that writing skills are one of the most important for a student in order to be successful in studying? Definitely, yes.

How can one improve the ability to write literate and thoughtful pieces? We are sure that this skill can be trained like any other. So, while you might be working on your muscles in a gym, let’s work on your “writing muscle” here.

Here are a few tactics and tips on how to improve writing skills in college:

  1. Use the right vocabulary
  2. Be laconic
  3. Don’t be afraid to rewrite your drafts
  4. Follow the instructions of your professor
  5. Read academic works
  6. Use quotes
  7. Work on the introduction
  8. Ask yourself a question

Let’s take a look at each one of these simple tactics that every student should use in their academic or creative writing for college or high school.

1 – Use the Right Vocabulary

Picking the right words is not always an easy task for a student but not for our writing service. We have some tips for you on how you can create your pieces using the perfect vocabulary for your college writing.

Simplify

Of course, some scientific terms can’t be replaced with simpler words. But when you have an opportunity to avoid complicated and nerdy words – do that. For example, “modern” instead of “contemporary,” “fit” instead of “accommodate,” etc.

The simpler your language is, the more readable and understandable your text will be. Moreover, when one uses abstruse and complicated words, the chances of making a mistake are getting higher.

The active voice

Using primary active voice is a common rule for academic writing as it is more preferable and easy to understand. Of course, sometimes you can’t avoid using passive voice. But try to build your sentences sticking to the sentence formula “Subject-Verb-Object.”

Present tense

This tip is primarily applied to the literature reviews and reports for English classes but can be used in any type of assignment. The trick is to use present tense instead of past.

For example:

“The interior of the room is modest and neat. It represents the ascetic lifestyle of the character as well as his good manners and tidiness.”

This is a general rule, and your professor will appreciate you knowing it.

2 – Be Laconic

Using short and laconic sentences is, as one would say, the most concise way to more effective and professional writing.

Avoid repetitions

You might think that paraphrasing can help you increase your word count without actually using different ideas and claims. But, actually, repetitions are way more apparent for a reader than you might think. Try to diversify your writing and use a proper amount of evidence, examples, and claims in your work.

  • Avoid using the same word regularly through your paper, find synonyms or substitutive words.
  • If you need to write a massive paper but you lack ideas, search for works that might give a hint of what to write about.
  • Evaluate your ideas further in the text using examples from similar works or literature.

Use short paragraphs

When you have too much text cluttered in big chunks, it’s hard to look through the text and perceive information. Short paragraphs are preferable just as short sentences. They help your professor to read your work faster and grade it higher.

3 – Don’t Be Afraid to Rewrite Your Drafts

There are a lot of students who are afraid to “ruin the work” and edit their drafts. Of course, they don’t want their time being spent in vain. So they leave the draft the way it is.

Edit your drafts without any regret even if it means that you have to edit significant parts of the text and spend a few more hours working on your piece.

Every writer would say that drafts are usually junk. Only after polishing them and editing, you can receive something valuable. Anyway, your professor will see if you don’t put enough effort in your assignment.

4 – Follow the Instructions of Your Professor

Never neglect the guidelines that your professors provide you with. Make sure to check out the advised sources, requirements, etc. They might be a useful source of ideas and words that you might use in your writing process. Especially, when you have to write, for example, IELTS essay which we also have some tips for.

Pay attention to the writers’ style and try to analyze how you can use it when writing an essay, a lab report or a research paper. While reading, notice if it is hard for you to read certain work or not. If it is hard to follow the idea of the writer, try to understand what makes it so hard for you. Your professor might be feeling the same confusion while reading your work.

5 – Read Academic Works

The more you read, the better understanding of the basic rules of writing you get. It’s a known fact that the best writers are also eager readers. When you read a lot, writing seems like an easy and natural thing to you. It’s just as well as grammar and punctuation which one can remember or make into a habit of literate writing.

So, reading a lot of literature and academic works will definitely boost your writing skills. If you are not a fan of studying materials, then fictional literature will also work.

6 – Use Quotes

Professors encourage students using quotes in their academic writing. But why? What is so great about quotes? You can use them for almost any type of assignment as:

  • A beginning sentence of the introduction
  • An example or evidence to support your claim
  • A transitioning sentence at the end of the paragraph

Using quotes in your work can give you ideas for the evaluation of your thought, reduce the amount of the mistakes as you take the piece of the edited text and give you an understanding of how to build your piece around them.

Cite sources

If you take any piece of someone’s work or base your claims on someone’s material, it’s obligatory to use citation and cite the sources that you used in your work. There are a few styles of citation (Chicago, MLA, APA style, etc.) that have certain specifics, so be sure to get acquainted with them. You can also require assistance and get work with the proper citation.

7 – Work on the Introduction

If you struggle with the writing of your assignments, it might be because you start from the wrong side. You might ask: “What does it mean? There is only one way to start writing – from the beginning!” Actually, it’s not so true. When writing even a one-page critical response essay, you have to provide a work that consists of:

  • Introduction and your thesis
  • Body paragraphs
  • The conclusion

Starting with an introduction seems logical. However, if you start with your body paragraphs first, you will see that the introduction and conclusion are easier for you to come up with. As you already have your main part, it’s easier to create a thesis statement and exciting introduction to your further thoughts.

So, starting your writing main part is always a good idea.

8 – Ask Yourself a Question

There is also one more tactic that one can successfully use in academic or any other type of writing. When creating an outline, write down questions that you need to answer in your work. This tactic is called “journalistic method,” as it implies asking yourself questions and finding answers to them. It is a kind of brainstorm which helps to start your work easier and structure your paper better.

Wrapping Up

The importance of the writing skills is on-going as it is used in academic, business and everyday life spheres. Developing your writing skills while you are in college will give an advantage for the future job. Moreover, better writing skills will lead to higher grades, and that’s what every student needs.

We hope that you have found our writing tips for college students useful and will use them when writing another assignment.

8 Awe-Inspiring Writing Strategies Famous Writers Used

a man typing on typewriter keyboard

Creating a decent piece is not an easy thing to do. Whether you need to write an essay, a review, a short story or a blog post, you might face the same difficulties as other professional writers do. So, we have prepared some useful tips from the best authors that will help you to improve your writing skills, beat writer’s block and increase your productivity.

Here are 8 strategies for developing writing skills from the best and the most productive authors in the world.

#1 – A “Daily Writing” Strategy of Steven King

Steven KingPhoto credit: Evan Agostini

If you don’t know who Steven King is, then you probably live under the rock. Being the king of the horror genre and one of the most productive writers of the 20-21 centuries, Steven King is glad to tell the story of his writing career. Moreover, he gives useful pieces of advice in his book On Writing. One of the most significant lessons from him is his strategy of daily writing.

A “Daily writing” strategy is all about constant practicing. King says that when you start your project, you shouldn’t stop for a single day until you are satisfied with your draft. Only by writing every single day, you can keep your skills strong enough. As writing skills can be trained like muscles, you have to keep them toned up.

Try to write at least one small piece a day. It doesn’t matter what it would be – a blog post, a letter to your girlfriend, etc. If you keep practicing every day, you will get used to writing and following your creative plan.

#2 – A “Cocoon” Strategy of Roald Dahl

Roald DahlSource: The Times

Dahl was commonly described by his friends as an “odd fellow.” While he was writing, he was sitting in his armchair with his legs wrapped in a sleeping bag. He could stay in this position all night long.

The setting around you is very important, so finding the most comfortable place and position is key to get your imagination free and stay productive for a long time. Some people love working while laying in bed, for others it’s crucial to have fully prepared stationary.

Not only Dahl was weird about his writing habits. For example, Gertrude Stein was writing only in the driver’s seat of her Ford and Hemingway wrote all his works while standing.

You should also find a special place or atmosphere which will awake your talent. If you want to stay more focused while studying or working, check out our article about the art of concentration.

#3 – A “Small Steps” Strategy of Graham Greene

Graham GreenePhoto credit: Yousuf Karsh

“In the old days, at the beginning of a book, I’d set myself 500 words a day, but now I’d put the mark to about 300 words.” Graham Greene

This writing strategy for struggling writers is all about the goals and methods of achieving them. Of course, you could set a plan of writing just as fast as Steven King (King writes about 10 pages or 2,000 words per day), but you would quickly realize that this tactic leads to exhaustion of your imagination.

Take slow steps, and establish manageable goals for each day of writing – you will see that the quality of your writing is much better when you’re not in haste.

#4 – A “Last Line” Strategy of Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne PorterSource: Hulton Archive

A lot of writers start working on their pieces as soon as a plot idea hits them. But sometimes it leads to a block when one can’t figure out how to end a story. In order to avoid such a situation, Porter did other way round – she wrote the ending first. When she had an idea for her another piece, she wrote the last line and after that the last page of her piece. Only then she began working on the whole plot.

It’s a brilliant tip for every piece of writing, not only for stories and novels. When you start working on your essay, the first thing you should do is to formulate your thesis – a quick summary of your paper’s purpose. So, basically, you write your essay starting from the end of it.

This is one of the best writing strategies for students who are working on their papers and need help with formulating a thesis statement.

When you know how your piece will end up and what the whole plot leads to, you can be more comfortable with writing the rest.

#5 – A “Don’t Look at It Again” Strategy of Neil Gaiman

Neil GaimanPhoto credit: Rich Polk

It’s hard to fight the temptation of revising your written piece before it is finished. But Neil Gaiman advises the opposite method – writing till the end without looking at your work.

Don’t come back to recite the pieces that you have already written the previous day – write what comes to your mind. And when you are finished, compile all of the parts and edit the whole thing. You might find some pieces surprising as you have already forgotten about what their content is.

Moreover, Gaiman suggests looking the piece through after some time:

The best advice I can give on [revision] is, once it’s done, to put it away until you can read it with new eyes. Finish the short story, print it out, then put it in a drawer and write other things. When you’re ready, pick it up and read it as if you’ve never read it before. If there are things you aren’t satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that’s revision.

#6 – A “Wait for It” Strategy of Hilary Mantel

Hilary MantelSource: The Daily Beast

Sometimes you get stuck. Instead of sitting with your piece in front of you, do something else. Draw, clean, listen to music or go to sleep. Sometimes you just need to take a little break and wait for a good thought to come.

She also recommends avoiding chatting or going to the party in this situation, as “someone’s words will pour in where your lost words should be.” Many students also find this advice one of the most useful among all of the writing techniques and strategies. And while you are waiting for your muse, check out our tips on essay writing.

#7 – A “ Writing Ritual” Strategy of Toni Morrison

Toni MorrisonPhoto credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sander

As we talked about the atmosphere and habits of writers, there are also some strange rituals that could be helpful to anyone who wants to get used to writing. Morrison claims that she didn’t realize it before one conversation with another author in which they talked about the things they do before writing. Morrison observed that she always got up before the dawn, made herself a cup of coffee and watched a sunrise.

You might also have some ritual that helps you to set up the right mood for work. Pay attention to the things you usually do before writing or establish new traditions.

#8 – A “Question” Strategy of Mary Lee Settle

Mary Lee SettleSource: AZ Quotes

A National Book Award-winner Mary Lee Settle said that she always started with a question and then tried to answer it. This way you will never run out of ideas as you can ask yourself about anything in the world and then evaluate your thought. For example, “What if I wake up in another universe?” “What if Shakespeare lived in our time?” “What if the gravity disappeared for a second?” etc.

Wrapping up

Students don’t have to be professional writers, but they can find the authors’ experience helpful as they commonly face the same difficulties. So, we hope that you have found our list of writing strategies that authors use helpful for your studying routine. Try out these tips to find ones that work for you.