This is my first post on the Writing Center blog, and as the only aspiring journalist among its ranks, I thought I would share some writing tips that are followed by writers in print media.
In studying, I found there are parallels between academic writing and journalistic writing. The most important of these similarities is writing clear and concise sentences. In journalism, we are writing for the public and use a more conversational writing style, while in academia there is pressure to use complex vocabulary, but this is not necessary. Fellow blogger Mario Perez recently wrote an entry about just that. As long as the main point of the piece is conveyed to the reader, the prose seems to fall to the wayside. Stay within your comfort zone when writing and it should go smoothly.
Revisions are also a very important in the success of a piece of writing. The finished product should be polished, excluding unnecessary words and sentences. Successful writing is all about precision. Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Some easy ways of catching errors in your writing are to step away for a while and come back with a fresh set of eyes; read your paper aloud; or ask someone else to read your paper. We use all of these strategies in the Writing Center, and I know I have had success in the past using these same techniques.
Write in a way that is comfortable to you. Use your own voice and don’t feel pressured to impress a reader using words you are not familiar with. If the writing is clear and precise, the reader should leave informed, with a clear idea of what you were talking about.