Writing is more than just a talent and a passion, for it is a skill that when we master, it could empower us professionally, and it could enrich us personally. And although there are news, or rumors, or both that our writing skills have gone bad in this Digital age, but given the fact that it’s a skill, I am positive that all of us can write. That the only question is; how well we write.
Regardless, there are “rules-of-thumb” that we, writers and aspirants could count on, and must adhere to ensure good writing. They are as follows:
Defined by Encarta as a “meaningful linguistic unit—a group of words or a single word that expresses a complete thought, feeling, or idea. It usually contains an explicit or implied subject and a predicate containing a finite verb,” and depending on the clauses, there are four types of sentences:
– Simple sentence contains a single independent clause.
– Compound sentence contains independent clauses joined by coordinating conjunction (e.g. and, for, but), or a conjunctive adverb (such as however, therefore, thus, hence), or a semicolon alone.
– Complex sentence contains a single dependent clause (headed by a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun) joined to an independent clause,
– Compound complex sentence contains two independent clauses joined to one or more dependent clauses.
Subject-Verb agreement is one of the “holy commandments” of writing. It means that if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular as well (For example: Lisa is reading, or Lisa reads).
Structure is the “skeleton” or the framework of writing—for without a clear and organized structure, our paragraphs will not be in coherent with one another. What’s worse, our readers might end up wandering; meandering as to where our writing is going.
Style is the way we arrange our sentences in the most convincing ways. Style enables us to display our eloquence and intelligence in getting our messages across to our readers.
A single misspelled word could hurt our writing substantially. For a simple typo could turn off our readers. So make sure, you use spell checker or a pocket dictionary, along with a thesaurus each time you write.
Succinctness is about brevity, or clarity on how we “neatly” package our words into strong arguments. Ideally, the concept of “short, but sweet” applies in all genres of writing. However, in academics, as one furthers one’s degree, there are more numbers of words required in academic writing (the longest I had was twenty-five pages, in double space, excluding work cited for my business law class). But then again, in most cases, what is ideal indeed, is to deliver our messages in the most meaningful, yet shortest ways.
Simplicity is also in the “holy commandments” of written language. In fact, according to the great William Zinsser “Who can understand the clotted language?” He further stresses that with simplicity at scarce, we are nothing, but “a society of strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills, and meaningless jargon.”
Sense of Humor
“Laughter is the best medicine,” says an old quote. However, we don’t have to take laughter so literally. More so, to ridicule anyone, or ourselves (and engage into self-deprecation) when we contemplate of adding humor to our writings. Nonetheless, it really won’t hurt to add a “dash” of fun, for most of us do appreciates sense of humor. In addition, sometimes, the best key in “winning” our audiences is to make them laugh (or smile at least).
Sound of Your Voice
Writing is a conversation. Which means, we should “speak” naturally when we write. For writing doesn’t have to be stiff and uptight for us, neither for our readers too.
Moreover, writing in the sound of our voices doesn’t only make our writing more authentic and distinctive, but through the sounds of our voices, we can write “with breeze” and ease. In addition, we should never copy anyone’s style, more so, anyone’s words. Although we must follow the same rules and mechanics, but we really must carry our respective characters each time we write.
Lastly, sincerity is the soul behind our manuscripts. For writing sincerely, is the most meaningful way to touch our readers’ lives.
Finally, writing is a skill that when we master, it’ll compensate us professionally and enrich us personally. So, write well, and keep track of all the “s” mentioned above.