If you are looking for advice from an expert who has spent years studying and teaching writing you’re on the wrong blog. I am no expert. I am a freelance writer. In the ocean of prominent authors, I am a minnow. But while the big fish swim circles around me, I don’t cringe.
Writing is my passion and words are my pearls. Apparently, I string them together adequately — most of the time, because over the years I have been fortunate enough to have had articles printed in various publications including The Washington Post. In addition to my essays, I’ve had enough Letters to the Editor and opinion pieces in print to paper at least one wall in my den. Rejection slips from my perceived prize winning compositions could cover the opposite wall. Aside from college English and writing courses, I’ve had no formal training, but I’ve had excellent mentors including my friends Walter Kiplinger and Alex Lajoux. For the past four years, I’ve been happily blogging on my own websites. Hopefully, I have eliminated any pretentiousness, and I will now tell you what I know about writing and how I do it.
Writing well requires practice. Decide for yourself whether you want to write news articles, fiction, poetry, speeches, or whatever. The field is wide open. Just write. Write. Write. And write often. That practice makes perfect is no lie. I write on a variety of subjects and get ideas at any time or place; so much so that I keep a small notebook and pen handy to jot down things to write about as they occur to me.
As you write, keep in mind that your composition may require that you validate details. When I write, I fact check like a research junkie. I also take pains to ensure the accuracy of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. After I’ve finished my final draft, I proofread it multiple times, and when necessary I cut wordiness like a pathologist dissecting a multilated corpse. Okay, perhaps that description was a bit melodramatic, but I enjoy spicing my writing with a bit of color and humor.
After you write your manuscript and submit it for publication, you can bet your binky that it will be critiqued with an eagle eye. Any piece that is fraught with grammatical errors, misspelled words and obvious impractical facts will go directly into the recycle bin. But if it is acceptable, someone from the editorial staff will likely contact you and ask you to swear on a stack of emails that what you wrote is your own creation and was not plagiarized nor published elsewhere at any time. If you truthfully answer yes, then voila!
The subject of writing well requires many more words than I can squeeze into a single post. So look for me to expand on this subject in the future. My bottom line, humble advice, is this: make sure that what you write is original, error free, and accurate – your integrity is on the line.
Oh, one last tip – if you want to learn to write well, it helps to be an avid reader.