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How do I improve my writing skills?
#11
(07-16-2020, 03:51 PM)LongRoad Wrote:
(07-16-2020, 03:03 PM)monchevy Wrote:
(07-16-2020, 02:01 PM)ab10365 Wrote:
(07-16-2020, 11:49 AM)LongRoad Wrote:
(07-16-2020, 08:05 AM)rachel83az Wrote: Without knowing exactly what you want to improve, the only real advice I can offer for you is to do more writing. Maybe even take English Comp I/II again to brush up on your writing skills. Watching/reading things doesn't usually help as much as actually doing when it comes to writing.

Sophia is free until the end of the month, you already have taken Sophia courses I see. ASU has English 101 as a self-paced option and English 102 starts again on August 18th.; you'd only need to pay if you specifically want credit for those classes.

I think your fear is pretty common. At least, I've experienced the same thing.

I support Rache83az's suggestions. While I still don't like to write, taking 2 courses at a community college with a GREAT instructor who was very positive and supportive helped to minimize (not eliminate) my fear of writing.  But I've found that the longer I don't write, the harder it becomes TO write.

Sorry to sound like a Nike commercial, but just DO it.
I considered that. I only wish I had more time before I begin my capstone course (I'll probably start in November). Even after the course I may still take some writing classes at a local CC for my own personal improvement. I really do envy people that enjoy writing.

I've been a professional writer for decades and I don't enjoy writing.  Tongue
Monchevy, I do not find that comforting AT ALL! My hope was that at some point I'd enjoy it!

I think being forced to do it all the time is what makes it not enjoyable. If you're doing it by choice (even if just the subject matter is your choice), it can enjoyable. And you can also organize your thoughts and learn things about yourself you didn't know!
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#12
(07-16-2020, 04:07 PM)monchevy Wrote: I think being forced to do it all the time is what makes it not enjoyable. If you're doing it by choice (even if just the subject matter is your choice), it can enjoyable. And you can also organize your thoughts and learn things about yourself you didn't know!

100% this ^! I have a class that I have to write a paper in every week. I have had to do this in other classes and it's not a big deal. I struggle every freaking week with the paper in this class. It is not enjoyable at all. Nothing makes the professor happy I looked him up on the prof rating website and I agree with the assessment other students have made. He's just a putz. Like if the assignment says to use 3 credible sources from journals and profession organizations, he marks off points if you don't use 3 journals or more. Makes no sense. We have to cite everything we write about in our discussions, too. First class I've had to do that. Because you know how when you're having a verbal discussion with someone in  a class you pause and cite your sources? Yeah me neither. I like writing and I hate it in this class.
***************************************************************************************************

UMPI: BLS Management Information Systems anticipated graduation December 2020

CSU Global: BS Organizational Leadership Transferred

Local Community College: AAS Business Administration 
Local Community College: AS Individual Studies

Sophia: Environmental Science, Developing Effective Teams, The Essentials of Managing Conflict, College Algebra, Visual Communication, Microeconomics, Introduction to Information Technology

Sophia - in progress: Introduction to Ethics, Human Biology, Conflict Resolution, Introduction to Statistics, English Composition II

Up next SDC: Business Ethics, Digital Marketing and Advertising, Management Ethics
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#13
(07-16-2020, 03:51 PM)LongRoad Wrote:
(07-16-2020, 03:03 PM)monchevy Wrote: I've been a professional writer for decades and I don't enjoy writing.  Tongue
Monchevy, I do not find that comforting AT ALL! My hope was that at some point I'd enjoy it!

Me either I was hoping I could force myself into liking it  Undecided
Working on: TESU BA Psychology & Criminal Justice

Completed:
Straighterline: Intro to Criminal Justice, Intro to Communications, Intro to Religion, Western Civilization I, Organizational 
 Behavior, Cultural Anthropology, Business Ethics,
Sophia: Ancient Greek Philosophers, Art History I, Introduction to Sociology, Project Management, Intro to Statistics
TEEX: Death Investigation
Coopersmith: Abnormal Psychology
Study.com: The Juvenile Justice System
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#14
You're getting good advice, but I just thought I'd say good for you for wanting to improve this skill, because the ability to write clearly is among the most important you can develop for success in a professional setting.
BS, Info Sys concentration, Charter Oak State College
MA in Ed Tech Leadership, George Washington University
PhD in Leadership, U. of the Cumberlands (in progress)
More at https://stevefoerster.com
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#15
(07-16-2020, 04:03 PM)rachel83az Wrote:
(07-16-2020, 03:51 PM)LongRoad Wrote: Monchevy, I do not find that comforting AT ALL! My hope was that at some point I'd enjoy it!

At one point, I wanted to get a degree in English and have a career in writing. I thought I liked writing. I'm finding that I very much dislike academic writing at least. I'm very tired of all these essays. And it's not even that many essays. I wish I could get paid to just learn things but skip the essay writing.

You just summed up my exact feelings as well. I love reading and I often think about getting a degree in English, but I hate academic writing so, so much.

As for the question about writing, I find that having a structure in place really helps with writer's block. What I did for the capstone was to look online and find sample papers (taking care first to make sure they weren't the same assignments I had been given, so there wouldn't be inadvertent plagiarism) and then I read them to get a feel for how they were structured. For the case studies, I found several examples that just used a basic Q & A format. So I used that for my own, taking my professor's comments into account. Once I felt like I could visualize how the paper should appear, it was easier to come up with the content, and then each week the work was quite doable.
Working towards: TESU, BSBA-HR (114/120 units complete, goal to graduate in 2020).

Completed: B&M CC: 67 units applied to degree Study.com: Principles of Management, Principles of Marketing, Computing, International Business, Library Science, Managerial Accounting, Leading Organizational Change, Finance, Organizational Theory, Strategic Human Resources (30 units) Davar: Organizational Behavior, Managerial Communication (6 units) Sophia: Microeconomics, Conflict Resolution, Leading Teams (5 units) Institutes: Ethics (2 units) TESU: Business Capstone, Cornerstone (4 units)

Left to Take: Sophia: Statistics, InstantCert/Aleks: College Algebra
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#16
I hated writing essays when I had to do them for my Study.com courses but I got by. A year ago I started a blog and that has forced me to improve my writing so much. I'm still not great, but I see a big difference. 

Academic writing is different, but maybe these tips will still apply. These are things that have helped me immensely. 

1. Grammerly, Prowriting aid, or other spell checkers. Those two are a bit expensive, but I some of the best out there right now. If you're able to invest in them, they have really cool features where you can analyze your writing on an entire document and it goes way beyond spelling. They check for things like style, transitions and overused words. Those have helped me change my habits a lot. Sometimes I get lazy and just go through and apply the changes without really looking at it to see what I did wrong and how I should do it better next time. But the times I've been intentional with the way I use it, it's helped so much. You can also change the settings for different styles of writing like academic, casual, etc. 

I have ProwritingAid myself - I chose it because it was cheaper than Grammarly for the whole year when I bought it. But Grammarly has a free version that is worth checking out. I've also heard Writing Coach is popular although I don't know much about that one. 

2. Practice structure. My oldest posts had terrible structure. I look back on them and think "How did I ever think it made sense to present this information in that order?" But something that really helped me was using Notion (a free note taking app that is amazing) to organize my headings before I start writing. With Notion, I can drag and drop them around until they're in an order that makes sense. Maybe I should attach a screenshare video so you can see what I mean. Let me know if you'd like me to do that! 

Step by step it goes like this - 
1. Open a blank page in Notion. Word vomit anything from my research that I might want to add. 
2. Open a new page in Notion and copy my outline template into it. Add more body paragraphs if necessary. Here's what that looks like: 
 - Intro
 - Question I'm trying to answer
 - Lead in 
 - B1
 - B2
 - B3
 - Summary
3. Then I start filling in the headings. If I can think of something right away for the intro, I'll write it in but if not I'll move onto the question or the first body paragraph. 
Once all of my headings are finished, they might look something like this: 
 - Intro: Present topic of child raising
 - Question - Are children better behaved if they get rewarded?
 - Lead in - ...can't think of one yet, leaving blank for now. 
 - B1 Why children need positive reinforcement
 - B2 Are children better behaved when rewarded with material things? 
 - B3 Social vs. material rewards. 
 - Summary. - think up later. 
(Notice, these heading are themselves a rough draft. I'm just getting my ideas together. In B3, Social is probably not the term for the opposite of material rewards, but I don't know what it is, so it's a place holder. As long as I know what it means, and each point I plan to cover in that paragraph, that's good enough for now.)


4. Next I consider if that's really the best order of the points I want to make. If not, I'll drag and drop until it makes the most sense. 
5. Now I make bullet points under each of those headings. I'm not trying to use fancy writing in these bullet points, I just write the way I would say it to a friend. And I keep it super brief. Here's what that might look like: 
 - B1 Why children need positive reinforcement. 
  • Because it helps with their development. 
  • Because they thrive on approval. 
  • Because they need to be taught in a healthy way which behaviors to continue. 
(I know this is kind of a goofy example, it's all of the top of my head so bear with me lol) 

6. After I have bullet points under all of these headings for at least all of the body paragraphs I then go back through and elaborate on them. Once it's all written out like this, you'll see you don't need to add that much to each one to get to around 2k words! I'm always surprised by the word count when I'm done. Here's what this might look like:
 -B1 Why children need positive reinforcement. 
 Research shows positive reinforcement can have a large impact on the way the child mind develops. (One or two more sentences on that bullet point) Children thrive on approval and when they don't get it they are more likely to feel unsafe or uncomfortable in their surroundings. (One or two more sentences.) 
- Ect. 

Now you're probably over halfway done! I don't do that all in one sitting, but I might do it all in a day or two. But at this point I strongly suggest you wait 1-3 days if at all possible and then come back to it. When you come back you'll be able to look at it much more objectively because it will feel like someone else's writing once you've had that distance from it. 
I'm always shocked at how easily I'm able to "fix" a sentence when I come back to it that I was struggling to get sounding right before. 

7. Now after waiting a couple days, come back to it and start fixing any sentences you really don't like. Don't be too critical though! I also like to read it out loud to see how it flows and that helps me noticed spelling mistakes too. 

And that's about it! I know "make an outline" is kind of old advice, but the trick that helps me the most with writer's block is to break it down smaller and smaller until it isn't scary. I wake up in the morning a few times a week and think "I really don't want to write another article" but then I tell myself - I don't have to write an article I just have to read about the topic. So I set a timer and start researching. 
Then I just have to take my notes and write headings. That's not so scary, they don't even have to be well worded. And so on, you get the point. Even when I'm only writing out those bullet points I often just do a few at a time and then take a break. 


I hope this was helpful. Sometimes recognizing the discomfort helps me too. I notice how uncomfortable I am but I just talk myself through it and keep going or take a little break.
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#17
By the way does anyone know good online course for academic writing which can be taken to work on academic writing skills before getting to University? I know there is coursera and so on
But i am looking for something more in depth. Since English is not my first language. I am basically self taught. I realy need to go through some well structured course covering academic writing. Thank you
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#18
(08-01-2020, 03:50 PM)Cofffeee Wrote: By the way does anyone know good online course for academic writing which can be taken to work on academic writing skills before getting to University? I know there is coursera and so on
But i am looking for something more in depth. Since English is not my first language.  I am basically self taught. I realy need to go through some well structured course covering academic writing. Thank you

Sophia and StraighterLine both offer English Composition I & II where you'll write a variety of types of papers.
***************************************************************************************************

UMPI: BLS Management Information Systems anticipated graduation December 2020

CSU Global: BS Organizational Leadership Transferred

Local Community College: AAS Business Administration 
Local Community College: AS Individual Studies

Sophia: Environmental Science, Developing Effective Teams, The Essentials of Managing Conflict, College Algebra, Visual Communication, Microeconomics, Introduction to Information Technology

Sophia - in progress: Introduction to Ethics, Human Biology, Conflict Resolution, Introduction to Statistics, English Composition II

Up next SDC: Business Ethics, Digital Marketing and Advertising, Management Ethics
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#19
You can also sign up for ASU's Earned Admissions offerings. You can take English Composition I and II at no cost whatsoever if you're not taking them for credit. You'll be doing more writing so it's a good way to get practice in.
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#20
(08-01-2020, 04:40 PM)rachel83az Wrote: You can also sign up for ASU's Earned Admissions offerings. You can take English Composition I and II at no cost whatsoever if you're not taking them for credit. You'll be doing more writing so it's a good way to get practice in.
Thanks a lot. I will go through those for sure
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