Whether we’re writing majors or not, being able to express our arguments and ideas comprehensively is integral in earning any degree. As a playwriting major and creative writing minor, myself, I’ve had a lot of wiggle room to explore various writing styles and techniques in making myself a more effective, talented writer. I’d like to share with you six tips I’ve picked up along the way in hopes that they help you in earning your dream degree, too!
1. Never stop reading. Ever.
It doesn’t get any more simple than that. It could be historical fiction, memoir, science fiction, fantasy, poetry or even your local newspaper. The idea behind reading is that you make yourself susceptible to more vocabulary and that you’re exposing yourself to different forms of sharing information and storytelling. Although it may not seem like reading will drastically impact your writing, I can tell you that when I haven’t read a good novel in a long while, my fiction writing isn’t as coherent as it normally is. So with that said, it won’t kill you to pick up a book!
2. Recite your writing aloud.
My playwriting professor once mentioned to my class that we simply do not know what we have in front of us until we read it aloud. Whether you’re writing your ninety-page thesis or first full-length play, my professor’s advice applies. In order for a work of writing to be both clear and fluid, the reader has to be able to comprehend the voice that the work is presenting. Therefore, if the voice isn’t clear, your piece of writing is ineffective. In order to ensure that your voice is strong, clear and fluid, you need to read your writing aloud. If it sounds wrong to you aloud, it’ll definitely sound wrong to your reader in their mind.
3. Explore the areas in which you’re most passionate.
This one is pretty straightforward. If you don’t appreciate or take a liking to what you’re writing, odds are it isn’t going to be very good. Therefore, do the best you can to find topics, issues or genres in which you take a strong liking in to write about. This makes the act of writing less tedious to you, all while helping you create your own writing style.
4. Don’t filter yourself.
One of the best pieces of advice I’d ever received in terms of becoming a better writer was to “write now, edit later.” Although this sounds pretty straightforward, this is a concept I’ve struggled with for a long time. The idea here is to write whatever comes to mind, whatever you’re feeling and whatever you need to say honestly and as truthfully as you can. Writing the truth can oftentimes be both terrifying and exposing but that, my friends, is what makes amazing writing. Not only have I found that when I write truthfully I leave a greater impact on my readers, but I’m also leaving no stone unturned in terms of my potential. Writing truthfully is tapping into your potential as a writer and what stories are you unique to you.
5. Ask for honest opinions.
Oftentimes you’ll think what you’re writing is perfect the way it is and although you should always stick to your own vision and trust in your abilities, it could never hurt to ask someone to read your work and provide feedback. By having someone you trust read your work and provide you with feedback, you give yourself a better understanding as to what a reader might most absorb from your writing. After listening to feedback, you may feel as if you have a better sense of the direction you’re taking with your work, or decide there are some things you may want to alter or edit out completely. It’s all a part of the process.
6. Don’t wait until you’re good.
I cannot stress this enough. Whenever my peers come to me asking for help on a writing assignment, the first thing I tell them is that, as mentioned before, writing is a process. It consists of exercises, reading, researching, editing, amending, writing and rewriting again. Think of it as running a marathon. You are not going to wake up one morning and be able to run twenty-six miles like it’s nothing. It’s something you have to dedicate time, energy and above all, passion into. So, it’s best you start the process sooner rather than later.
Although I recognize that not everyone is as passionate about writing as myself, I’m also aware that many of us need to be able to express ourselves confidentially through the written word in order to achieve our goals and get our degrees. So, I hope these six tips and tricks help you improve your writing. Above all, I hope you find power in your words.
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