Over the years, I’ve collected a lot of writing advice. Some of those tips have been good. These are not those tips. If you want to become a better writer, ignore these so-called tips any time you see them, no matter who you hear them from.
Have you taken a look at your NaNoWriMo project since you finished it on November 30? Setting a manuscript aside is a great first step. You’ve probably found yourself wondering, “What next?” Someone will almost inevitably suggest publishing it or looking for an agent. Someone might say you want or need to get it edited.
We’ve finally kissed 2017 goodbye, and people are looking forward to 2018. If you’re like most people, you’ve set yourself some goals for the coming twelve months. Popular New Year’s resolutions include getting better shape, eating better, and reading more books.
You’re sitting in class, going over the syllabus, when you notice you’ve got a ten-page research essay due at the end of the semester. Or maybe you’ve reached the end of the novel study, and your teacher is now passing around the essay assignment details.
Either which way, you know you’ve got a paper to write. And in the instructions, the teacher’s told you which citation style you must use. If you don’t cite your sources, you’ll be accused of plagiarism. If you do it wrong, you’ll lose marks.
I’ll be upfront and honest: I’m not a grammar traditionalist in the slightest. I believe you should use commas and colons correctly, sure, but I’m not the kind of editor or writer who believes in artificial constructions like ensuring you never break an infinitive or rearranging a sentence so it doesn’t end with a preposition.
I definitely do not abide by the divide between “nauseate” and “nauseous.” The people who do are the people who read Strunk & White and take it as gospel, including all that nonsense about passive voice.
Most people these days use “nauseous” to describe a feeling. You might go to your doctor if you’ve been experiencing nausea and tell the good doctor you’re “nauseous.”
If your GP is a grammar purist, they will laugh. And laugh. And laugh.
English is a tricky language. Even the best of us struggle with it. Whether you’re writing a book, you want to write one, or you’re planning to be an editor, you need to be on the lookout for these common pitfalls.
Meeting a word count be daunting for a writer; it often feels less like a goal and more like a limitation. However, most writers will agree that it can be a great way of measuring progress. In a metric-obsessed world, where we count footsteps to ensure we’re getting our daily exercise and hits to websites to determine how much advertisers will be willing to pay, writers crave something that gives them some sense of accomplishment. When we set goals for ourselves, we create achievements. A writer who hits their word count might as well get an “achievement unlocked!” graphic flashing across the screen.