1. FIND YOUR SPOT
You’ll need to find a good quiet place to write. Find a place with no distractions and turn the TV off. An up-to-date computer will be necessary, and the cleaner the room, the less it will distract you.
Concentration is important. Put the phone on silent mode. Writing is thinking, and your thinking is the clearest when it’s not occupied by other things.
2. ONLINE RESOURCES
Here some helpful online resources to help get you started learning to write well:
3. KNOW WHAT MESSAGE YOU MEAN TO CONVEY
It seems rather obvious that you need to have a clear vision in your mind to dedicate to the words on the page. You’ll need to think through the message first. It would be helpful to organize it into sections, such as this article was written in sections. Taking the overall message apart and tackling them individually is an effective strategy.
4. DON’T USE COMPLICATED LANGUAGE
The clearer and easier to understand that your writing is, the better. I use the Hemingway App, which tells you when your writing is too complicated. It also helps with adverbs and other helpful tips. You can write directly in the editor, or copy chunks of text and paste it into the editor.
5. WRITE CONVERSATIONALLY
The best writing is still conversational. Whether it’s legal opinions of a court, or medical findings in a journal, or descriptions of a machine in engineering, readers prefer conversational style writing. Writing a complicated thing in an easily understandable way also ensures that you do indeed understand what you’re writing about. This comes across in a winning way to your professors.
6. WRITE FOR YOUR INTENDED READER
For whom are you writing? It will probably be your professor, who will not need long explanations or belabored points. They will likely understand what it is you’re trying to say without your over-explaining. They will also not need words defined.
7. DON’T BLUFF
Know your material. Professors know when students are bluffing their way through content. It is better to say that you didn’t understand a point than to try and fake your way through it.
Not understanding something is okay, but being disingenuous about it isn’t. Don’t bluff. Ask your teachers and professors for help before yo u try to bluff your way through any content.
8. THE MORE YOU WRITE THE BETTER YOU GET AT WRITING
There is no perfect writer. But we can approximate to it to varying degrees. We can get better by the effort. We learn by doing. You’ll find that by writing your thinking gets clearer, and your writing gets better as your thinking is clearer. It’s a kind of positive feedback loop.
9. IMPROVE YOUR VOCABULARY
The thing that’s helpful about having a large vocabulary, is that you can convey a meaning in just a few choice words. There are words that aren’t terribly complicated, but help turn a phrase. Words such as “auspices”, “albeit”, “rubric”, “bereft”, etc., can actually keep the sentence short and to the point. Professors love this sort of language, because it can convey a certain higher level of competence and sophistication.