Friday, May 21, 2010

Don’t Forget the Basics

With the advent of computers, the Internet, E-mail, and especially texting, many students have glossed over basic writing skills in favor of abbreviated forms of communication. While most will sadly be able to get by communicating in writing, those interested in becoming writers have to heed to the call.

If you have any dreams of becoming a published writer, you need to pay close attention to your writing skills and, for some, English usage. The writing business has standards of quality—strict ones—that all writers follow, from best-selling book authors all the way down to beginning freelancers writing for their local newspaper.

While most people think that writing skills mean punctuation and capitalization—what writers call mechanics—the truth is they also include things like phrasing and idioms, and at the top of the list, sentence structure and paragraphing. Way down on the list is vocabulary. It doesn’t take big words to make your readers understand what you’re trying to say.

So if you’re writing skills aren’t up to par, it doesn’t matter how great your ideas are because you won’t be able to express them properly.

If you find your writing skills below par or perhaps lacking altogether, enroll in a basic composition class or a basic writing class at a local school night or community college. The former are less expensive and usually run for six to eight weeks. That’s plenty of time to get your skills in shape, especially if you have assignments to write each week.

Of course, you can improve your writing skills on your own, but you won’t get any feedback and that’s very important—not only from the instructor but from other students. If you have any plans to publish anything, get started now improving a writer’s second greatest asset—your writing skills. The first is your ideas.

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