January 27, 2014

Things You Can Do to Improve the Flow & Organization of Your Essay

Writing is the easy part. Revision is hard. But there are a few things you can do to help improve the flow and organization of your essay. Check out some writing tips below to help keep your momentum going.

Read it aloud to get a sense of the flow and coherence. Rewrite or omit anything that sounds awkward or nonsensical.

Make sure the first sentence of everybody paragraph sets up for the entire paragraph. This topic sentence should be like a mini-thesis for each paragraph.

Be wary of using too many transition words like first of all, secondly, in addition, however, and to conclude. See how your sentence sounds without a transition word first. Then, adjust accordingly.

Instead of trying to rewrite a sentence that just isn't working, start from scratch. Clarify what you want to say and then write a new sentence without looking at the old one. You will be surprised how much easier this is than trying to rework a difficult sentence.

Simplify. When in doubt, write what you want to say in as simplest terms as possible. Imagine you are explaining a concept or subject to someone who has not been exposed to it yet. Do not overcomplicate the language and wording. This often leads to confusion.

January 13, 2014

5 Quick Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

Thank you for stopping by the blog! We've put together five quick tips to support your writing!

1.     Read.
Read as much as you can. It can be anything: fiction, non-fiction, magazine articles, newspapers, memoirs, poems.... Don’t limit yourself. The more types of writing and styles you are exposed to, the more versatile a writer you will become.

2.      Write.
Write essays and stories and speeches. Write letters and emails and notes to your friends. Write without censoring your words and without judgment. Write what comes into your head and see where it takes you. Just the practice of expressing your voice and of stringing together words will not only build your writing skills, but also your ability to connect to exactly what you are thinking and feeling.

3.      Connect.
Connect with others who are trying to improve their writing as well. Attend workshops on writing skills. Ask questions. No one expects you to know everything there is to know about writing. If you’re not exactly sure what semicolons are used for, ask someone who might know (a professor, a writing tutor, a classmate, etc).

4.      Go online.
There are plenty of writing resources on the Internet that can help you with getting started, organization, and correct grammar and word usage. For a general place to go for some resources, try OWL at Purdue: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/

5.      Be Authentic.
Remember that your writing is a reflection of your thoughts and feelings. Don’t try to impress anyone but yourself. Be honest in your writing and let your words speak for themselves. 

Jennifer has a Bachelor’s degree in Math Education from New York University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has taught high school math in Bergen County for the past six years and has tutored all levels of math, reading and writing. She believes that writing is a form of self-expression - a way to communicate ideas, thoughts, and feelings that cannot be expressed in any other way. When she is not working at the Writing Center, Jennifer writes short experimental fiction and creates whimsical jewelry.