Writing essays is a sore subject and a weak point for many students. According to research, nearly 40% of students can’t write at the college level. The youth face difficulties in writing as they are scared of the pressure to write perfectly and being assessed poorly for their thoughts. Fortunately, it’s possible to overcome this barrier and enhance your writing skills while you are still in college. Check out this list of seven tips.
1. Dive Into Reading
Reading is fundamentally different from watching movies. A movie flows by itself and, whether you realize what is happening on the screen or not, it goes on. The book requires the brain to be active from beginning to end. When you show conscious effort, you become able to think, which is a great way to train your writing skills.
This may sound obvious to some, but it is not superfluous to repeat it — it is impossible to learn to express your thoughts well on paper without reading hundreds of books. Choose various genres. Of course, you will not read all the books in the world, but try not to limit yourself to fiction, there are scientific, philosophical, and many other fascinating pieces of literature.
Many writing and cognitive skills increase automatically when you read a large number of books. As you read, you do not just learn something new or entertain yourself. You increase your vocabulary, remember grammatical structures, and, eventually, improve your writing skills.
2. Make mistakes
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes while writing. Mistakes are a necessary condition to improve your writing skills. There is hardly anyone in the world who can achieve perfection without making mistakes. Another question is how well you analyze mistakes so that you don’t make them from now on. And yet, be ready that there will be lots of them. And it is absolutely OK. Just take them as one of the conditions to improve your writing skills.
3. Always compile a plan
Good “writers” always think about the structure of the future text from beginning to end, even before they take a pencil and paper (or move the computer keyboard closer).
We advise you to start with a plan too. Take a piece of paper and write down a couple of sentences summarizing each major section that you intend to include in your text. Then make a list of subsections for each part. And finally, arrange the paragraphs and subsections in a logical order.
These sketches will help you see the structure of your future text and keep your focus during the work.
4. Use strong words
Good writing is soaked in unpredictability and surprise. A verb is the most powerful part of speech. Thanks to a strong word, a simple sentence gets a strong emotional charge and affects the person reading it.
However, a strong word does not always mean a sophisticated or complex one. Write “uses” instead of “exploits” if you feel that the first word expresses your thought more clearly and understandably.
Analyze artistic texts. If you see words or phrases that have left a strong aftertaste, write them down, and use them if possible. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Look for your own word combinations: take a dictionary, find a noun, then put any adjective under it and try to understand if it has meaning and emotional charge.
5. Choose a topic
When you choose a topic, you focus on one subject and try to find a lot of interesting points in it. It resembles art: look at an apple and describe it on 50 sheets. Such a creative task is not for everyone, but it is necessary to strive for this.
Boundaries are beautiful in any kind of creativity. So after selecting the theme, you can set yourself another task. For example, your story would not have words longer than ten letters. This simple way will make you treat your writing more consciously.
6. Automatic writing
You have to write a lot to improve your writing skills. And preferably, you should write by hand. Automatic writing is analogous to brainstorming for ideas.
Set yourself a task of sitting down at the table and writing about anything for an hour. You can jump from topic to topic, change your writing style and speed. Just don’t stop for a minute and write for an hour straight. Not only does this help to get rid of the fear of writing, but you will also learn to find topics in seconds. After a week of this practice, you will see that even aimless writing helps to improve your skills and makes you pay attention to the words you write.
The most important tip: write by hand. There’s no complete maneuver and flexibility in a text editor, and the essay turns out this way because it’s lazy or tough to correct. Whereas when you write by hand, you’re free to cross out, underline, highlight, and change phrases. Besides, many scientists agree that the motor of the hand activates parts of the brain that remain inactive when typing on the keyboard.
7. Have a voice
One of the main requirements for a written work is the need to formulate a view on a set topic. This basic idea — usually one or two sentences in an introduction — is called the “thesis”. Your thesis determines the content of the written assignment.
The stronger your thesis is, and the better it is supported by the information in the text, the more worthwhile the written work will look in general. Do not be afraid to take an aggressive position. As long as you support your point of view with facts, the text will effectively convey the attitude, whatever it may be.