A Blog Post For Students Who Can't Write Good

A Blog Post For Students Who Can't Write Good
Natalie Kozma
November 21, 2014
Graphic of man in suit pushing text that reads 'really'

Pop quiz! Can you spot the grammatical error in the blog post title? Pop Quiz #2! Can you name that movie reference?

I apologize if the title of this article discredits my ability to write well (not good), but with the recent news of a Zoolander” sequel, I simply could not resist the chance to simultaneously revive some of my favorite quotes as I offer writing tips.

So why improve your writing skills?

Whether you love or despise it, writing is a skill that translates into any career. You need to have excellent writing and communication skills to flourish at work and in life (even if you are really, really ridiculously good-looking). I understand that for some people writing an essay is like pulling teeth, but when you have the proper tools to communicate your message effectively, it becomes less painful. Plus, being an excellent writer is so hot right now.

Here are four easy steps you can follow to improve your writing:

  1.  Read your first draft out loud – When you finish writing, review it by reading it out loud. You might feel uncomfortable at first, but I promise this will help you catch awkward wording, missing commas and other mistakes that can remain hidden in your document if you only skim it with your eyes. Your ears are valuable resources. Use them!
  2.  Search your document for common mistakes – The next step I like to do in my writing process is to search my document for specific grammar mistakes that I often make. These are usually small issues, such as “its” vs. “it’s.” When you leave common errors like this in your writing, it sends the message that you don’t understand basic grammar concepts. We don’t want that! You’re better than that. I suggest you either research or make a list of your most frequent grammar mistakes, and use the shortcut key “Command + F” to search your document for them.
  3.  Delete meaningless words – When you are tight on word count it is difficult to know what to keep and what to cut. Start by looking for words that convey little meaning. These are often verbal tics. For example, “kind of,” “very,” “really” or “actually.” After, search for instances where you use double words, such as “full and complete” or “first and foremost.” Don’t group two words that convey the same meaning! It is wasteful and doesn’t add anything new to your sentence. Be tactful with your diction, and make every word count.
  4.  Have a second person edit – The editing process never ends. You simply run out of time. After completing the first three steps, however, your eyes are probably tired and it is difficult to flag anything else wrong in your writing. This is when you find someone new to review it. This will help you catch little errors, but more important it will test the clarity of your message. Do you demonstrate your thoughts clearly? Does the structure make sense? Even if your grammar is flawless, if your audience does not understand the purpose of your message, consider it a failure.

But why improve your writing skills?

... Are you serious? I just, I just told you that a moment ago.

Source: quickmeme.com

Written by Natalie Kozma, an intern at Güd Marketing from May - December 2014.