It is never too late to learn how to write. Whether you are a college student struggling to complete a thesis or an aspiring author, having strong writing skills is extremely important. Even those who did not choose humanities find out, often to their dismay, that they need to write a lot.
It is obvious that in order to be a good writer you must be aware of grammar rules and generally have a solid command of the language. However, there are other, often invisible pitfalls one may encounter on their way to becoming a professional writer.
One Fact at a Time
When you write, it is critical not to overburden your text with too many details. It holds true both for academic as well as creative writing. Imagine you are the reader. You definitely wouldn’t like being bombarded by a billion different facts which are very vaguely interconnected.
If you want to be a good writer, mention one fact at a time. It is better to devote the whole paragraph trying to prove one point than to pin down a jumble of ideas without a clear central point. This way your reader won’t be confused, and your writing will come off as more structured.
No Unnecessary Details
You know those writers who like to catalogue every single detail of the protagonist’s appearance. Or those writers who indulge in lengthy landscape descriptions? Even if you happen to enjoy them personally, the majority of readers would simply skim over or abandon the book altogether.
So, if you want to be engaging to your readers, you should learn to avoid meaningless details and focus on those little semes which add symbolism or highlight really significant characteristics. If you do that, your writing will be both professional and engulfing.
One little error is okay. Two little errors are fine. Three… not so much.
It does not matter whether it’s a blog post or a dissertation. Proofreading is just as important for your professor as for your friend surfing the Web. Of course, we all make mistakes, and one little typo is not going to ruin your entire text. However, the more there are, the less professional you look.
So, do not be lazy and take a couple minutes to proofread your text.
Many students do not realize that in order to improve their communication skills, it is not enough to read and listen a lot. They must also try to emulate their successful peers’ and teachers’ style while also trying to adapt it to their personalities.
Copying does not mean plagiarizing. All great people derive their inspiration from their predecessors. If you doubt me, google Freddie Mercury, and you will see that he was a fun of Elvis Presley and Robert Plant. Those two musicians are often mentioned as his main influences.
Find Your Voice
Once you know the ropes, it is time to master your own writing voice. Artists learn to paint by copying other great paintings, but at some point they need to give it up and create something original. You will also have to do that if you want to be recognizable.
Many writers make a mistake trying to create something original before they learn the canons. You cannot successfully break the conventions unless you are aware of them. You cannot become a professional writer unless you know what is meant by it.