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Tip 1:  If  You Can Speak, You Can Write

*If you can think a few thoughts or carry on a conversation than you can write. The great myth is believing you were just born a poor writer.  Any discipline applies.  Math doesn't come easy for Dave, the instructor in the videos, but he uses math all the time, to calculate budgets, to plan payroll costs and even to edit videos.   Any skill can be acquired.

*You obviously need to write, or you wouldn't be visiting this site. Writing is just communicating what's in your mind onto a computer, smart device or piece of paper. Good writers are just better at communicating from head to the finger.  You can, too.  

Tip 2:   Your Thinking Dictates Your Writing

Spend a few minutes and reflect on how you think. Do you dwell on one topic or jump around?

If you are known to be very focused and organized then read the passage below.

If you have a singular focus, your writing will probably reflect that, being very controlled.  I would venture to guess you also worry about being grammatically perfect, and this may limit your ability to express yourself. Here's a suggestion.  Put a picture of your best friend next to your paper, and write on your topic, always believing that you're talking to your best friend.

If your thoughts jump around to many topics, then look here:

*you probably have some control issues
*your writing may be more creative
*two or three thoughts may form a fascinating creative cohesive piece.   
* You're wild.   You're like running bulls.  You need to be brought in.  It's an easy solution.  *Write your passion in the first draft, but you're going to need to work harder during the revision and editing phase
* Make sure you're writing about the stated topic.  If it's your own "important" topic, such as writing a letter to an editor, conceptualize that the rest of us will never get it, so be as specific with every minute detail that you can. We still may not get it, but it won't be on account of you.  (Graduate students, this may apply to you).    Always remember, what you write must make sense.  It must stand alone without your representation since more likely than not, you won't be next to the reader to explain unclear concepts.

Tip 3:  Writing as Exercise

*Keep a journal.
*Write 15 minutes in it about anything you like three times a week, more if possible.  People spend an hour and a half a day in the gym doing pilates and clutching iron. You can devote an hour a week to writing improvement.
* Journal writing allows you to get comfortable with that mind-hand interaction, so when you need to write an important project, the interaction won't fail you since it's familiar. 
* The online videos give fantastic ideas for getting started.

Tip 4:  Failure to Plan is Preparation for Failure

*Plan ahead for a writing project.
* Forget the myth. Great writing doesn't just happen.
*Great muses don't suddenly possess you, pop into your room, and voila, a few hours later a masterpiece of writing appears. (In honesty, that can happen, but it's a rarity and unreliable, and usually after hard work).
* So back to business.  You wouldn't expect the person refurbishing your kitchen to have no plan, no materials, and just bumble along to completion-- writing is no different.  It takes a plan to achieve great results.  
* If you struggle with writing than extensive planning is in order.  As you grow comfortable, less planning is necessary.  
* For a project like these writing tips, I thought of many tips before sitting down to write. 
*  For a composition I wrote about the tsunami in Japan, I just had a theme idea and ran with it.  There was still a plan, but just scribbled on a piece of paper saying this is the result I wanted.  Sometimes, that's enough especially with more creative writing.
*All good writers have a plan, whether it's in the head as they write (the lucky ones) or the rest of us, who must follow a script.

Tip 5:  Share What You Have

*Share your writing with others.  
*Writing workshops make writers better because they have to write extensively (they can't just come to the session empty-handed, so they need to write), and others look over their writing.  That's it.  I judge, you judge, we all judge together.  Mainly, is your writing clear.  If so, no one will have an issue with it, if not, you'll know soon enough.

What's good writing:
*It's understandable, direct, and descriptive without being wordy.
*It creates an emotional connection and makes us think or act.  For academic or business readers, don't mistake emotional writing with making an emotional connection.  Of course, you know your writing has to have a scholarly or corporate appeal, and there are certain constraints, but always keep in mind, your reader is reviewing your piece to think or to act.  Have you done everything in the piece to enhance those behaviors either with idea sequencing or clarifying statistics?

*Our writing course allows you to share your work with other writers online through collaborative tools that are almost equal to being side by side in an on site classroom.

Tip 6:  Edit at the End

*Write your ideas down first, then edit.   
*Shhhhhhh. I buried this here for those who care about looking around. If you take one tip away from this website, the one above is the best writing tip you will ever get.
* You have to turn off that little editor in your head when you are engaged in the writing process.  
* He or she or it is the enemy to completing your project, to being creative, to providing strong in-depth writing.  You can always edit your piece of writing after you have developed all your ideas. We'll show you how.

Tip 7:  Verbs are the Vitamins of Writing

*Spend time incorporating strong action verbs in your sentences.
* Over 20 years of teaching, I have noticed the students who have an array of verbs seem to have fewer clarity issues, and their writing really pops off the page.
* I would make a list of every verb you know and keep adding to the list.
* When reading passages, record verbs that you don't know or that seem to enhance what you are reading.
Tip 8:   There is a Time for Every Purpose

*  Find your ideal writing time.
*  Most professional writers have a specific time when they write. Some are best in the late mornings, some right after midnight.  
* Experiment with writing at different times.  I'm a good writer in the morning, merging on poor in the late afternoon, decent at night, and creative (after a couple glasses of chardonnay or whiskey) when I do late night/early morning creative writing. 
*  Some of you day workers may be far stronger writers at night (happy hour gold medalist need not apply here), so you might ask your boss to let you do your report writing at night and let you come in later in the morning on such days.  Of course, your product better show some improvement with the schedule switch or you'll be writing cover letters and resumes with your new found time.

Tip 9:  I Know a Great Place

*Find a writing place where you won't be interrupted.  
* Most people need a quiet writing environment.  
* More important is a non-distracting environment.  You can actually shut the screaming kids out once you are in a writing rhythm.  You cannot write well if those same screaming kids are hopping up and down on your desk demanding you get them their Snoogy Pops. The same goes at work or school.  
* Turn off all cell phones, Facebook and Twitter update alerts.
* Tell the secretary to hold all your calls.  If it's important, have him or her lightly tap on your door, finish your writing thought, write a note on your document of where you would like to continue, then address the urgency.  
* Experiment with different locations.  I always disliked writing in a classroom-- maybe there were too many negative aspects of the writing process represented there, spelling charts and chair/desk column rigidity, maybe it was the fluorescent lights. Nevertheless, I knew it wasn't my ideal environment, so I did all I could to create my own writing sanctuary when I had to write there. I would sit close to the window to look outside occasionally, or I would slightly turn my chair, so as not to see the instructor or other students.  
* If for some reason, you need to write away from your ideal environment, bring something from the preferred writing location to help you gain focus, maybe a favorite pen, a picture of your family or favorite writing cup.  
* When you find your favorite writing place, spend as much writing time there as possible.

Tip 10:  Look Back to Know Where You've Been and Where You're Going

*  Always go back to your writing assignment topic. 
*  Reread it to make sure you are focusing on the proper aspects. 
*  This advice pertains mostly to academic writing, but even a corporate report, ad copy or a long business letter should address the specific points requested by a supervisor or in an e-mail.  All you have to do is go to Yahoo Answers or any number of forums to see how quickly people stray from the questions asked.  Periodically review the questions, and your writing won't stray.