Today’s job market is full of uncertainty, leaving many students confused when it comes to choosing what career to pursue and which courses to study.
Regardless of your choice, having a solid set of writing skills can not only boost your grades but also make you attractive to a broader range of employers who expect written communication abilities, no matter your degree.
Here are 6 tips to get your writing like a pro.
6 Tips For Developing Essential Writing Skills
1. Develop Essential Writing Skills by Brainstorming
Writing a persuasive research paper is easier when you have a genuine interest in the subject matter.
Choose a topic that you’re passionate about and would love to learn about in greater depth.
Make sure you research the topic well before you start writing.
You might discover there isn’t enough current information on it, or that it wasn’t what you were expecting if you start without doing the proper research.
Have a good idea of the shape and main arguments of your paper, planning ahead with mind-maps or bullet points.
You then make sure that you have a structured and well-planned paper which has a flow your reader can follow.
2. Develop Essential Writing Skills by Narrowing Your Focus
A broad topic tends to be as difficult for the reader to follow as it is for the writer to write.
Once you begin developing a topic, narrow your focus, and develop a clear, precise thesis statement that presents a strong argument.
With that in mind, keep it simple!
Just because the focus is narrow doesn’t mean it has to be so detailed that it is difficult to understand.
A thesis statement keeps both you and your readers on track – you know what position you’ve taken for your paper, and all your subpoints will lead back to this.
Figuring out your thesis statement is the next big decision to make after deciding on your topic.
3. Develop Essential Writing Skills by Not Skimping on the Sources
Make sure your professor knows that you researched your project thoroughly and have an understanding of your topic by using trustworthy, relevant sources.
The Questia library is an excellent resource for researching and supporting claims within your paper.
Remember also to integrate the citations into the text itself.
Use current research as much as possible, to show that your arguments are all supported by the latest available evidence.
Remember, books, research journals, and conference papers are much more weighted and credible sources of information than online blogs and Wikipedia.
4. Develop Essential Writing Skills by Staying Organized
Save all your notes in a special binder to house your materials until you’ve received a final grade.
To make organization simple, Questia’s personal workspace allows users to store sources in personalized files, highlight text and make notes in the margins, and even automatically create citations and bibliographies.
When you are citing a considerable body of research, it’s so important to sort all your information according to the points you’re planning on making.
If you organize your information in a way that makes sense, it’s easier to find what you want to refer to as you’re writing.
Similarly, when you structure your information, your writing will reflect this.
5. Develop Essential Writing Skills by Editing
They may catch spelling or grammatical errors you’ve missed and can give you honest feedback on how well you developed your argument.
Additionally, TAs are more than happy to review first and even second drafts of your paper—don’t feel like the first time they view it should be the final draft.
They are there to coach you through the process and help you improve your writing skills.
There are online resources like Grammarly to help you catch grammar and spelling errors as well!
6. Develop Essential Writing Skills by Not Forgetting the Finishing Touches
Check if your professor provided specific guidelines on format or presentation such as required binding or a cover page, and don’t forget to add the basics like your name, class, date, and a staple!
Questia saves students valuable time on research papers and projects. With Questia, students can accurately cite sources in seven different styles and organize their notes, research, and references all in one place.
Librarians have specially selected Questia’s 77,000 academic books and 4 million journal articles—many of which are peer-reviewed.
Since Questia is accessible 24/7, students can research any time of day from anywhere, with the confidence that they’re using credible content from trustworthy sources.
With these essential writing tips, you can plan, write, and submit your essays and work reports like a professional.
Just knowing how to start and structure your work gets you halfway there!
Try them out and do share your feedback on how you found the process!
Pat Wyman is the CEO of HowtoLearn.com and an internationally noted brain coach known as America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert. She has helped over half a million people in schools and corporations such as Microsoft, Intel and Google improve their lives with her learning strategies, learning styles inventory and courses, such as Total Recall Learning™.
Her superpower is helping people learn, read and remember everything faster. Pat is the best-selling author of more than 15 books and is also a university instructor, mom and golden retriever lover!
[ Updated – November 3, 2020 ]