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'How often should you write?'

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One often wonders as to how to go about in the business of writing. It is certainly more than a matter of writing poetry or fiction. We need to do our ...

dr sachidhnnda mohnthyOne often wonders as to how to go about in the business of writing. It is certainly more than a matter of writing poetry or fiction. We need to do our fair share of writing on a day to day basis for practical purposes as well, such as a letter to the Head of your organisation, to the local ward member, to your college authorities for getting the certificates, or to the visa officer of the Consulate

Here are some tips and guidelines that will help you get going:

  • Writing skill is consciously learnt or developed. There are many commonly accepted or acceptable features of good writing. All writers, including the award winning ones, know this and practise writing rigorously: every day, 30 days a week, and 365 days a year! Earnest Hemingway, the eminent American author, known for his novel, The Old Man and the Sea and recognized for having altered the style of American Literature, is reputed to have written every morning for six hours in a standing position. The same thing can be said of many other writers including Nobel laureates who edited their work again and again. And so, do not lose heart! You are in great company!
  • Style or the manner of writing varies from individual to individual. No single style can be prescribed for all. However, acceptable piece of writing conforms to established practice in different disciplines or fields of enquiry. Wide departure or eccentricity goes ill with public discourse. In all writings, a certain degree of conventionality is a premium.
  • All good writing stems from a good mind. Clarity of expression follows from clarity of thought. Consequently, all actual acts of writing should be preceded by a considerably longer period of background spadework. Prepare an outline of what you wish to say if you do not wish to make paper balls and throw them into the waste paper basket.

General Tips

  • Always use short and simple sentences.
  • Do not assume anything. Always explain as you go along.
  • Every piece of writing has a common underlying argument. Identify your argument, your thesis.
  • All paragraphs should b logically linked.
  • Every paragraph ought to have a topic sentence.
  • Examples should not eclipse the arguments.
  • Always avoid over used phrases and expressions. Novelty for the sake of novelty should be avoided. Always use acceptable language in all professional correspondence.
  • Check idioms, phrases and spellings for accuracy. Do not repeat words and expressions. Do not add words for the sake of sounding impressive. This leads to verbosity.
  • Remember a lively style reveals a lively mind!

Avoid Common Errors

  • Keep the tense throughout, whether past, present or the future.
  • Without justification, do not change the tense between paragraphs; never change the tense between sentences.
  • Prepositions are very tricky. Make sure you use the right preposition in a sentence.e.g. Do not say 'He was angry on me', say, 'He was angry with me'.
  • Idioms are expressions peculiar to a language. Make sure that you use the right idiom. Check, if necessary, a grammar book.
  • Do not mix tone; say, the formal and the informal. Do not say: 'The hand that rocked the cradle has kicked the bucket' when what you wish to say is that 'My mother is dead'.
  • Go over these tips again and again. Practice writing regularly keeping the suggestions and guidelines in mind and you will see the result soon.
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