writing advice

In the comments section below, share with us one helpful piece of writing advice or instruction that you’ve received. Just one! And please explain why you’ve found this advice or instruction helpful.

17 Replies to “writing advice”

  1. One helpful piece of creative writing advice I have received is creating your own tone and voice. I found this also highly applicable to the work we’re working on for the brand style guide. Consider the personality of your brand and how you want to come across to your audience. Is your brand playful, serious, professional, or casual? This will influence the language and tone you use in your style guide. For instance, Taco Bell’s brand voice is playful and irreverent. They often use puns and jokes in their advertising, like their recent “Nacho Fries” campaign, which features a group of friends who use the fries to solve a mystery.

  2. Writing is a skill, not a gift. I used to think I sucked at writing because I wasn’t very good at translating my thoughts onto paper. I still struggle with it, but it is not as bad as before. Not sure if it was the lack of vocabulary or the confidence (maybe both), but this advice helped me a lot. It allowed me to reframe the way I approached writing. I took my first draft less seriously and simply wrote for fun. I care less about the little grammatical errors that pop up because it is only the first of many drafts. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around and that mentality took a lot of pressure off of me.

  3. One helpful piece of writing advice I’ve received is to love your sh*tty first drafts. If you focus too much on getting your words perfect on your very first draft, it can make it unnecessarily difficult to get that first draft written. Moreover, trying too hard to write a “good” first draft can keep you from playing around with your writing, experimenting, and failing—all things that often lead to much more engaging and dynamic second drafts when they’re welcomed into your writing practice.

    I found this tip helpful because I sometimes struggle with wanting to just write something like an introduction or feature article or story only once. The issue with this mentality, however, is that it creates a lot of pressure for that one attempt at writing to be stellar. By beginning to write with the understanding that I might revise what I write once or several times, I’ve had much greater success with completing writing assignments and producing stronger writing.

  4. One helpful piece of writing advice I’ve received is consistency in your writing style. Whatever writing style or tone you choose to have, you should remain relatively consistent with it throughout your style guide. I think the only time you can consider changes to your writing style is if it helps you achieve your message or brand identity better.

  5. One piece of writing advice that I have found especially helpful is from my Writing 105C class that I took with Alison Williams. She advised that if we were struggling with where to start, then just write down something, anything. Throughout the class she instructed us to do this for all of our assignments and turn in a very rough initial draft, which she referred to as the “crappy draft”. This advice helped me so much with my writing process, as I was always someone who took hours to start a writing assignment because I was afraid of missing something important or writing something bad. If you have the opportunity to make a “crappy draft”, then do it. No one is going to see it, and it helps you see some of your thoughts right in front of you. This helped me a lot because it took the pressure off of starting a project and allowed me to experiment more during my writing process.

  6. I often get writers block, so to counter that my mom recommended that I just start writing whatever I want to. It’s a little unconventional, but I found that once I had started writing, it was much easier to continue. I would write a short story or random poem, anything that I found interesting, and then could use that momentum to carry me through the rest of my required school work. I’m not sure how applicable this piece of advice would be to most, but this especially helped while growing up with ADHD and continues to help to this day.

  7. One piece of advice that has helped me in all forms of writing involves setting goals and purposes for each section or the overall piece. It has always helped me take a moment and think about the point I want my writing to get across, how I want it to sound to any audience, and, most importantly, note keywords that inspire the written topic. I believe continuing this strategy would help when drafting our intro/welcome and mission/style sections because having descriptive words to visually see in the early stages of writing will inspire the content by triggering memories or creative ways to communicate a story or message, keep the writing on track towards expressing a specific goal, and encourage a flow to get initial thoughts down and ready for editing.

  8. A helpful piece of writing advice I’ve received is to first create a solid outline before I fully write out any of my ideas. I find it can be overwhelming to get right into writing a huge chunk, so before getting started, I ask myself, what is the main message I want to convey? What is necessary to include to get that point across? What details help support my idea while also staying consistent with my thesis. When I split up all of my points into smaller bullet points, writing isn’t too intimidating and I can focus on one thing at a time, instead of everything at once. In the case of the BSG, I think this strategy is still beneficial, and one thing I would add in this context is that an outline should also still reflect your voice, and in the process of tweaking the outline and forming a bigger body of writing, you can begin sprinkling pieces of your personal voice into your main ideas.

  9. One piece of writing advice I have found to be very helpful is to not spend too much time on a rough draft. I think really letting your creative ideas flow and just getting them on paper is super helpful. You feel like you’ve accomplished something and also the next step is to just format them into a properly written piece!

  10. I agree with Vivian’s piece of advice! Identifying your voice as a writer and how you want to convey yourself through your tone is incredibly important. Personally, I used to care a lot about sounding really “intelligent” through my choice of language and found it difficult to write unless I was content with my diction. Not only did that commitment to perfectionism affect how productive I was with my writing — I also never really felt like I established my own tone/voice as a writer. Trying to establish your own tone/voice as a writer is incredibly valuable in two ways: it allows you be more playful/personal/dynamic with your writing and it also forces you to reevaluate the writing conventions that we’ve been forced to adhere to our whole lives!

  11. With writing, I’ve always struggled with confidence and being sure of what I write — which has always resulted in 10+ drafts and rewordings of the same thing. The anxiety of finally deciding on the final version and picking a direction for my writing has definitely been the biggest obstacle. However, a piece of writing advice that I still use to this day is: only write impactful drafts. Because writing too many drafts is overwhelming me, I should avoid writing drafts to just have options but, instead, write things that I would actually consider using. Writing with intentionality has helped me with making sure that I’m providing myself valuable options.

  12. One helpful piece of advice I have received for writing is to “connect to your audience”. While there are many ways to do this, the general idea I took from it was that most of the time I am writing with the purpose of wanting my audience to understand something or share an experience. If I can make my audience feel something, provoke some thought about the topic, or teach them, I will feel successful. In the case of our BSGs there is more freedom and opportunity. We have to make our audience understand who we are but we get to use color, images, fonts, and writing.

  13. One piece of writing advice I have been told is to be concise in my words. I tend to repeat the same cont over and over with different sentence structures, but I want to try and cut my word volume down and say what I want to say with minimal words. This is helpful in not only essays, but short pieces because they are less wordy. This will be especially helpful when I write sections for my BSG because since it is visually engaging, I want to be able to write what I want with not an excessive amount of words so I can tell my story visually as well as through written word. I am glad to have written this discussion post because I will remember to make my thoughts more concise with each word having importance.

  14. Among the various types of writing advice I’ve received, I think one that I have found to be the most helpful is creating an outline or rough draft of what I want to write about. This technique is something I most likely learned in elementary school, and I still use it to this day. For a typical essay, I usually write a sentence or two about what each paragraph will be centered around, and then add bullet points of the extra details that I want to include in that particular paragraph. In the end, I use this outline as a foundation to expand upon while also helping me organize and have structure.

  15. As someone with a learning disability, it can be challenging to collect my thought and stay on topic while writing. Achieving my main points is sometimes really hard to grasp. I was told once to just start typing, that’s all. Be unorganized, type every possible thought, idea, and sentence variation that comes to mind. Once you’ve done that, read everything and condense it!

  16. One piece of writing advice that has been very helpful is to always prepare beforehand! Some people are great at writing on the spot, but others not so much. I fall into that ‘others’ category. I like to prepare what I write beforehand by drafting a brief outline; it’s something to fall back on, so I don’t stray off-topic. It also gives me a chance to play around with certain ideas or structures before pinpointing the one I’d like to use. I find myself following this advice when designing as well. It can be difficult to ‘just design’ when there are so many tools, colors, and options on applications like InDesign. I like to create really rough sketches as to what my designs could potentially look like before creating them.

  17. One piece of advice that I have stuck by since high school is to develop a concise, in-depth outline before writing a piece. This way, it is much easier to write down your ideas and gather a sense of what you’re trying to say before attempting a draft. I feel like what I struggle with the most is realizing the overarching point or theme in my writing, so by just jotting down thoughts and points and assessing the patterns within it later, it makes getting started easier. It also makes the process of writing a lot smoother in that you can pick up where you left off. In terms of the BSG, I think that if I create an outline for each of the sections it will help me see it all together and keep the writing consistent with style and tone.

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