Academic Writing Skills: When you read a seasoned author’s essay, the content seems so lively as if a picture has been painted in front of your eyes. You will also notice that you are gliding from one sentence to another seamlessly, just like skis slide against the snow. You read, and you wonder, “Will I ever be able to write like that?”
As it turns out, each writer has unique attributes. You can always take inspiration (but not imitate) from someone’s write-up. You can also improve your writing skills by following the correct procedure and having faith in your writing ability. It is all right if the progress is a little slow at first. Once the foundation is set, you will be able to improve your writing steadily.
Enhance Your Academic Writing Skill
To make sure that you abide by the correct steps, certain tips on essay and academic writing have been highlighted below. Here’s what you should do:
- Brush Up Your Grammar
When you address an issue, you must check it from the grassroot level. Hence, it is imperative that you start with the grammar. Focus on the tense of the sentences, and subject-verb agreement. Moreover, you must keep an eye for punctuation errors, and the usage of transition words like, ‘nonetheless’, ‘conversely’, etc. It is ideal if you go through the eight parts of speech and revise chapters on adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, etc.
- Read Articles and Books
The only way you can enrich your knowledge of academic assignment writing is by reading articles, storybooks, newspapers or magazines. It is a healthy practice to highlight the specific parts which you find alluring and also those sections that are incomprehensible. Try to follow the structure of the sentence and the phrases. If you read frequently, you will also be able to pick up new words, which would improve your vocabulary.
- Choose Interesting Topics
The first step to writing an intriguing essay is to choose an interesting topic. By interesting what I mean is that the topic should not be chosen for scoring exemplary grades only. You should feel enthusiastic about it too. Thus, you have to decide the domain you are interested in. For instance, you choose technology. For this, you have to explore online science magazines, blog posts or websites of BBC World, Science Daily etc. Thus, the key to good academic writing lies in proper topic selection.
- Create a Proper Outline
This is one of the most crucial aspects of essay writing. Irrespective of the type of the essay, you must always include an introduction, a body and a conclusion. In the introduction, provide a hook, a thesis statement and an overview of the topic. In the body, you must cover all the angles under specific subheadings. Each subheading should be precise and consist of bullet points. Finally, you have to round off the essay with a fitting and impactful conclusion.
- Focus on Diction
You must choose your words carefully, based on the target audience in your essay. Just because you are familiar with flashy words does not mean that you have to fill your content with mellifluous words. Just my two cents on this matter. You should use simple English words and refrain from using compound sentences. Your readers would appreciate your content more if they don’t have to refer to a dictionary for understanding every sentence.
- Use Literary Tools
You can embellish your academic writing further by employing literary tools. You can use metaphors, alliterations, irony or personification to spice up your writing. For instance, Ernest Hemingway was known for his use of epigraphs, Edgar Allan Poe for his use of irony, etc. Thus, you need to decide which literary device can help you express your thoughts easily. Furthermore, you need to learn to use power words and vivid language to avoid gobbledygook and weak words.
- Find Your Voice
The best writers in the world have a unique way of presenting their thoughts and opinions. If you want to improve your academic writing skill, you must find your voice. You need to express emotions in your write-ups and believe in your identity. It has been seen that the writers are most demonstrative when they write in the first person. Even though ‘I’ isn’t allowed in essay writing, it is still possible to convey a sense of ‘I’-ness. You can easily create a draft using ‘I’ and then remove it with a little adjustment.
- Validate Your Arguments
Your essays, be it expository or argumentative, should be filled with validations. The statements you write in the essay should be backed by evidence. For this, you can collect information from Google Scholar, blog posts, online articles, and newspapers. You might even have to scour through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Also, gather interesting data like statistics, graphs, charts, diagrams/figures, etc.
- Practice Writing
If you aim to become an acclaimed writer, do not restrict yourself to only university or school-based tasks like essay writing. You must invest one hour each day on writing not only essays but articles, short stories and even scripts. Focus on smooth transitions, concise sentences and vivid language. Your write-up must sound like a story narration, unless, it is based entirely on the information. You can even use the zoom-in-zoom-out technique to interweave tiny stories in your content.
Proofreading is extremely important. Unless you go through the content you have written, you won’t be able to spot the errors. Through proofreading, you will become aware of your shortcomings. If you wish to submit a flawless essay, your content should be free from spelling mistakes, punctuation and grammatical errors. Furthermore, you need to verify whether the information is legitimate or not. Only then will your write-up will look refined, and the prospect of earning more marks will increase.
If you follow these suggestions word for word, your academic writing skill will improve drastically. And that too, within a short time. You will not only be able to write top-notch essays, but also case studies, reports, thesis papers and all sorts of academic papers. If your command over the English language is good, you won’t face any obstacles. So, practice writing and keep reading books. With time, you will improve.