Writing can be hard….

…but just think, it could be worse. We started by painting pictures on cave walls.

Eventually the pictures began representing what they were.

                                  

Foot           Woman        Hand          Head

Can you imagine writing a paper by drawing?  That would take hours!

Make writing easier.  Visit the Online Writing Lab and get the help you need now.  Done writing? Submit your work for feedback on your writing project.  Don’t be prehistoric!  Use the resources that are available today.

Source: http://www.historian.net/hxwrite.htm , http://access.wisconsin.edu/owl/

Writing with Personality

Let’s be serious for a second – writing is not always easy or fun. You would think that your wit in person would come through inherently on paper or on screen, whatever your medium… Not so, I declare. I find myself to be a pretty decently snarky and clever gal in conversation, but I have my days where I sit in front of a freshly written paper and just berate myself. For like. An hour. “How on this sweet,  green earth did I think that was canny or insightful? What the hell does that sentence even mean? Is that SERIOUSLY supposed to be a creative metaphor? Garbage. Seriously. Have a nap. Wake up competent. Thanks.” 

My subconscious can be really harsh…

And then there are other days where I write as if I’m just regurgitating information in my own words. It’s disgusting. It’s practically word vomit. It’s unfocused, boring, and stiff. No one wants to read that.

My point is – write with your personality! It shouldn’t be horribly informal if it’s for a class, but we should still get the idea that you’re probably an interesting and insightful person. Unless you’re not, then…sorry, I guess. You should have had more Kool-Aid or something.

I’m not sure if I’ve made it obvious enough, but I’m kind of a smart aleck in person. Shockingly, people like that. Take your signature character trait and use it to your advantage in writing! There’s no magic method to finding your ‘self’ in your writing, so why not play and practice a little? Try writing a paper as formally as you can, then write it as if it’s the biggest joke in the world. Is there a happy medium that you can find?

I know I’m not the only one who would like to be mildly entertained while reading something informative! Learning new things is a lot easier when it’s also fun, guys.

Title Pending…

Starting a paper always seems to be the hardest part. I don’t know about you, but I figure if I get a title down across the top, I’m on my way. But for whatever reason…that’s the hardest part. It could be an essay about puppies and I’d still sit there tapping absently trying to think of something clever without being cliche or boring. And let’s face it – titles pull the reader in and engage their initial interest. I’ve thought up some tips that might help.

  • First, can you get away with being witty or snarky or is this a serious, big kid paper? If the former, we’ll have more fun. If the latter…then be boring..?
  • Determine the audience for this paper. Is it a book report of some sort? Or is it an analytical, scientific paper?
  • Determine the theme of your essay. Sometimes, I just condense the known theme of my essay and plop it right there in the title. Doesn’t always have to be witty, but at least you know what you’re getting into!
  • If all else fails, write the paper first! Come back to your title later. I actually do this a lot where I take a particularly clever line or important statement and make it my title.

Just avoid making your heading “Puppy Paper”. Alliteration is cute, granted. But holy snooze fest, Batman…

Writer’s Block?

I don’t actually know what writer’s block is. The word ‘block’ implies to me that, once I come upon it, that I can just leap over it without a second thought. Easy. Those times where I cannot for the life of me think of what to write cannot be classified as writer’s block. It’s literally writer’s mountain range. Here’s what goes into my writer’s mountain range:

  • Assignment is given.
  • Stare at requirements for about an hour or two for good measure.
  • Procrastinate. (See yesterday’s post.)
  • Eat out of boredom.
  • Stare at requirements again, and allow eyes to glaze over.
  • Type the word ‘The’.
  • Delete ‘The’.
  • Type first sentence.
  • Have eureka! moment and write the #&$^@ assignment.

Anyone have a mountain looming above a paper or another assignment?

Resume Writing Tips

First, the good news. You do not have to be a world-famous author to compose a solid, well-organized, professional-looking resume. All you need is the ability to express your ideas in proper English and have an understanding of how a resume should be organized and written.

Now, the bad news. You can forget most of the rules and principles you were taught when you were writing papers in high school or college. Those principles just don’t apply to resumes. Resumes are business documents and, as such, they follow certain conventions that business people take for granted but conventions that would make most English teachers cringe.

Following are five simple writing principles that apply specifically to resumes. All of them might come in handy when you begin to string words together in your resume, especially when the time comes to describe your work history.

1. Avoid the first person pronoun

The pronoun I has no place in a resume — and for a logical reason: Who else would you be talking about if not yourself?

Instead of this:

I demonstrated professionalism, tact, and diplomacy while I worked with our customers in high-pressure situations.

Write this:

Demonstrated professionalism, tact, and diplomacy while working with customers in high-pressure situations.

2. Keep your sentences short and don’t worry about fragments

Resumes call for short, crisp statements. These statements do not necessarily have to be complete sentences. You can frequently leave out the articles a, an, and the.

Instead of this:

Spent three years working on major accounts, as both a lead generator and a closer, demonstrating proven skill in organizing and managing a territory with efficiency as well as in developing customer databases.

Write this:

Spent three years working on major accounts. Generated leads and closed sales. Demonstrated proven skill in organizing and managing a territory and in developing customer databases.

3. Try a bulleted format:

  • Created and implemented statistical reports for large metropolitan hospital.
  • Analyzed costs with spreadsheet software.
  • Created database to track patient visits.

4. Use plain English

Don’t be victimized by the myth that the bigger the word you use, the more impressed the reader will be with your intelligence. Keep things simple. Go easy on the adjectives.

5. Go from general to specific

Sequence the information in a section by beginning with a general statement and following it with more specific ones.

Instead of this:

Supervised training of seven toy-making elves. Responsible for all toy-making and customer-related activities in Santa’s workshop. Answered customer complaints during peak season. (Note that the second of these two sentences is more general than the first.)

Write this:

Responsible for all toy-making and customer-related activities in Santa’s workshop. Supervised training of seven toy-making elves. Answered customer complaints during peak season.


Source: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/five-tips-for-better-resume-writing.html

Writing: Things to Check When Editing!

It can be so tempting to call it quits right after finishing an academic paper, but it is important to review your writing and correct possible mistakes. Your first draft should never be your final draft! Here is a list of things to double check after you write that last sentence.

  1. Try to avoid being repetitive. It’s very common when you are giving your own opinion to do this: I think, I’d say, in my opinion, what I’ve found, in my experience…
  2. Lose the excessive adverbs. Too many adverbs and adjectives cause you to lose focus. It also weakens your impact and clarity!
  3. Prepositional phrases can be excessive, too. Just remember this rule – If it is not important enough to deserve its own sentence, than it can’t be important enough to read.
  4. Be active not passive with verbs. Lose “to be” verbs, always.
  5. Use clear and informative headers.
  6. Typically, sometimes, often times, usually…Think about it. Are they that necessary?
  7. Instead of using “one”, speak to your audience. Don’t use nouns. Use “you” and “your” to speak to us.
  8. Remove common clichés and common phrases. Such phrases tend to be worn and tired…be creative!

10 Rules for Writing Perfect Emails

For good or ill, we do a lot of emailing in our everyday lives. Here are a few tips before you start composing that next electronic mail message.

  1. Make your subject-line specific. No one wants to read an email with a subject line “Question”. Instead, relate your subject line to the actual topic of the email, like “Question about the Murphy project, phase 2”.
  2. Get to the point in the first paragraph. Don’t make the people you’re emailing have to read through a lot of fluff to get to the meat of what you want to say. Say it right off the bat and you’ll probably write a shorter email.
  3. Call to action. Finish off your email with a definite end in mind. Tell your reader you’ll call them on Monday to follow-up or that you’d like suggestions on how to proceed.
  4. Write like you talk. Are you cold and blunt when you talk to your co-workers in person? No? Then don’t do it via email.
  5. Proofread. Misspelled words and other typos can make you look like you don’t know what you’re doing. Take a few seconds to read through your email before you hit send.
  6. Is the address right? Sending an important email to the wrong person not only wastes time, but can reflect poorly on you. Stop and check the email address.
  7. Be good. Avoid sensitive topics, politics, race, religion, sex, and disabilities.
  8. Not everyone needs to be cc’d. Only cc someone if they’re working on the project.
  9. E.T. Phone Home. If you’re spending 5 or more minutes on an email, why not just pick up the phone and explain the situation. Or, if possible, get up and walk to your co-worker’s office or desk to talk to them in person.
  10. No need for thanks. It’s unnecessary to reply every time with at “Thank you!”.

Keep them simple and keep them from clogging up your inbox.


Source: http://shine.yahoo.com/work-money/10-golden-rules-writing-perfect-email-160700740.html