Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Some people think that writing is an innate skill and people are born with it. You will be surprised to know, that this statement is not true. Writing an essay means developing your skills. Organization of your thoughts in essay composition makes the marked difference between a good and poor essay. A student may have great ideas, but unorganised thoughts and alignment of paragraphs may not result into an impactful essay.
Always remember there are bad writers and not bad readers. Therefore, the organisation of your thoughts on paper must be such that readers may not find it hard to understand the meaning of the sentences.
The three most important components, which make a good essay, are:
- Supporting points
Thesis defines the purpose of your writing. Once you have answered your question about the central point of your writing, you will know how to frame your composition. In the last line of your introduction, you must mention about the thesis. The reader will get the hint about the focal point in your essay.
Supporting points are the information, which proves your stated points. They are the evidences, which support your statements. In case if you do not have enough supporting points, then you must rework on your thesis or come up with a new thesis. For each supporting point, you must have a separate paragraph. The word count of your essay will determine how many supporting points you require.
Conclusion is the final and the most important component of your essay. Here you must recall your thesis. Do not repeat words or sentences. You have to reframe your words and sentences in such a way that you make the readers agree to your decisions in the essay.
You must keep some simple points in mind. Just as you, do not build a house without its blue print. Similarly and essay requires a blue print. Outline of your essay is very important. You may feel it is monotonous but outline of your composition helps in organisation of your thoughts. Disorganised essay writing means there is no planning involved.
Once you have given an outline to your essay, now you know that you will not deviate from your point. Write as per your essay outline.
The final step is the proofreading. You will spoil your essay if you have grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. You can take help from your friends or parents who will point out your mistakes. Often a writer is not able to pin point his errors, this is the reason you must involve somebody else for proof reading.
If you follow these steps in your essay, writing you will create a good essay. The formulation of an outlined plan is like a math formula, which gives you exact ways to progress in your essay writing. For a good essay writing incorporate these steps in your composition your readers will get the basic facts and information behind your essay writing.
Hope these tips would be useful for you. More information about how to write an essay you can find at my essay writing blog.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Does your creative writing feel a little predictable and samey lately? Do you find you always fall back to the same kind of words and phrases, the same kind of ideas?
A fantastic tool for giving your creative writing a new lease of life are creative writing prompts.
Here are 5 ways they can give your writing the boost it needs:
1. A new starting place gives a new perspective. When you write beginning from somewhere completely new, you can't help but have a different outlook to the ones you're familiar with. This fresh perspective encourages you to write with different eyes, in a way you may not have thought of before.
2. You can focus your energy on your writing, not on struggling for ideas. If you feel short of ideas then much of your creative energy seems to get sucked away desperately trying to find something interesting to write about. Creative writing prompts give you that different starting point so you can use your energy to focus on writing, not fretting about a lack of ideas.
3. You're more free to experiment. Writing on your own it's all too easy to stick to safe and trusted methods, even if it does mean you write virtually the same poem or story over and over again. Just by using writing prompts you're giving your creativity the green light, saying "I'm trying something new here, go with it and let's see what we can come up with." And you're creativity will be happy to oblige.
4. You write more, so you evolve more. You can write a short piece using a writing prompt in 5 or 10 minutes. With each new work, you've become a little more experienced, confident and flexible as a writer. This allows you to evolve more quickly meaning all of your writing benefits from a new depth of richness.
5. You put the fun back in writing. If you've been stuck in your writing lately, you'll have realised it's not much fun. Painful, more like. With writing prompts, you take off this pressure and instead begin with the attitude of enjoying your writing, experimenting and seeing where it leads. This new energy then spills over and enhances all your writing.
These are 5 great ways you can use creative writing prompts to give your writing a fresh injection of energy and start seeing more of your writing potential come to the fore.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Picture the scene. You head off to your creative workspace, head full of great ideas, ready to get writing and create wonderful, rich, three-dimensional characters in believable, realistic scenarios.
You're keen to write the stories that will touch and inspire people, make them say "that character spoke to me, I'm just like them!".
You open your notebook, switch on your computer, sit down, and... er, nothing happens, that's it.
For all your ambition and great intentions, you don't know where to start. You can't think what to write. You begin to wonder if you can even string together a couple of sentences, let alone a complete story or novel.
You're in the grip of the dreaded "Blank Screen Paralysis".
Also known as creative block, or writer's block.
But don't give up, because there's a way this story can still have a happy ending.
Creative writing prompts are an excellent tool to combat writer's block.
A creative writing prompt is a small phrase, idea, or picture that can be used to kick start your creative writing. They provide that initial little push we sometimes need to get our creative writing going.
Once we have got going, the momentum easily builds and we can write freely and deeply.
Creative writing prompts can be used as and when you need them, for example when you feel you're hit with some kind of creative block. But the great thing is, by using creative writing prompts regularly, you actually begin to create more easily without them.
Using them often means your mind begins to learn new ways of approaching your writing and finding starting points when it feels there aren't any. In a short space of time of using creative writing prompts written by others, you quickly begin to automatically come up with your own.
If you haven't used creative writing prompts before, try them out today and realise what a wonderful tool they can be to enhance your creative writing.
Monday, May 6, 2013
As admission to colleges and graduate schools becomes even more competitive, there is increasing importance placed on the essay as part of the admissions process.
Most of the colleges and graduate schools have different requirements and publish these in their guidelines. However, there is a basic approach to admission essay writing that you should use.
Your essay should be original and unique and make a good impression on the selection committee. In addition, your essay should reflect your analytical skills and your ability to deal with different situations, whilst also giving insights to the selection committee to help them understand why you want to do the particular course and how you will benefit from it.
Since admission essay writing does not come easy to everyone, it is always a good idea to start early so that you have plenty of time to proofread your essay and check your spelling and grammar.
The instructions provided by the college or graduate school that you are applying to will give you valuable tips on how to format and approach your essay, and you should follow these strictly. You would be surprised how many college applicants ignore these!
It is very important at the outset to develop your admission essay writing plan and then write your essay according to this plan. Your writing should demonstrate your ability to think clearly and express ideas properly while at the same time the essay should reveal your scholarly side.
The admission essay should clearly articulate your motivation for attending the college or graduate school and how you will benefit from the course. Your essay also needs to state what the institute will gain by accepting you as a student - many applicants forget this aspect.
It is very important to use a first person narrative while writing the admission essay and include active words that demonstrate the qualities and abilities that you will bring to the course. However, at the same time you should remember not to go overboard, or it may come across as false. Also don't make the essay too long as that will potentially lose the interest of the reader. One or two pages are likely to be sufficient but adhere to the published admission essay writing guidelines.
It is very important to keep your readers in mind while you are writing the essay. Check that your objective is clear and that your essay reveals the purpose and enthusiasm that you have for your chosen field of study.
As you can see, admission essay writing does not need to be difficult. The admission essay should portray your writing abilities and also reveal the clarity of thought and the depth of your knowledge in relation to your chosen field. In addition, you need to convey your motivation and commitment to study the course you are applying for and you can also use this to mention the career opportunities that you want to explore once you graduate.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
How many times have you been plagued by writer's block?
That horrible creative paralysis that comes when you're sat at a blank page or computer screen, desperate to write and pour out your creative ideas.
But the words just don't come. There's not even a slow drip, let alone the gushing rivers of creative writing you'd hoped for.
This type of creative block, or writer's block, can strike any creative writer and render them almost helpless.
But there is hope, and there are ways to overcome it.
Using creative writing prompts is a very effective method of combating the evil writer's block.
Creative writing prompts are in fact like your own special private team of superheroes.
They're ready and waiting to hit that evil villain known as writer's block right where it hurts and send it scurrying back to where it come from.
So how do these prompts work?
What they do is provide a short creative phrase, idea or sentence to get your creative juices flowing. Once you've had that little push to get you started, your own creativity kicks in and carries you forward.
The most difficult part of creating - especially when your confidence is low - is getting started.
Creative writing prompts step up to the rescue in their beautiful flowing capes and their underpants worn on the outside.
(Ok they don't ACTUALLY look like that, they're just a few words written down, but go with the analogy!)
So the next time you're stuck at a blank screen and feel you're suffering the effects and onset of writer's block, get on that superhero hotline and call up a few creative writing prompts to save the day!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
All the young Jedi apprentices groaned when Master Yoda announced, "You will an essay write."
Once upon a time, everything was made by hand. Each item had to be crafted individually; it took forever because there was no standardization. When Man grasped the concept of using patterns, templates and molds to mass-produce identical parts for later assembly, manufacturing efficiency took a great leap forward. Whether making furniture or automobiles, once people had assembled the first model, building additional copies was a piece of cake. They could be certain that the parts would fit together.
Why can't the same process be applied to writing essays?
Many folks would argue that writing an essay is not the same as building a car. An essay written by one individual will always differ from that of another. Conventional Wisdom says, "Essays defy standardization, so of course there is no way to make writing them easy." As a result, students believe that they must start from scratch all over again on each new essay assignment. The prospect causes great consternation. "What will I write? Where will I begin? If only there were some kind of essay writing system..."
The perception that no part of the essay writing process can be "systematized" (i.e. repeated over and over again) is flawed. It overlooks the fact that the structure of virtually every type of essay follows the same format. American high school English classes focus almost exclusively on the content of an essay. Since each essay assignment deals with new subject matter, students assume that all essays are different. They don't realize that "topic" is an irrelevant factor. There is very little discussion about the format of a properly structured essay.
Too bad! Most students don't learn the secret that makes writing essays easy - all they have to do is follow the same format every time. Usually the topic of the essay assignment is posed in the form of a question. There is never any doubt about where to begin - the first sentence of the essay should answer the question! After that, list some reasons supporting the answer. In the following paragraphs, provide details to back up those reasons. Each paragraph should deal with only one reason. Come to a conclusion.
It's a morceau de gateau (piece of cake). There is no need to feel confused. When students follow the format, writing an essay becomes like painting by the numbers. The formula never changes. Follow the yellow brick road and always stay on the path. If high school English teachers would devote three measly days to teaching this concept (and only this concept), most students would no longer have to panic when they hear, "You will an essay write."
c. 2009 Michael Strong
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Friday, April 12, 2013
f you've been consistently struggling with how to write essays, this article will show you four easy steps to writing consistently high quality essays. The main things you need to focus on are the essay subject, the opening paragraph, the overall structure of the essay, and your essay content and analysis. This article also provides links to two excellent resources for essay writing.
1. Picking a Subject for Your Essay
The first step when working out how to write essays is to decide what your subject or theme will be. Knowing the subject of your essay enables you to focus your efforts. You can immerse yourself in finding out all there is to know about a particular topic without any chance of getting distracted.
If possible, pick a subject you are interested in, because this will make writing the essay much easier. Even if you have been given a topic, try and find an 'angle' to it that has some interest to you. Good resources for essay material are the internet, written or e-books, journals or even interviews of people versed in your chosen subject.
Once you have found your topic, the next thing to focus on is the structure of your essay.
2. Structuring Your Essay
A vital part of learning how to write essays is to understand the importance of structure. Structure helps the reader to understand where your essay is going and what you are trying to tell them. Think of the structure as a 'framework' around which you can build your writing,
Firstly, while researching your topic, write down the main points in dot point form, using only a few words - these will form the main structure for your essay. It doesn't matter much at this stage what order they are in - you can sort that out later.
Under each main point, jot down 2 or 3 sub points that go into a bit more detail about that particular aspect of your essay.
Once you have this basic structure in place, you can start thinking about how many words to write for each part of your essay.
3. Number of words in your essay
This is a very important aspect of how to write essays. Let's say you have 2000 words to write for the whole essay and 5 main points, with 2 subpoints for each. Remember that you will also need an introductory and concluding paragraph, so that makes it about 12 paragraphs in total. This means you will need to write about 150-200 words per paragraph or sub point. Once you start to break it down in this way, you can see that learning how to write essays is not overwhelming - all you have to do is write a short piece of text for each of the ideas you are presenting.
Once you have the structure written down in note form, with the number of words for each paragraph, you can start to work on the details of your essay content.
4. Essay Content and Analysis
Look at what you have read for each of the main points of your essay and work out how you can talk about it in your own words, or in a more informative way. Look at your essay research notes and decide for yourself if the writers have made claims which, in your opinion, lack substance. If necessary, compare different claims and write down which of them is more valid, in your opinion, and explain why to your reader. Remember that each paragraph needs to lead into the next. This 'smooths out' the structure and helps the essay to 'flow' better.
Analysis can be a challenging thing to tackle when you are first starting to learn how to write essays, but it is well worth persevering with because it will make your essays much more worthwhile and readable.
In this article you have seen there are only four steps to writing a great essay. Learning how to write essays is an important part of improving your communication skills. It will be time well spent and there are many tools available to make your task much easier.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Every writer has their own unique creative writing abilities, a way of spinning words together like no-one else. Also, we're all capable of improving our writing, writing more richly, more deeply, more abundantly.
Often though we simply don't write.
Our creative writing potential just sits there, desperate to be set free but somehow unable to even start.
It's like owning a beautiful, elegant and extremely fast sorts car, but it's just sitting on your front drive and you've lost the keys...
So how do you find those keys?
How do you get that sports car that is your creative writing potential started up and out to rip it up on the open road?
Hot wire it!
You need a way of getting it started, something to give that initial ignition spark that fires the engine. The best way of doing this with your creative writing is to use some kind of creative writing prompt.
A writing prompt can just be a few words, a paragraph, a short exercise, an image, something that gives your creativity a starting point to set off in its imaginative journey from.
Many of us fear or avoid creative writing prompts, because we feel it's taking a short cut somehow, or it's cheating, we should come up with every tiny part of every idea ourselves.
It's an understandable concern in principle.
But using creative writing prompts is not copying or plagiarising someone else.
It's simply using that starting point to challenge and encourage your creative writing talents to get to work and produce something interesting, something that's all your own creation.
If you wanted to adopt this purist approach of not wanting to use creative writing prompts and be totally 100% original, you could also say - OK you can't use any SEQUENCE of words that anyone else has ever used. Oh and you can't use any WORDS that anyone else has ever used either. Actually, you can't even use the same LETTERS, you must make up your own alphabet, then your own words, then you can write something that's completely 100% original. Happy?
Seems a little silly doesn't it?
What would happen then also is no-one would even understand your writing, it would just be symbols on a page.
A huge part of creative writing is to weave the words that connect with people, that touch them, prompt them to recall a memory, an emotion or an experience from their own life.
It's very hard to do that with a completely new alphabet and language!
If you've had these kind of concerns before, maybe it's time to try out some writing prompts and see where they lead, see how they can hot wire that beautiful sports car of yours.
Why let it just sit there gathering dust on your driveway any longer?
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Creative writing prompts are a great tool we can use to explore and expand our writing, especially when it feels like we can only churn out the same old words and phrases time and time again.
So how do writing prompts work, and why should you consider using them in your writing?
Imagine your creative writing potential is a vast ocean, stretching off into the distance for as far as you can see. The problem is, you're merely paddling around at the shore, unable to go in any deeper than up to your ankles, while that ocean of possibility seems tantalisingly out of reach.
So you could wade out a little further, maybe even swim, and maybe you do this from time to time. But to really set sail on a voyage of writing discovery, you need a boat!
The problem isn't a lack of writing ability or a lack of ideas, or enthusiasm. The problem is taking the plunge and getting started on new writing adventures.
So, if you had a boat, you could push off from the shore in any direction you wish, sail as far as you wanted, even go around the world and back if that's what your heart desired. No more sitting at the shore gazing out in frustration and wondering if you'd ever write anything stimulating and rewarding again. You'll be too busy enjoying your sea adventures to worry about things like that!
So, back to your creative writing... The question is, how do you find a boat?
This is where creative writing prompts come in. A writing prompt gives you an initial direction to head in, and a strong launch from the shore. You have a specific idea in your mind to start with, which your creativity, once invited, will happily take over and explore in its own unique way.
But, hang on, if the prompt isn't your own idea, isn't that "cheating"?
This is a common concern and the simple answer is no. As soon as you set sail with the prompt, where you take it is completely up to you. After that initial push off, the sails and rudder are in your hands and you can use them to head in any direction you want to.
With writing prompts you don't then have someone on your shoulder (or in your boat!) giving you instructions about what to write, how many words to use, and which punctuation is most suitable. You're free to write however you want to write. The difference is, you've been given that initial boost that you've struggled to find on your own lately. Take it, use it, write the best you can write!
Thursday, March 28, 2013
It's the moment every parent dreads: when your child sits there, glum-faced, looking at a blank piece of paper in front of them. They have a rapidly-approaching deadline for their essay, and nothing, but nothing you do as a parent seems to help them get any closer to completion. What can you do to help? The answer is: quite a lot.
Producing a successful essay can be one of the most arduous parts of the schooling process, and yet, the need to write an essay is everywhere: from English literature, to economics, to physics, geography, classical studies, music, and history. To succeed, at high school and in tertiary study you must master essay writing.
Getting students over this barrier was one of the reasons I put pen to paper four years ago and produced a book called Write That Essay! At that stage, I was a senior academic at Auckland University and a university examiner. For nearly 20 years, in both course work and examinations, I had counselled everyone from 17-year-old 'newbies' to 40-year-old career changers with their essay writing. Often, the difference between a student who might achieve a B-Grade and the A-Grade student was just some well-placed advice and direction.
I then visited over 50 New Zealand High Schools and spoke with over 8000 kiwi kids about essay writing. These students reported exactly the same challenges as I had previously encountered, and more. The result has been two books and a DVD that have helped kids achieve some of the potential that sits inside all of us.
In this article I am going to deal with some things you can do as a parent to help your child succeed at essay writing. Because writing great essays is well within every child's grasp.
Tips for essay writing success:
1. It's an argument
Remember that an essay is an argument: the task in an essay is not to write a story or to recount a plot. The teacher knows all of this information. In an essay your child's job is to present a compelling argument-using specific evidence-for the point they are trying to make.
2. Write a plan: you'll be pleased that you did
Get your child to write a brief list-plan of the topics that their essay needs to cover. Even a short plan is better than no plan at all, and will start to give the writer a feeling that completing an essay on that topic is well within their grasp.
If your child is a visual learner, move away from the desk and go to a neutral space. Grab a large sheet of blank A3 paper and some coloured pens, and brainstorm a mind map or sketch plan of what the essay should contain. Using pictures, lines, circles, and arrows will all help the visual learner grasp the task at hand and help them see what they have to do.
3. Getting Started
A challenge many kids (and adults) face writing essays is getting started. The person sits there waiting for inspiration to hit them like a lightening bolt and it never happens. What can you as a parent do to help?
Encourage them with the thought that great essays are never written the first time over. Get them to view essay writing as a three-part process. The first draft is only to get out the ideas and words in rough form. In the second and third effort, they will add to their essay where there are blanks, clarify ideas, and give it a final polish. Realising that an essay isn't supposed to be perfect the first time you write it, really helps some people.
4. Having enough to say
If your child is still stuck, find out if they have read up enough on the topic. Some inertia with writing can be due to lack of knowledge. They will find writing so much easier if they spend another day or two reading more on the topic and gleaning some additional ideas.
5. Try using a neutral sentence
Suggest starting the essay with a neutral sentence: a sentence that merely states an interesting fact on the topic being written about. Here's one: 'Mozart was one of the most important Austrian composers of the eighteenth century.' First sentences in essays don't need to be stellar - you just need to start!
Now, go write that essay!
Titles available in this series:
Write That Essay! (for tertiary students)
Write That Essay! High School Edition
Write That Essay! High School Edition Box Set (includes book, DVD and worksheets)
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Have you ever used creative writing prompts?
Many writers have concerns about using creative writing prompts because they feel in some way it's cheating, or taking a short cut.
This is a common misconception, and it's understandable where it comes from. We want to be original with our writing, find our own unique voice and way of expressing ourselves through our words.
If we use someone else's words, how can we say we're being original?
You're not using the prompt then adding nothing else. You're making your own major contribution to the finished piece of writing.
Imagine it being like a fire.
You creative talent is the logs in the fireplace, all stacked up and waiting to be lit. If they don't get lit, there not going to burn. It's as simple as that.
What you need is that initial spark to get your creative fires crackling away.
And this is where creative writing prompts come in, and can be so effective.
They are the tiny match that provides the initial flame that sets your creative talents ablaze.
Once you've got going, it's far easier to keep the fire alive, by adding fuel in the form of your new ideas and creative talents.
If you tried to build a whole writing project from just creative prompts it wouldn't work. This would be like trying to make a bonfire out of individual matches. It would burn fiercely for a few seconds then die.
There's no real fuel of any substance there to keep the flame alive. That's what you provide and where your stack of creative talent comes in.
Creative writing prompts can help you become a better creative writer.
You've just got to be willing to try them out and see for yourself what a fantastic stimulus they can be.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
If you have been trying to learn how to write 5 paragraph essays, you will find that this article gives you a quick and easy breakdown of what is needed for each paragraph. If you follow this approach your essay will be well structured and satisfy the requirements of how to write 5 paragraph essays. The article also gives you access to further essay writing tools that will refine your skills in how to write 5 paragraph essays.
1. How to Write 5 Paragraph Essays - The Introduction
In learning how to write 5 paragraph essays, bear in mind that the first paragraph should clearly explain what the subject of the essay is. The introduction also needs to introduce what your main points will be.
There should have at least three of these main points - one for each of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th paragraphs, which together will form the central 'core' of your essay.
The introduction also needs to generate sufficient interest to entice the reader into the main body of the essay.
When learning how to write 5 paragraph essays, remember to avoid long drawn-out paragraphs. This makes for tedious reading, and quickly loses the reader's attention.
2. The 2nd Paragraph - Developing Your Main Idea
When working out how to write a 5 paragraph essay, remember that the second paragraph has to include information and a discussion about the most important aspect of the essay. If the essay is a commentary on a piece of written work, then you should explain how you have interpreted the main idea in that written work.
The reader's interest in the subject must be further enhanced by discussing several interesting aspects related to the main idea. For example, if your essay topic is about the history of your city, your main idea could be that the first settlement of that area was due to a nearby goldmine. Related ideas could be that the city thrived because the gold resources were extensive and easily mined
Once you have dealt with the main idea of your 5 paragraph essay, it is time to write about the next most important aspect of your essay topic.
3. The 3rd Paragraph - Developing Your Second Idea
This paragraph should draw the reader through from paragraph 2 into the second most important aspect of the subject.
In the example given above, the second most important idea could be that the city's location was also due to the transport opportunities that the nearby river offered. You can discuss how this relates to the main idea, perhaps because of the ease through which the gold could be transported away from that area.
The general aim of the 3rd paragraph is to enrich and expand upon the main point discussed in paragraph 2.
4. The 4th Paragraph - Developing Your Third Idea
This paragraph will cover the relatively minor aspects of the essay topic, including why they are less important than what you have written about in paragraphs 2 and 3.
However, these points of your 5 paragraph essay should still be interesting and of value to the reader and should also support the ideas presented in the preceding paraqraphs.
5. How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay - The Conclusion
An essential part of learning how to write 5 paragraph essays is to understand the vital importance of the final paragraph. This is where you must briefly reiterate and summarise the main points raised in the preceding paragraphs.
Make sure that your final paragraph leaves the reader in no doubt as to what your research conclusions are. For example, say you are comparing the opinions of several different authors and you have concluded that one author's opinion is more valid than the others. Your final paragraph should clearly state who that author is and why their opinion is 'best' in your eyes. By bringing together in a succinct way the information contained in the body of the essay, you will ensure that the interest of the reader is maintained until the last paragraph.
In this article you have seen the five steps necessary to creating a great 5 paragraph essay. Take the process of learning how to write 5 paragraph essays one step at a time and you will be guaranteed of success!
Saturday, March 2, 2013
However experienced a writer you are, you need certain techniques and methods you can use to write at your best.
And however spontaneously and freely you write, you're able to do this because of certain "rules" and systems you have in place. Even if you don't realise it.
Theses rules can be as simple and general as: "A sentence is made up of a collection of words in a logical sequence, a paragraph is a number of sentences and a chapter of a novel is a number of paragraphs following on from one another."
Or, your rules can be as precise as: "My haikus must be 3 lines long, made up of 5, 7 then 5 syllables and must contain one simple image."
Each set of rules you have enable you to write within a certain template, without having to go back to relearning language from the basics of your alphabet upwards.
Despite any preconceptions you might have about these kind of guidelines being limiting, they actually help you be more creative with your writing. And you simply wouldn't be able to write without them.
Think of them as tools in your writer's toolbox. If you have no tools, you can't make anything, but with a simple toolkit you can craft wonderful works of writing that would be impossible otherwise.
Among the best tools you can use for your writing are creative writing prompts or exercises.
A writing prompt is just a few words or an idea that gives you that initial spark of inspiration for your creative writing to set off from. Writing exercises can be wide and varied, but essentially they all give you taste of writing in new ways and trying different techniques you may not have come across before.
For any writer looking to continue to develop their writing, and unleash their full writing potential, writing prompts and exercises are both valuable tools to have in your writer's toolkit.
The bonus with prompts and exercises is that the more you use them, and the wider the variety you use, the more easy it becomes to write creatively and freely.
You also start to develop your own versions of exercises and prompts you've found effective, tweaking them to make them even more useful and powerful for you.
You also become more natural and instinctive in your writing. You might think that having too many tools, you'd be overwhelmed with which to use each time you want to write. But this doesn't happen, as the more you practice, the more you instinctively just use the technique that works for that piece of writing.
If you haven't tried creative writing prompts or exercises before, you're missing out on a great way to enhance your creative writing.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
No one questions the value of coaching in the world of sports, whether it is at the peewee level, or in the professional ranks. Athletic skills are developed and refined through coaching.
But what about writing skills? How are writing skills developed and refined?
If you are a student at the university, college or high school level, you may be asking yourself the same question.
How do you develop essay writing skills?
Just as with athletic skills, having an Essay Writing Coach can accelerate your development.
Here are three key ways in which an Essay Writing Coach can help you write good essays:
1) 1) Choosing an Essay Topic
Choosing an interesting, original and manageable essay topic is one of the most crucial steps in writing a successful essay. Choosing a topic that is either too broad to be covered within the parameters of your essay, or too narrow, resulting in the need to "pad" your content to achieve the required length, will doom your essay project before you have even begun. Your essay topic should not only be of interest to a reader (and your teacher or instructor) but also sufficiently focused to allow you to cover the topic adequately. An Essay Writing Coach can help you refine your essay topic so that it can be managed effectively.
2) Structuring Your Essay
One of the reasons that teachers and instructors continue to assign essays is to challenge students to think their way through a sustained presentation or argument in a logical way. Learning how to "structure" an essay is one of the most important skills that you can acquire, and also one of the most difficult. If you get your structure right, your essay will almost write itself, whereas if you get it wrong, you are almost certain to struggle. Before you begin to "write" your essay, your Essay Writing Coach can help you create a structure for your essay, which is very much like having a road map before you embark upon a journey. Knowing your destination before you begin is one of the best ways to ensure that you will arrive there.
Many students who don't have trouble expressing themselves aloud, freeze when it comes to writing an essay, and, as a result, their writing appears tentative and unnatural. The ability to write in a natural, confident "voice" is one of the most important skills that you can develop as a student, and one which will pay huge dividends throughout your academic career and beyond. A good Essay Writing Coach can help you develop a comfortable, consistent and natural writing style or "voice", which can be applied to any topic or subject matter. Just as in life, a confident writing style can go a long way towards achieving success.
Having an Essay Writing Coach can help you develop and refine your writing skills, which will be of enormous value, regardless of your chosen career path.
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Sunday, February 17, 2013
IF YOU want to become an essay writing expert, you must learn how to accept rejections.
Who says that seeing your teacher grade your essay with "D" is totally a bad thing? It may sound silly, but if you always get negative comments about the essays you write, you are on your way to becoming an essay writing whiz!
But there are ways to switch this negativity into positive things.
Take a break from your essay writing routines first. If the human body gets exhausted after doing strenuous physical activities, the human mind is not exempted. Writing essays is an arduous task, so it's important to take a break once in a while to "recharge batteries:" Take a walk in the woods, fill your lungs with fresh air, binge with your favorite food, talk to your family or friends, and so on.
Ask yourself some questions. Your teacher is just grading all outputs of the essay writing tasks that he or she assigns to you. So do not blame him or her if your recently-submitted essay didn't pass his or her standards. Ask yourself, "Did I really do my assignment well?," "What went wrong with my work?," etc.
Improve on the worst. If your essays are always getting rejected or your writing style doesn't make the grade, think of the worst thing that would happen: You'll get lower grades in school. Try to improve on the worst by listing possible solutions-such as "I will read a lot," "I will strive harder," "I will seek the help of an essay writing service," etc.-and then pick out the best possible solution.
Try to laugh at your essay writing mistakes. Remember that nobody's perfect, so admit the hurtful truth that you write crap, but that's only for the meantime. Laughing at your mistakes means that you can bravely recognize one of your weaknesses. But you can also be up for the challenge of doing things better. Humor is a wonderful weapon that any writer can use to his or her benefit.
"Next essay please!" The only way to flee from rejection is to do other things which are of value to you. This may have something to do with improving yourself, such as reading more books, picking up on the styles of other great writers or writing about things that you like.
"Trade" your essays. The essay writing preference of your professor is different from the taste of let's say an editor of a daily or glossy. Your essay might be horrible in the eyes of your teacher, but it might be a handsome piece of writing to others. Cliché as it may seem, but there's an opportunity for every difficulty.
Move on! Past is past. If your professor thumped the essays you recently wrote, do not dare to ask him or her why your essay didn't pass his or her standards. "Knowing the truth" behind your recently rejected work will not help.
Above all, believe in the truism that brilliant ideas surface from rejections: Instead of crying over torn-out or thrown-out essay that you previously submitted in school, take rebuffs as a wake-up call, a driving force that will get you going!
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Every writer must write and write daily. To write is the writer's main job. Though this goal can sometimes be a hard to achieve since most writers normally hold a day job unrelated to their creative writing life and aspirations. And the hassle and bustle of the everyday workday can sometime be so overwhelming that being creative at the end of it is just too much to hope for. And this is where creative writing prompts come in. They help stir the creativeness and allow the writer to just concentrate on the writing.
One of the most common forms of prompts for writers is being given a set of random words that should be used in a story from which a story must spring. The second common form of writing prompts is being given a random sentence, which can either become a part of the story somehow or it can be the so-called story starter sentence. In other words, it can either be a first sentence or a sentence that must become a part of a story somehow. And the third most common form of writing prompts are picture prompts, where a story is inspired by a photo or picture of a person, a scene, an object, etc.
Every writer should spend a part of each day writing. Even if just for a little bit. Like writing for 15 minutes or writing something small like 500 words, but it should be done and creative writing prompts are, by far, the best way to achieve this goal. Because the old saying, "Practice makes perfect" holds true for writers as well.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
It's easy for us as writers to get into a rut with our writing. Even if we're still writing fairly prolifically, sometimes it feels like we've become some kind of factory line conveyor belt, churning out near identical copies of the same pieces of writing.
Now because you're a highly creative and imaginative person and not a factory robot, you need more stimulation, more variation. Volume is not enough, it's also important to have the variety.
Also, as someone creative, you're keen to continually evolve and feel you're developing and moving forward. If you think you're destined to be simply rewriting the same poems, stories, songs or novels for the rest of your life, that's hardly an exciting incentive to continue, is it?
Creative writing prompts are a great tool to help you explore your creative writing potential.
In fact more than that, by using writing prompts regularly, you can explode your writing potential in all directions, many of which you never even considered trying before.
A creative writing prompt is simply a short phrase or idea that gives you a starting point for a new adventure in your writing.
Once you're off and running, the rest is up to you. The prompts provides you with that initial direction and little burst of energy to get going. Where you take it after that is completely up to you.
Without the kind of starting point a writing prompt provides, you could be sitting at a blank page for the rest of your life.
And I'm sure you know how painful and unpleasant an experience this kind of writer's block can be.
Some people have avoided using writing prompts because they don't want any help with their writing. They feel they should be creating every single part of the writing, every tiny fragment of idea, every word and syllable. Maybe this is a concern you've had too?
Creative writing prompts aren't the "cheat" that you might think they are. They're not giving you a finished piece of work served up on a platter. The creativity and the imagination comes from you.
For example, say a creative writing prompt says simply: "What passion means to me - ". Everything after those 5 words comes from your own creative mind. You may start writing about your passion for horses and end up with the outline for a new novel about a young girl's journey from riding horses bareback on her parents' farm to winning gold in a showjumping championship.
You might write about the passionate romantic memories you have from your teens, and realise that there are certain things you'd forgotten than you want to rediscover with your current partner.
Or you might write about writing itself, what it gives you that nothing else can, how it makes you feel.
Wherever you take it, it's your ideas, your memories, your creative talent and imagination that's producing the words.
Run with it, have fun and enjoy where it leads.
Start using creative writing prompts today, and you'll see too how a few words or a snatch of an idea can explode YOUR creative writing potential too...
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Friday, February 1, 2013
There are six steps to writing an academic essay. If you follow each of these steps correctly, you will find that you can write university essays that will earn you a distinction (or high distinction) every time. It is simply a matter of understanding what steps to follow, and then completing each of them thoroughly.
This article provides an outline and brief description of each of these steps. It is an introduction to a series of articles that will examine each step in more depth. Reading just this article alone will provide you with assistance in learning how to plan, research and write your essays. However, reading all the articles in the series will allow you to gain a more sophisticated insight into essay writing, and to improve your grades even further.
These are the six steps you need to follow to write high quality university essays:
1. Analyse the Question
There are generally two types of essays: argumentative essays and explanatory essays. In an argumentative essay, you are expected to put forward an academic argument in answer to the essay question and support your argument with academic sources (references). In an explanatory essay, you are expected to explain or describe a process or topic in answer to an essay question and support your argument with academic sources (references). Regardless of the type of essay you are writing, it is very important that you understand what is being asked of you before you begin your research and writing your essay.
You must be sure that you understand all parts of the question and what it is asking you to do. You must be able to recognise the 'task words' in the question, which tell you what you have to do (for example, 'discuss', 'compare', 'analyse' or 'argue') and the 'key words' in the question, which tell you what you are being asked to write about (for example, Critical Thinking, or the roles of registered nurses). (More information on this step will be provided in the article 'How to Write Distinction Essays Every Time: Step 1. Analyse the Question.')
2. Draft the Essay Plan
You must write the first draft of your essay plan before you start your research. This will give your research direction and ultimately make it easier for you to write your essay. Having a plan will let you know what you need to research and how much research you need on each topic or subject that you will be writing about.
You will base this first draft of your essay plan on your essay question, and your current knowledge of your subject. It will not happen very often that you are asked to write an essay on a topic you know nothing about, since you will already be studying the subject and will normally have had one or more lectures or tutorials on the topic.
It is acceptable if your essay plan is rough or vague at this point, or if you do not have a great deal of detail. You will develop your essay plan (expanding it and including more detail) and possibly even change it as you go through the research process.
3. Conduct the Research
Part One: Organising your Research using a Research Document
Your research should be organised so that the transition from doing your research to writing your essay is simple. The best way to do this is to organise your research so that it matches the organisation of the essay. In Step 2 of writing an academic essay, you would have written a rough essay plan before you began your research. This essay plan is the guide you need to use to organise your research.
Copy and paste this essay plan into a Word document. All your research for this essay will be recorded in this one document. Use each of the dot points from your essay plan (topics you are planning to discuss) as a heading in your research document. When you do your research, you will organise it in the order that the information will appear in your essay. Doing this means you will be organising your research by theme or topic, not by source.
Part Two: Research Skills and Academic Sources
Being able to tell the difference between an academic source and a non-academic source, knowing where to find academic sources and deciding what sources are relevant to your research are important skills that you will develop during your tertiary studies.
The first place you should go is the library, even if this means ordering in books from other libraries. For academics to have their books (and journal articles) published, they must go through a process called peer-reviewing. During this process, one or more other academics who are experts in the field will read and assess a book or article to decide if it is of publishable standard. This is why your research will be of the highest quality if you use books, monographs, textbooks and journal articles written by academics for your research, because the work had to meet academic standards. There is no such process for publishing on the internet; anyone can write whatever they like on any subject.
Your second stop after books, monographs and textbooks will be journal articles. Some of these will only be available in hardcopy from the library, but many will be available in their full-text versions through online electronic databases, such as JStore, ProQuest and Ingenta.
4. Finalise the Essay Plan
In Step 2, you would have drafted a rough essay plan before you began your research. During the research process (in Step 3), you would have developed this plan further as you learned more information on your topic. Once you have completed your research, and before you begin writing your first draft, you need to re-think your essay plan and write a final version based on what you discovered during your research. Your final essay plan will contain more detail than your first draft and be a very specific guide to how to write your essay. Once you have completed the final draft of your essay plan, you are ready to begin writing the first draft of your essay.
5. Write the First Draft of the Essay
Now that you have completed your research in an organised way and have written a final draft of your essay plan, writing the first draft of your essay will be easier than it ever has been. All of the following decisions about your essay have already been made:
* What your answer to the essay question is
* What main points you will discuss in order to back up your argument
* The order in which to discuss your main points
* How long to spend discussing each main point
* What information each paragraph will contain (i.e. what information you will use to discuss each of your main points)
* What references you will use to back up your argument
Thus, there is no reason for you to feel lost or stare at your computer screen not knowing what to write. If you do get stuck for any reason, the best thing to do is to just keep writing. You can always improve something once you have written something down. If you have not written anything, not much can be done until you do.
6. Professional Academic Editing
Once you have completed writing your essay, it is vital that you have it professionally edited by an academic editor. You have just spent a significant amount of time doing the best possible job on your essay or assignment, doing your research and writing up your results. After all this effort, it is critical that your work is presented in the best possible way. Using a professional academic editor will ensure that your work is polished, well written, and presented correctly.
If English is your second language, having your essay or assignment professionally edited is even more important. You do not want mistakes in your writing to confuse your markers or distract them from the important arguments you are making. This could lead to you receiving a grade lower than the grade you really deserve.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Custom essay writing services are rampant on the web these days. Every time I turn around, it seems like there is a new website selling essays to unsuspecting college students around the world. These companies are unethical and doing their customers a major disservice.
Keep reading to find out why you should never pay money for an essay online.
Where do essay writing services get their essays? Although many of these companies would like you to believe that they are creating essays with a qualified team of writers, most of these so-called essay writing services actually outsource their writing to India and other countries. Think of it: someone in New Delhi is getting paid a few bucks an hour to write your college paper.
Why is it so bad to buy an essay that was produced in a foreign country? Besides the obvious waste of an opportunity to grow intellectually and the apparent waste of your college tuition, an essay written by a foreigner is simply not going to reflect the expectations of a college writing class in the United States.
Many custom essay writing services will also provide you with a finished document that is recycled from previously composed work for other customers. Some of these essays even get reproduced online and become easy for your instructor to catch and dismiss as simple plagiarism.
As a college writing instructor myself, I have found it very easy to identify essays that students either buy online or pay someone else to write. It is not difficult and often very obvious when it happens. I want to urge you to think twice (even three times) about making this error next time you think about skipping an assignment and finding an essay for sale on the web. Not only will you be throwing away your college education, you're also very likely to get caught!
Monday, January 21, 2013
As a creative writer, no doubt you have the ambition and intention to write all your own work.
You want to be proud of every word you write, and know that it comes from your heart.
You want each piece you write to be as wonderful a creative expression as you know how to produce, and for it to touch, move and inspire people.
This is all fantastic, and can act as great motivation and impetus to write creatively.
But what about those times when you feel the ideas have run a little dry?
So dry in fact that you're thinking of booking a holiday to the Sahara desert for a change of climate?
Those times when you're sat at a blank page or screen wondering where the next WORD is going to come from, let alone the next complete poem, story or novel.
How motivating are these kind of ambitions and intentions in times like these?
Don't you find they can actually increase the pressure?
This expectation you've put upon yourself actually adds to the feelings of being stuck and blocked?
It's during these difficult periods you can benefit most from using creative writing prompts.
Creative writing prompts are simple techniques or sets of words that give you a starting point to write from. They give you that little spark of inspiration, that gentle push forward you need to get your creative writing flowing again.
Where your writing goes after you've set off is entirely up to you. You might use a prompt to start writing, write 1000 words then edit the last 400 or so into a new poem.
Although in this case you didn't use the content of the creative writing prompt, you couldn't have got to your own piece of poetry without having used the prompt to get there.
Having a good stock of prompts available to pull out in those barren times is invaluable.
They can not only get you moving when you've ground nearly to a complete standstill, they can also help you supercharge your creative writing to new levels.
Monday, January 14, 2013
So you want to become a better creative writer? But you feel short of ideas, lacking in inspiration, and just don't know where to start your next piece of writing. You know deep down that you have a lot of potential as a writer, you enjoy writing and have written pieces in the past that you've been proud of.
But lately, the words are just not coming. What can you do?
Creative writing prompts are one of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing and unlock all that untapped potential.
A writing prompt is simply a word, phrase, picture or idea to stimulate your creativity and start you writing. Where you go with your writing after that is entirely up to you, the prompt just gives you that little push, that glimmer of inspiration you've had difficulty finding lately.
Many writers feel that using a writing prompt might be cheating or taking a short cut, and means you're not producing work that's all yours. Remember, the prompt is just a starting point. YOUR unique creativity does the rest.
Think of using writing prompts like this:
Imagine there's a huge wonderful garden, every last square inch heaving with the most gorgeous and bountiful blooms. There are many different areas within that garden, each with their own theme and design.
For example, there's the Victorian English garden, the dense tropical Amazonian rainforests, the Dutch tulip fields of every colour imaginable, and the sweeping majesty of the undiscovered Alaska. If you looked hard enough, you'd probably even find the hanging gardens of Babylon!
It's a big garden! Infinitely big in fact.
All around this glorious garden is a 20 foot high brick wall, with a gate every few metres or so. You can just about see enough through the gates to know there's plenty to be explored inside, but they're all locked and there seems no way of opening them.
Then, you realise, just beside each gate is a little red box. You open the box and inside is a key. The key for the gate, the key to entering this incredible garden. You take the key, open the gate, and you're in, off on your adventure...
So, how does this relate to writing prompts and being afraid to use them because they're not all your own, or because you feel you're cheating?
A creative writing prompt is the key to the garden. It's not the actual garden.
The garden is already within you. It's all the amazing, rich and emotive stories, poems, songs and novels you haven't yet written but are perfectly capable of writing. Use a creative writing prompt, take the key that's been offered, and start to explore that wonderful creative garden within you... You, and your future audience, deserve to experience that garden in its fullest bloom...
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Feeling stuck with your creative writing? Struggling to come up with exciting and stimulating new ideas? Are you looking for an easy and effective way to unlock your creative writing potential? Something you can use right away without having to learn sophisticated new techniques?
Creative writing prompts could be just what you're looking for.
With creative writing prompts, your natural imagination and writing potential is encouraged to come out and play. There's a wealth of potential and talent right there waiting already, but it just doesn't get invited out very often.
Have you known people in the past that in a work or everyday situation seem very reserved and quiet?
People you assume would probably not find it very comfortable being in larger group or a more lively or challenging social situation?
Then, one day - maybe it's at a mutual friend's birthday party, maybe at charity event, maybe at a local class you attend for dancing or acting - you see this former wallflower having the time of their lives! They're dancing, singing, chatting, laughing, and generally having more fun than you thought they knew was possible!
All they needed was that invitation to come out and play...
It's exactly like that with your creative writing too. If you don't ever expect anything from it, if you never invite it to let its hair down and show you its moves, you'll never see what it's truly capable of.
This is where creative writing prompts come in, and are so valuable. They're the party invitation, the special offer membership to the local dance club.
Some fear that when they use creative writing prompts it's somehow cheating or taking a shortcut to writing better, because it's someone else's words they're using as a starting point.
While this perception is understandable, it simply isn't true. Yes you need the party invitation to go to the party, but once you're there, how much do you use it? You don't! You just get down to having a great time!
With writing prompts, once you've started writing you're imagination is away and free. Whatever comes out after that initial invitation - that first line or phrase - is all your own work.
Start experimenting with creative writing prompts today, and invite your creative writing potential to the party it's been dying to be asked to for years...
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Creative Writing Prompts are a fantastic way to give new life to your writing when you're feeling stuck, blocked, or just tired of how you seem to be writing the same old words, sentences and paragraphs.
We all go through lulls in our writing. The danger is when we let this minor and entirely natural little dip in our creativity turn into a black hole where we're completely in the grip of writer's block and can barely put a handful of words together.
One of the major reasons why we don't use writing prompts is the fear that we're cheating somehow or taking a creative short cut.
Rather than relying on our own creativity, we feel we're using the creative talent of the person who came up with the prompt.
Here's why this fear is unfounded:
Imagine you lived in a town just outside a vast and mighty kingdom. All around that kingdom is a 10 metre high wall to stop people seeing in. You hear rumours and whispers about how wonderful life is for those inside the kingdom, but you can't find a way in. You see there are huge gates at different points around the perimeter wall but they're locked and bolted, there's no way through.
This kingdom is like the creative writing talent within you.
It's already there, waiting to be explored and discovered, but you can't find a way in. You can't work out how to unlock that writing talent.
Now imagine one day you're stood at one of these awesome gates to the kingdom, desperate to find a way in, and a woman comes over to you and presents you with a key, before vanishing again as quickly as she appeared. You put the key in the lock of the gate, turn it, and you're in. Welcome to the kingdom! And yes it's every bit as glorious as you hoped it would be.
Creative writing prompts themselves are NOT the kingdom of wonderful creative writing within you. Creative writing prompts are the KEYS to the kingdom.
Using a simple writing prompt can provide you with the first step you need to set off on incredible writing adventures. It doesn't matter who the woman with the key was, it only matters that you took the key and entered the kingdom.
It doesn't matter who created the writing prompt you decide to use. It only matters that you chose to you use it, and that it helped you start writing in a direction or a style or using a technique you wouldn't have found on your own.
Accept the keys to the wonderful creative writing kingdom within you today by using creative writing prompts.