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Advice about writing
Are you currently in the process of writing something, and need some advice or inspiration? Here are 10 useful pieces of advice if you are just getting started, if you have already started, and if you are close to the finish line:
When you are getting started
- Don't put off writing; get an early start.
- Analyse the assignment and find out exactly what you are being asked to do.
- A mind map can help you structure your ideas.
- You generate new ideas by writing.
- Try not to worry about spelling and grammar. Focus on what you want to say.
- Write in the order that makes sense to you. You don't have to start with the introduction.
- Don't get hung up on details. It's more important to get your thoughts down on paper.
- Try to structure or outline your paper. Use this outline when you start writing.
- Write a little bit every day. That way you avoid writing becoming something stressful.
- While you read and take notes, write down which page you found the information on. That way you don't have to go back and look it up later.
When you are in the process of writing
- Set aside time for writing when you know you will feel most fit to do it. Some prefer an early start, while others do their best work at night.
- Keep your problem statement in mind while writing.
- Stick to making one point at a time.
- Got a good idea? Write it down right away, or it might slip your mind.
- Avoid complicated synonyms, trend words or fillers without meaning.
- Always keep your writing equipment nearby.
- Take breaks.
- Explain complicated terms.
- Set deadlines and milestones for yourself throughout the writing process.
- Back up everything you write.
When you are almost done
- Are you removing something? Paste it into a separate document. You might need it later.
- Use a thesaurus and a dictionary.
- Write short sentences. A period can often replace a comma.
- Use subheadings. They make your text easier to navigate.
- Use transition words. They give sentences and paragraphs a more logical flow.
- Be consistent when it comes to formatting and referencing.
- Share your text with someone. Find someone who will give you honest feedback.
- Print your text before you revise it. Sometimes it can help you see details you would not have seen otherwise.
- Read your text out loud to yourself. This helps you hear if the text flows well.
- Do a final revision, focusing on spelling and grammar.
Checklist before handing in
Before handing in your assignment, there are some things you should double-check.
- answered your research question?
- completed all your arguments and thoughts?
- defined and explained important terms?
- used terms consistently?
- included all your sources?
- written a correct and complete reference list?
- read through your text and corrected grammar and spelling?
It is also important to make sure you have formatted your text correctly, before handing it in.
Make sure you have
- page numbers
- the subject code
- your name or candidate number (for exams)
- a table of contents
- subheadings (and, if you use numbering, that the numbering is correct)