Proofreading: the Key to Professional Writing

The importance of proofreading can’t be overemphasised. It’s so integral to the success of any piece of writing, in any context. Without thorough proofreading, mistakes can slip through the net and errors can go unnoticed. In the worst case scenario the text might not even make sense.

You may want to break your proofreading down into stages to make it more manageable. If you try to tackle too much in one go, it’s very easy to miss something. Be very careful not to skim-read; your eyes can often be tricked. Reading over text quickly puts you in danger of missing spelling mistakes and skipping over poorly-constructed sentences. Be thorough in your proofreading.

It’s always worth asking someone else to proofread for you. Once you’ve read it through yourself, call on the help of a friend, colleague or even a professional proofreader. It is very difficult to be objective when you have spent a long time working on a piece of writing, and a new pair of eyes will be so valuable. If you find someone who is a good proofreader, use their services again – it’s important to find someone with a keen eye for detail who works well with you.

The Importance of Good Written English in a Job Application

When looking for a new job, it’s so important to write a coherent and eloquent application. Even if writing won’t form one of your main duties at work, an employer wants to know that you are a strong communicator. Written English cannot be ignored.

To start with, you need to be able to make your CV legible. If it is not structured correctly and cannot be read easily, employers will bypass it. You don’t need to use complex language – just ensure that it is fluent and makes perfect sense.

Covering letters are just as important. They are your opportunity to make your application a little bit more personal, so they need to be well written. Use persuasive language to convince your potential future employer that you will be right for the role and emphasise why you want to work there.

Remember, good spelling and grammar will show good attention to detail. It will be difficult to prove to someone that you will make a conscientious and hard-working employee if your job application looks lazy and haphazard. Read and re-read it many times over and ask someone else to proofread it for you. Submitting a high-quality application that is right shows you have initiative, and are willing to go out of your way to do something well.

How to Write a Presentation

Presentations can take a lot of work. They involve writing and editing the content itself, as well as preparing how best to deliver it to an audience. There are a number of tips which you should bear in mind that can help you enormously. Here are some of the most important:

  1. Less is more. If you’re writing content on slides to present to an audience, don’t overwhelm them. Keep to the most important details.
  2. Be clear. When you’re writing content which is going to be presented to an audience, you want to make sure that the information is accessible.
  3. Use images too. The words in a presentation need to be backed up by something visually interesting.
  4. Use simple language. If there is any jargon which is unavoidable, make sure that it is explained. Anybody watching your presentation should be able to understand you.
  5. Write in a range of long and short sentences which sound natural. This will help your content to flow well.
  6. Have additional details on hand. People may want to ask further questions at the end.

Working as a Professional Writer

It’s becoming far easier to earn money and make a living from your writing skills, and there are a number of different capacities in which you can work as a writer. The key to success is knowing where to begin and how to break into your desired field.

It’s important that you know about the different sectors in which you’re able to work as a writer. Working as a journalist is very different to writing novels for a living. Once you’ve got into the industry of your choice and have established yourself as a skilled writer, a variety of different options will open up to you. Everybody needs a starting point.

Get a portfolio together. To apply for almost any writing job, you will need to be able to show what you can do. If you have no previous writing experience, you will probably need to take on some unpaid projects. It can be frustrating putting your heart and soul into work which doesn’t have any immediate benefit, but in the long term, it will pay off.

If you’re in a position to study further, enrol on a course. This could be anything from a local creative writing course to a university degree in English Literature. Having qualifications is a great way to prove your worth as a writer and it will give you plenty of opportunities to hone your skills.

Writing to Suit Your Purpose

Making your writing work for your purpose is a large part of being a good written communicator. The language which you use is incredibly important – for example, you wouldn’t write a post-it note to a friend using the same tone as you’d use for an academic thesis. Here is some advice on the types of language you should use in various situations:

  1. Writing for a website. Use shorter sentences and ensure that the text is clear and concise. If you are selling a product ensure that your copy is direct and to the point.
  2. Writing to a potential employer. Write in a formal style, but don’t be afraid to let you personality come through. This will make your application memorable.
  3. Writing a blog. This will largely depend on what the blog post is about. If it is an entertaining lifestyle blog, you can make your tone informal and conversational. However, if you’re blogging for a serious website this tone of voice may not be appropriate.
  4. Writing a short story. Story writing is a highly creative process and you can use any kind of language you like. Just make sure that your meaning is clear to your readers.
  5. Writing an article. This kind of writing is usually used to inform people. Whatever the topic might be, ensure that you are descriptive whilst making the content interesting and drawing out any relevant or interesting points.

Writing to suit your purpose is largely about knowing your audience and making a judgement about what is appropriate. If you ever get stuck, imagine that you are talking to them directly and this will help you to craft an appropriate piece of writing for them.

Providing Good Written Feedback

If you work in an academic or business setting, it’s likely that you will have to give written feedback to students, employees and colleagues. There are certain ways of providing this feedback which will gain you better results, which will be discussed in this article.

Be concise. The more you write, the less likely people are to absorb it all. Consider using bullet points to break your comments down into easily-digestible chunks.

Don’t be over-critical. If you want to get the best out of people, adopt a positive tone and provide constructive criticism which offers a clear pathway to improvement.

Ensure that your writing is of a high quality. You need to ensure that pupils or employees have respect for you and in order to do this, you must establish yourself as a figure of authority. Being intelligent and eloquent is a big part of this, and it’s something which you can establish through your writing.

Finally, use your writing to make those around you better writers. If you identify grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, point them out and provide solutions going forward. Students and staff who are good communicators will be able to achieve more highly across the board.

The Importance of Using Correct Spelling

If words are spelt incorrectly, your writing isn’t going to flow. It will look messy, and in the worst case scenario, you might not be able to make yourself understood. It is therefore very important that you can spell properly, and if it isn’t your strong point, you should make an effort to improve. Here are some tips:

1.    Learn the different between words which sound the same, such as their, there and they’re. Identify the situations in which each one would be used – if you know the rules, you can make the right selection.
2.    Memorise simple spelling rules which can help you if you’re unsure. English can be a very inconsistent language, but there are some guidelines, such as ‘I before E, except after C’.
3.    Correctly write out some of the words which you struggle to spell, and put them in a prominent place such as on your desk at work or on your bedroom wall. If you see them regularly, they’ll subconsciously begin to stick in your mind.
4.    Make full use of spellcheckers, but if you’re ever unsure, double check in a dictionary. Spellcheckers are very valuable tools but they have their flaws.
5.    Make sure to use English spellings, not American ones. Many American words will be spelt with a z instead of an s and this can be a common trap to fall into. If you’re ever unsure, look in an English dictionary.

Creative Writing: Thinking Imaginatively

Creative writing can be great fun, and it’s a brilliant way to improve your general written English. If it’s something which you’re good at, you might even be able to make some money from it. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s too late and that you should have started practising your creative writing years ago – anybody can enjoy this pastime and it can easily be worked around other commitments and hobbies.

There are numerous different types of creative writing which you could try your hand at. Maybe you’ve always enjoyed the language of poetry, or perhaps you love telling stories. Have a go at producing your own written versions – you might find that your pleasure in a subject has given you a good knowledge base and you take to it naturally.

Read as much as you can. The more time you spend around language, the better you will become at producing your own words. You’ll become familiar with constructions which work and will expand your vocabulary so that you’re able to write more fluently.

It’s not unusual to struggle at first, and don’t be disappointed if you do. Keep trying, and write whenever the mood takes you. Forcing yourself into it will only prove frustrating and the last thing you want to do is ruin your enjoyment of the creative process. You will get better over time and creative writing can develop into a rewarding craft for you.

Some Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing

Writing is of vital importance in everyday life and it plays a central role in our communication with others. Being able to express yourself well on paper/ via electronic means can serve you well in various situations. Some examples might include sending emails, contacting companies, applying for a job, keeping a blog, completing a course for work or further education, and many more. Here are some ways in which you can hone your skills in written English to improve your communication skills:

  1. Practice. It’s true that practice makes perfect, and by writing on a regular basis, you’re going to get better naturally.
  2. Pay close attention to spelling. Errors will stand out, so check any words you’re unsure of in a dictionary and proofread you work when you’re finished.
  3. Ask others to check your writing. They will be able to spot things which you might have missed yourself.
  4. Change your tone of voice depending on the situation. Writing to a friend will require a very different tone to writing to a manager.
  5. If you’re writing by hand, ensure that your letters are neat and legible. Don’t smudge the ink and don’t rush.
  6. Make use of spellcheck software if writing electronically. It will help you to pick out errors and will offer suggestions to correct them.

Structuring a Dissertation

A dissertation is likely to be one of the longest academic texts you will ever produce, and it will require extensive planning to ensure that your writing is structured, well-balanced and meaningful. If you allow yourself to get carried away and write too much without a solid plan in place, your work will come across as disorganised and important considerations may be left forgotten.

A dissertation is often around 10,000-15,000 words long and will be split up into several chapters. The number of chapters you choose to include will depend entirely on what you are writing about – your tutor will be able to help you when it comes to deciding upon an overall structure. You may also wish to include subchapters and appendices where appropriate to further categorise your writing.

Whilst you don’t necessarily need to have decided upon every single point which you’re going to cover, it is important to have an overall idea of the information which each chapter will include. Think up your chapter titles and write down some bullet points to outline the content of each one. You can play around with these as you go along, but this method will ensure that you don’t miss out any vital information.

Ensure that you leave yourself plenty of time for editing once you have completed the writing process. It might also be useful to ask someone else to proofread your work, as they will be able to spot things which are easy to miss when you’ve been working on a project for a long time. Knowing that you have enough editing time is important in keeping your stress levels down to a minimum, and it will allow you to produce the highest quality of work you possibly can.