For this assignment, we were told to think of a writing audience in the writing community that we could relate too, and find ways to offer pieces of advice to help this audience and their writing. Personally, I found this paper to be relatively easy to write, primarily because of how relative it is in my life. My audience is supposed to be high school writers who are about to make the transition to college. I myself never considered myself to be a great writer, which is why I took this class. In turn, I learned a lot of things I wish I had known throughout college, and especially for my application process.
After going back and revising, I realized that a few of my tips simply didn’t make sense, or were slightly confusing. Other than that, I felt I did a reasonable job of explaining how the tips can help, and a good amount of self experiences. Overall I think this was a good paper, because it actually made me even think about things I can improve on still.
Advice for High School Writers
Learning how to write at a high level is something that takes a lot of time and practice. Anyone, at any time, can always be better. There is always room for improvement. But there are many basic and simple ideas or tips that can elevate one’s writing if taken into consideration or practice. Many tips which I learned, that I am about to present, are things I learned through simply writing over and over again my freshman year of college. These are things I wish I would have thought of or knew back when I was in high school.
All throughout high school, and all throughout my application processes, one thing I always tried to do was fit in big words to make myself sound smarter or more sophisticated. If you have to think real hard about it to try to fit in a bigger word, it probably shouldn’t be there. Similarly, this goes the same for your sentence structure and your wording. Don’t try to word your sentences simply to make yourself sound smarter. It will only make you sound sillier instead, if you really have to try to force words like that onto the paper. Another thing I did in high school, was use filler words. These are words that really don’t contribute to the purpose of the sentence, and the sentence would be the same if that word were removed. I got in a bad habit of this because I would just try to do anything to reach the minimum word count. These filler words make your writing sound awkward.
Moving away from the smaller technicalities of writing, it’s always important to have a solid thesis that really gives your reader a good idea of what he is about to invest himself in for the next x amount of minutes. Having a weak thesis just puts you behind, and it’s sometimes too hard to recover. Another general writing tip is, when you’re writing, just try to be yourself. Don’t try to write like somebody else. Develop your own style. When you’re stuck, or having some sort of trouble, try to just sit back and think about what your are trying to get across, and start to talk about it out loud. This has helped me many times. There’s something about hearing yourself and hearing your own ideas out loud that can help you figure out how to put those ideas on paper.
Now moving a little bit towards structure. This is something that has always troubled me, and continues to give me a hard time. Your paper will certainly be more effective will a clear organization. This means always include an intro, conclusion, and however many body paragraphs. But try to order your paragraphs into a meaningful order. This can be hard, but if done properly, can be extremely effective. On top of structuring your paper, it is also useful to structure your paragraphs, your body paragraphs in particular. This is also something that gives me a hard time. I tend to just dive right into whatever it is i’m talking about, without any organization. Topic sentences are good, and transition sentences at the end of the paragraph to lead into the next, are great also.
To finish off, we have some tips that bring your paper together at the end. Everyone knows revision is important, but not many people revise their writing more than once in high school. I know I sure didn’t. Revising your writing, setting it down, and coming back later to revise it some more, is always a great idea. You will almost always catch something you missed the first time. Another good idea is to let somebody else you respect to revise your paper. A lot of times other people and minds can offer great input as a new reader.
So these are really just very basic tips that I wish I had known these when I was in high school, so I could make the easy transition to college writing. These simple things can make a paper so much better, and they are all so basic. If there’s one more tip I can offer, it is to not let getting frustrated bother you too much. When you do, just realize that it’s a part of writing. It happens to everyone, and you’ll get through it. You just have to push through it.