I recently received an e-mail from eCollegeFinder, an onine source to assist students in finding accredited online educational institutions. The e-mail asked for two seemingly simple pieces of information: a blog description and advice for student writers. Each had to be summarized in a mere two to four sentences. Most writers and bloggers could probably go on for days to answer such a question, so it was a task to narrow it down. Talk about precision!
I'd like to share my answer to the second question with all of you, and challenge you to share your best advice for student writers as well! I will be a bit more lenient on the limitation, and expand on mine in the sample response below.
writercize: What advice can you offer students aiming to improve their writing acumen? (I am adding: what advice can you offer beginning writers and bloggers?)
No worries about the 2-4 sentences; you may expand to a couple of paragraphs or a max of 15 bullet points.
Read "click more" for writercizer sample response, including those extra goodies not included in the original email, and remember to stop in this weekend for the first ever #WeekendWritercize challenge!writercizer sample response:
Practice, practice, practice. Don't censor your brain as you write - write what you love and what interests you, and do the same with reading. Once you've poured it all out onto the page or the computer, pull out the grammar handbooks and writing instruction manuals to go back and edit. Finally, while editing, know when to follow the rules and when to break them - for example, it may be wise to follow the rules closely for a term paper, but break them for impact in a short story.
I would also add:
- Play with words.
- Don't be afraid to try a genre outside of your comfort zone. You may find a new love, or it may help you loosen up the screws of that box you've been thinking in!
- Read your writing aloud when you are done. Feel how the words roll off your tongue.
- Choose when to edit and control yourself and when to let go. I post the raw output on my blog, but I write twice as much as I need to in my journalism and chop away the excess to find the heart of the story.
- Be willing to see where the story wants to take you. I often find my stories do not reveal themselves in the manner I had imagined. Some people start with a title; I think it's wiser to end with it.
- Take a break and get out to enjoy the world. A writer needs to experience life in order to write about it, and the brain needs a respite to allow the subconscious to make the real magic.
- Don't be afraid of criticism - it is your friend.