jsphfrtz’s Guide to Writing Gooder

I think when people are forced to write, they often don’t do it well. I believe people can write in a very “tunnel-vision” manner when they are very focused on their writing, and quality suffers for the sake of content. I hate writing poorly, but sometimes, I can’t avoid but to appear to write badly. I hope we all try to make our writing better. I can’t deny that I wish more people cared more about good writing. I know many feel writing is unimportant or too difficult to do well, so I hope this can help you. I give advice here that is applicable to any writing.

The key to writing better is simple: “sentence openers” and “word usage.” Thinking about each sentence that you write before you write it – beyond facts – thinking about the way the facts are presented – this method can change everything. Most important of all are your “sentence openers:” the first word(s) of a sentence. From now on, when you write, keep this one rule at the top of your list:
Never use the same sentence openers twice in the same paragraph [see previous paragraph].

Do your best not to use the same words over and over, as well. If someone sees a word nine times in a paragraph, it sticks out and (usually) draws attention away from the point, even if that word is what it’s all about. You don’t require an extensive vocabulary to give a scholarly dissertation with lots of flowery million-dollar language – use the words you know to describe what you understand in a way where you don’t use the same words again and again. You can save yourself by remembering these simple rules.

1. Never use the same sentence openers twice in the same paragraph (or even less if you can avoid it!)
2. Use the words you know to write what you know: filler won’t help – neither will repetition/redundancy
3. If you can, double-space when you write, so you can go back and edit later.
4. Writing is rarely as clever as the author thinks it is.

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