January 3 2010

A New Decade of Writing

by Barbie in Writing

With another year—and decade—upon us, many people are focusing on sticking to those New Year’s resolutions. Here at Carpenter Doc, we resolve to improve our writing and editing skills this year, and we challenge our clients to do the same. Whether you’re a student, professor, or business professional, strong writing is essential to your success. Students are graded on their writing; professors further their research by publishing in scholarly journals; business professionals write e-mails, memos, and other documents on a daily basis.

Here are some strategies you can use to boost your writing this year:

Know your audience.

Your audience’s knowledge level of your subject has a direct impact on what you write. With a clear understanding of your audience’s needs and knowledge level, you can focus your paper and guide your research.

Research first.

Make sure you have a strong knowledge of your subject before you start writing. If you write before you really know what you want to say, you will spend far too much time revising draft after draft. Brainstorm, outline, and research first.

Avoid common mistakes.

Overuse of passive voice, confusion between “that” and “which,” and misplaced modifiers can confuse readers and muddle your writing.

Learn from your mistakes.

Writers often commit the same mistakes repeatedly (myself included). Take time to understand your editor’s, proofreader’s, or professor’s changes or comments. Have a coworker read over an important memo before you send it out, and embrace her comments. Having another set of eyes look over your document is an invaluable way to improve both the document and your writing.