Wednesday, December 31, 2008

4 Things to Remember when Writing

Ok, so perhaps you have a big writing project coming up. Maybe you're publishing in a journal for the first time. Or, maybe you're beefing up your Web page or online portfolio. When staring a new project, here are some key tips to remember:

1. Remember your purpose

Above all, you are writing for your readers. What do you want them to learn or gain after they've read your written work? Write down the answer to this question, and put it in a place you can easily refer back to while completing the project.

2. Know your stuff

It is easier to write about a topic when you've done your homework. Conduct thorough research through a wide variety different formats (authoritative websites, scholarly online journals, books, encylopedias, etc), and then be sure to organize your data in a way that is efficient for your writing.

3. Did I say organize?

You should not only organize your research, but also develop an outline to help keep you focused. Consider what you what you want to cover. Again, what is the main point that you want to convey to your readers? What do you want to say first? Last? Keep referring back to your outline as a map to guide you toward a cohesive sequence. Also, remember to break down your work into manageable chunks. Write two pages a day instead of trying to fit 14 pages in one sitting.

4. Don't micromanage your writing

When developing a first draft, focus on your main points and overall organization instead of harping on sentence and word details. Correcting spelling, grammar, and syntax should should be put off until after you've finished your first draft. Once you are ready to revise, reading the work aloud helps determine its readability, clarity, and unity. So, relax.

-The Writer Librarian

2 comments:

Nancy said...

Was giving us 4 things when the title said 5 an attempt to illustrate the 4th point, or do you have more to share?

WL said...

Originally intended 5, but found that I could combine them, and ended up with 4 (and forgot to change the blog title). I'll chalk this up to a typo snafoo, and will be careful of these in the future. In the meantime, some really good tips on publishing for the profession can be found in The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication, by Rachel Singer Gordon.