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How can I become a better writer?

I'm starting to apply for colleges now, but I'm currently incompetent with my writing skills. How can I improve? #writing

Thank you comment icon Hi Paul, I wanna become a writer too my best advice to you is write your heart in a book and find a publishing company and see what happens best of luck the only way to improve is by trial and error Maria

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Kendall’s Answer

Hi Paul,


Those are some very good answers above. My only additional piece of advice would be to write about what most interests you - if you're interested in what you're writing, that's the best indicator that someone else will be interested in what you're writing as well.


If you're specifically concerned with college application essays, you should spend some time reading other essayists. There's a book published each year called "Best American Essays" that your local library should be able to track down for you.


Good luck!
Kendall

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Shira’s Answer

Hi Paul,


Good question! My recommendation (other than to read as much as you can, which is great advice) is to ask for feedback, and pay close attention when you get it. When you get a writing assignment back from a teacher, don't just look at the grade, look at every little dash, line and mark. Each one is a clue about what areas you still need to develop. Study each one, and don't move to the next mark until you understand why your teacher wrote it, and how to change it for the better. Consider setting up a time to talk to your teacher about where you can improve. If there is a learning or writing center at your school, or a teacher, librarian or older student you trust, that's a great place to start. Ideally you would have these discussions in person, but if you want to submit a short piece of writing through Career Village, I'm sure your friends here would be happy to provide edits and feedback.


One important note on Stephen King's advice, particularly around not getting "overly caught up in grammar." That is true...but only for fiction writing. I would argue that grammar is very important in non-fiction, academic, and business writing, especially when you're just starting out.


Writing is a skill and it takes lots and lots of practice, so don't give up if you're still learning to find your voice. It's a journey!


All the best,
Shira

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice! I recently finished a college application essay and I was wondering if you can proofread it? Paul
Thank you comment icon Hi Paul. I saw your note requesting to have Shira proofread your essay. I love the idea of allowing volunteers to proofread essays, and I'm going to discuss it with our team here to figure out if there's a way to make that possible. In the meantime, I think Shira's suggestion to basically submit your essay as a question is a decent workaround. I'd tag it with "college-applications" and "college-essays" and something that will attract writers such as "publishing". Jared Chung, Admin
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David’s Answer

Read more. Read the classics, read the beat writers, novels, news journals, biographies, thrillers , sci fi/fantasy. Learn how to listen to conversations around you and absorb how people talk in everyday conversations. Watch how people move, walk, run and sit with others and alone. Put into your own words what things smell like, sound like and how they feel to the touch.


As noted in the above answer, adverbs can be the enemy. I suggest writing with them and then removing all but the one or two that are needed. Ask yourself is this word needed? Is the night dark? (if it wasn't dark it would not be night)


Cover as many genres as you can. Pay attention to what you see in your mind as you read. This is what you want to give your readers as they read your work.


And write everyday. That doesn't mean you have to write a complete story or even a good one. Just write at least one paragraph. And write letters. Write them on paper. Open yourself to those you care about in these letters. Commit to paper your hopes, fears, loves, dreams and anger. You don't have to share or send them. Just write them.

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Daniela’s Answer

Hi Paul,


Renowned author Stephen King has written over 50 books that have captivated millions of people around the world.


In his memoir, "On Writing," King shares valuable insights into how to be a better writer:



  • Stop watching television. Instead, read as much as possible.
    If you're just starting out as a writer, your television should be the first thing to go. It's "poisonous to creativity," he says. Writers need to look into themselves and turn toward the life of the imagination.


To do so, they should read as much as they can. King takes a book with him everywhere he goes, and even reads during meals.



  • Prepare for more failure and criticism than you think you can deal with.


Oftentimes, you have to continue writing even when you don't feel like it. "Stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea," he writes. And when you fail, King suggests that you remain positive. "Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure."




  • Write primarily for yourself.
    You should write because it brings you happiness and fulfillment. As King says, "I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever."




  • When writing, disconnect from the rest of the world.
    Writing should be a fully intimate activity. Put your desk in the corner of the room, and eliminate all possible distractions, from phones to open windows. King advises, "Write with the door closed; rewrite with the door open."




You should maintain total privacy between you and your work.



  • Avoid adverbs and long paragraphs.
    As King emphasizes several times in his memoir, "the adverb is not your friend." In fact, he believes that "the road to hell is paved with adverbs" and compares them to dandelions that ruin your lawn. Adverbs are worst after "he said" and "she said" — those phrases are best left unadorned.


You should also pay attention to your paragraphs, so that they flow with the turns and rhythms of your story. "Paragraphs are almost always as important for how they look as for what they say," says King.




  • Don't get overly caught up in grammar.
    According to King, writing is primarily about seduction, not precision. "Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes," writes King. "The object of fiction isn't grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story." You should strive to make the reader forget that he or she is reading a story at all.




  • Write every single day.
    "Once I start work on a project, I don't stop, and I don't slow down unless I absolutely have to," says King. "If I don't write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind ... I begin to lose my hold on the story's plot and pace."




Read all the article and take notes of all the tips in :
http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-king-on-how-to-write-2014-8/17-take-your-writing-seriously-117


Good luck and let´s write!!

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