Almost anyone will tell you being a strong writer can do nothing but enhance your opportunities. Knowing how to communicate yourself effectively via email, in a proposal, or through marketing materials can make the difference between securing a consultation or not. Today, we’re sharing the four characteristic of an excellent writer. Of course there are many more, but these are the ones that are specific to your success in college.
1. An excellent writer knows they don’t have long to grab your attention. Literally, your introduction can be the thing that causes someone to keep reading or to put your scholarship or fellowship application to the side. Remember that in the same way you wouldn’t want to sit and read something that doesn’t excite you, neither does a committee member who has to read many different essays each day. Figure out a way to capture your reader’s attention early and keep it.
2. Excellent writers know there are (at least) two very important phases in the writing process. First, there is the restructuring phase. This is where you are shifting paragraph placement, going into more detail about a topic, or simply making sure all aspects of the essay answer the prompt. Second comes the grammar stage. An excellent writer knows that after they restructure is when they worry about grammar. Doing things outside of that order only gets you grammatically correct, but ineffective writing.
3. An excellent writer has a method for writing effectively. What does that mean? It means they have a process. For example, if I have a 20 page paper due. I expect to give myself three days to locate and read through secondary sources, four days to write (that’s five pages a day), and one day for edits. Find the process that works for you and utilize it.
4. Finally, an excellent writer understands the value and proper placement of citations. There is nothing that can strengthen your (non-fiction) writing more than to cite outside research that supports your claims.