Ten Quick Tips for Inexperienced Writers

One of the biggest problems that inexperienced writers have is simply knowing how to get started. If you've unsure of your writing skills, then here are some quick tips to help you get started.

1. Get yourself a thesaurus-or better yet, two of them. These can be tremendously helpful tools when you're struggling to find the right word. A thesaurus is no substitute for a solid vocabulary, but it is still helpful in a pinch.

2. Avoid using the same word too frequently. This can make one's work sound repetitive. Again, a good thesaurus can be helpful in this regard.

3. Keep your sentences fairly short, since longer sentences can sound unwieldy. I've found that 17 words or fewer is a good guideline. Do remember that this is just a guideline, though.

4. Even as you keep the sentences short, make sure that they flow together well. Sometimes, unskilled writers will simply chop longer sentences up into shorter segments that don't blend together smoothly. If in doubt, try rephrasing the sentences or adding the proper connective phrases (e.g. "then," "so," "as a result").

5. Get a copy of "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White. It's a short book, but incredibly helpful. There is no better reference for aspiring writers.

6. Don't rely too much on your word processor's grammar checking features. They can be quite impressive, but their capabilities are still quite limited. Spelling checkers are also limited in their capabilities, since they cannot recognize a lot of proper names and technical terms. In addition, spell checkers cannot detect situations wherein the user has entered the wrong word in place of the proper one.

7. Proofread, proofread and proofread? over and over. When you're done, have a friend proofread your work as well.

8. Remember your target audience. Ask yourself, "What information will my audience require in order to understand what I'm saying?"

9. Avoid clever wordplay unless you're sure that it will work. In most cases, it is best to gain more writing experience before trying something witty.

10. Remember the artists adage, "Practice, practice, practice"? If you want to become good at writing, then write, write and write!

About the Author:

V. Berba Velasco Jr., Ph.D. is a senior electrical and software engineer at Cellular Technology Ltd (http://www.immunospot.com, http://www.elispot-analyzers.de, http://www.elispot.cn) where he also has various technical writing duties.

Journaling

How many of you take the time to really write down your thoughts?Do you know... Read More

Pairs/Groups Of Words Often Confused - Part 1 of 6

ACCEPT, EXCEPT Not commonly seen even from unpublished writers, who are probably familiar with the... Read More

The Writing Life

In the 7th grade I wanted to be an architect but it turns out math... Read More

Common Writing Mistakes - Are These Holding You Back From Writing Success?

During the years that I've been teaching writing and participating in writers' critique sessions, I've... Read More

Open a Vein

If you want to be a writer, you must write and that requires sitting at... Read More

Writers: Dr. Phil Goes Fishing with Oprah in His Tackle Box, Shouldn?t You?

Dr. Phil's Life Strategies, #1 New York Times Bestseller catches us on page one. His... Read More

Write Your Story, Put It On A Website, Sell Millions of Copies

Although he has his own website, John Grisham probably does very little self-promotion. When you... Read More

Writing for the Internet -- How To Give the Readers What They Want

In this article you will find tips on: How to intrigue your readers from the... Read More

Write Possibilities

We writers are a powerful lot. We control time. We dictate actions. We control destinies.We... Read More

How To Stay Fit While Writing

Day after day, writers tend to sit for hours writing that novel or story, and... Read More

Prolific Writers

Prolific authors write; they don't just dream about it. A good example is Georges Simenon... Read More

Why I Write

I started writing as a way of keeping safe memories of a particularly adventurous 3... Read More

Novel to Screenplay: The Challenges of Adaptation

ADAPTATION 101Brimming with confidence, you've just signed the check purchasing the rights to adapt John... Read More

Screenwriting ? The Value of Structure

Structure in the form of frameworks, work processes and goals enhances creative output:a) Short term... Read More

How To Write More Powerful Reports

There is one key difference between reports and most other forms of business writing, and... Read More

Writing the PDA Way

When we think of writing it triggers many thoughts and visions depending on our framing.... Read More

Freelance or Staff

There is no doubt that a staff writer enjoys advantages not availed by the freelancer.... Read More

Get Published: The Nuts and Bolts of Good English, and How to Impress a Publisher (1)

Not all writers write good grammar. That's a fact. It's no big deal. Well, mostly... Read More

What Nationally Published Columnist, Cindy Laferle Has To Say About Writing & Journalism

Today Norm Goldman, Editor of sketchandtravel and bookpleasures is honored to have as a guest,... Read More

Top 7 Writers Sites for 2005

If you dream of turning your book into a best seller, or you're looking to... Read More

Should You Do a Writing Course?

First, let's tackle the question that is uppermost in many aspiring writers' minds: "Do I... Read More

Is The Theme Running Throughout The Story?

Creative Writing Tips ?It's no use coming up with a theme and not using it.... Read More

7 Journaling Tips

Set your journal or diary where you will see it everyday, i.e., on your nightstand,... Read More

Getting To Know Your Characters

Interesting characters that readers care about are the most important 'ingredients' in your novel.That might... Read More

The Run-on Sentence: From Here To Eternity

If you find your sentences filled with commas, and they wend from one topic to... Read More

Editing Secrets

Once you've plotted out your book, developed the characters and written the last word of... Read More

Conflict - How To Keep Your Readers Turning Pages

Some writers are just too kind.They hate to put their characters under any kind of... Read More

Writing Made Them Rich #1: JK Rowling

Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born in Chipping Sodbury,England in 1965. She began writing at the... Read More

Ten Quick Tips for Inexperienced Writers

One of the biggest problems that inexperienced writers have is simply knowing how to get... Read More

How To Identify Your Own Style Of Writing

This article is to help identify which style, technique or strategy of writing that one... Read More

I Am Biodegradable - My Writing Is Not

My dad was wrong. I just discovered that I am good for nuthin' after all.... Read More

Where to Look for Your Next Project when You?re Writing for Profit

When my first book "Starting Your Own Business" was published way back in 1995, I... Read More

Four Easy Ways to Get a Book Written (Especially If You Dont Like to Write)

Becoming an author is probably a lot easier than you think. It's time to get... Read More

What You May Not Learn In College... (Part Two)

If you become a writer for any publication, private business, public entity, non-profit organization and/or... Read More

An Introduction to Self Publishing Material

Any article, report or book which is bought or sold with reproduction rights is generally... Read More

Proofreading for Profits

How to avoid mistakes that undermine your credibilityYou're probably already familiar with the spell checker... Read More

Are Writing Exercises Effective?

It was reported that the great American author Sinclair Lewis was once asked to give... Read More

Knock-Out Writers Block: Listening To Your Inner Voice

When I was young, I used to talk to myself. Long, drawn out, one-sided conversations.... Read More

Writing Made Them Rich #4: Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho was born on August 24th 1947 in Rio deJaneiro, Brazil.At age 17 he... Read More

Good Writing

Good writing is like sex. Two people are involved ? the writer and the reader.... Read More

Technical Writing for the Terrified

IntroductionSometimes it may be beyond a companies or individuals budget to hire a professional writer... Read More

Top Seven Ways to Select a Book Topic That Sells

Authors need to write their book according to their target audiences' needs and wants. You... Read More

Writers Turn to the Internet for Support, Friendship and Advice

Riding on the fumes of potential, you take pen to paper or keyboard to monitor.... Read More

Ghostwriting - Making Money by Being Invisible

My bookcase take up one whole wall in the family room, from floor to ceiling.... Read More

Ten Ways to Get Cheap (and Free) Magazine Samples

1 - Join a reading or writing group. Ask members to bring in their already-read... Read More

Home Business Writing Made Simple

Have you ever written a letter to a friend? Ever written an outline for any... Read More

The Writer and the Web

If your dream is to get published, the chance is before you. The web has... Read More

Fight The Fluff!

The first and final rule of quality writing is this: what doesn't strengthen your writing,... Read More

Writing Query Letters that Count -- Close the Deal with Your First Letter!

Your query letter can be a deal maker or a deal breaker. So, if your... Read More

Five Tips to Find More Time for Your Writing Life

When I asked new ezine subscribers, "What is your Number One writing question?" the answer... Read More