Writing often feels like you have to be a wordsmith and come up with your ideas clearly and expertly from the jump. This isn't true! If you're a college or high school student, I want you to know that writing well is a skill that takes time. Here are some tips that can help you get started with your essay.
1) Simple Language Is The Best Language.
Something that a lot of writing students do is “over-complicate” their sentences. Students make mistakes like creating really long sentences or using extremely flowery words. These are signs of a student who believes that this is what makes good writing. However, the reality is that the more concise your sentence is, the more powerful your point. This often leaves your sentences with simpler, clearer, and more basic language. If you find that you tend to do this in your own writing, it could be a sign that you may need someone to help flesh out what you’re really trying to say or get a deeper understanding of your topic. A friend or tutor is a good person to turn to for that.
2) Editing Is The Bulk of Writing.
The meat of your essay will come once you revise the draft. It does not and will never come on the first try. There is no writer in the history of writing that wrote anything perfectly the first time. If you find it hard to get started, do a brain dump of writing. You can write anything, even “I don’t know what to write.” You can revise, expand, and build on points later but you have to start somewhere. Don’t judge your first draft. Don’t judge yourself when you do a first draft. If you having a second pair of eyes, this will help create a rich essay because you are checking if you are properly communicating your ideas with an audience.
3) Read It Out loud.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but reading out loud helps! Your brain is wired to filter out excess information, so if there are typos or weirdly phrased sentences, your brain tends to automatically make it logical. Reading your work out loud forces you to read what is there and not what your brain thought you wrote. This will reinforce the habit of writing things correctly, the more you revise and edit your work.
4) Make Grammar The Very Last Step
There is a reason why grammar isn’t the most exciting part of English. English grammar rules have so many exceptions. The rules change depending on the sentence and what the author is trying to say. Although grammar can be its own blog post, here are some quick and easy grammar rules to keep in mind:
- Long works are italicized. Shorter works have quotation marks.
Moby Dick is Herman Melville’s most famous novel.
The article “How to Get Away With Murder” was an exciting read.
- “Than” is a word for comparison and “then” is a word to mark time or demonstrate a subsequent action.
ex. The results of the lab tests in California seemed more accurate than the results in Baltimore.
ex. The man sped down the highway and then took a dangerous U-turn.
- Notice contractions versus possession
It’s= It is
Its= It (in the sentence) owns something
You're= You are
Your= It belongs to you
They’re= They are
Their= It belongs to them
5) Good Writing Takes Time
You cannot rush a good paper. Good writing is revised thinking. It takes time, energy, and a collective effort to make a good piece of writing. It is not an activity reserved only for geniuses or for those who already love writing. It is a skill. The more you do it, the better it becomes. It is not instantaneous! Writing is a process.
I hope this helped and gives you a good glance of what tutoring with me looks like. I'm looking forward to helping you with your writing goals and needs! Until next time,