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How to write for dummies. Halp.

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Salaam peeps.

 

 

Problem :

I don't know how to write properly.

 

Elaboration :

I don't think my writing skills ( or lack of ) were always a problem. I remember gettting As/A*s for my first drafts in English/History essays/coursework during my GCSE years. Now, for some reason I can't seem to write above a secondary school level. I don't even remember what/how I used to write, I can't remember any techniques or what ever we used to use as a format/essay skeleton as some call it.

I'm studying Psychology and we have countless essays/lab reports to write up/ exams are essay based too, so I should have improved by now but I started almost all of them last minute so they were pretty rubbish tbh. I need to get better cos I'll need to work extra hard/get much better grades next year to make up for this year and the last. Which means I need to improve my writing skills asap cos I'll have a lot more assignments (mainly essays and lab reports) at least 4 essay based exams aaaand a bladdy dissertation.

Solution :
That's where you guys come in!

How/Where do I learn how to write?

 

 

 

Thank yees :)

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Is it really this simple?

 

Is there a long answer?

long answer: actually start writing. Then you'll get it all back. In school you had frequent practice, now you are out of it. Even a great archer misses his mark if he stays away from his bow for too long.

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long answer: actually start writing. Then you'll get it all back. In school you had frequent practice, now you are out of it. Even a great archer misses his mark if he stays away from his bow for too long.

 

True. I like that analogy.

I used to looove writing back then, cos I was studying my favourite books and cos I was interested in learning/writing back then.

 

Right now, I find writing very stressful.

I'm fundraising for something and I had to write a few sentences encouraging people to donate yesterday and it literally took me hours and stressed me out way more than it should have. I got help from a friend, googled what to write many times and asked someone else to read over it when I was done. All this was for two paragraphs, it's 100 x worse in my head when I have to write essays for Uni cos I'm going to be marked on them.

 

Okay, so, reading. What kind of stuff should I read? I have plenty of psychology books, it would be better to start of with them, right? Or would it better to start of with some thing more basic?

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If you want to write for some specific reason, like fundraising encouragement, then you should read some thing which has a similar style. otherwise, anything should be ok.

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It was for my facebook page ( and a few other facebook pages ) so it wasn't anything official, wasn't really important.
I just meant that writing stresses me out. I see what you're saying though.

 

So to be able to write essays/lab reports about Psychology topics, I should read stuff that has already been written on those topics?

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Literally avoid passively constructed sentences like a plague. Avoid words like were, was, is, being, are, to be,, etc..

 

Go do online quizzes to test your active v. passive knowledge. I swear this alone will improve your writing 50%

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Yeah- and that advice is very content and context-specific Moose- the use of passive voice may be major taboo in one field, but wholly apt in another.

 

Gumbo...... read, read and read. Write, write and write!

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Yeah- and that advice is very content and context-specific Moose- the use of passive voice may be major taboo in one field, but wholly apt in another.

 

Gumbo...... read, read and read. Write, write and write!

Journalism's definitely a field where the active voice is extra bad, I recognize that. But the thing about the passive voice is that if you're not a good writer it sets up sentences to sound extra wordy and bad. This isn't something I learned in journalism/creative writing or something like that. Just very basic English high school classes.My broad fatwa against passive is probably off., but in any field, passives need to be used with care or else its sloppy writing: i.e. "I fixed the computer" vs. "The computer was fixed by me." Passive have uses, but when to use them should be understood and intended. Actually, as per many writing standards, including in medicine, unintended passives are flat out wrong, grammatical errors. But granted, different people have different opinions.

 

https://cgi.duke.edu/web/sciwriting/index.php?action=passive_voice

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Passive has an important function when you deliberately want to omit the subject of the sentence- either to create ambiguity or to hide information which might be potentially damaging. But I don't know why I'm having a grammar discussion at 2.10am when I have a 20 page paper to edit- goodnight gremlin!

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I agree. But its use should be understood and intended. Thats true even in non-science writing. Whats most important is try to be concise, and I think active voice forces one to do that. But you can read active vs. passive construction and decide for yourself. If I were you, I would google "psychology writing style" and all and see what sort of tips come up for good writing.

 

And gnight Z :)

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And ok to lighten my original post, since Zim raises good points: learn to recognize an active vs passive sentence and learn when to use each. Active > passive unless with reason (I.e. something is being acted upon). Try and be concise. Avoid ambiguous words that dont have real, precise meanings. Instead be specific. Also I just googled "tips good writing psychology" and lots of good stuff came up!

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Literally avoid passively constructed sentences like a plague. Avoid words like were, was, is, being, are, to be,, etc..

Go do online quizzes to test your active v. passive knowledge. I swear this alone will improve your writing 50%

 

What is wrong with using those words?

Yeah- and that advice is very content and context-specific Moose- the use of passive voice may be major taboo in one field, but wholly apt in another.

 

Gumbo...... read, read and read. Write, write and write!

 

I find it hard to read for longer than a few minutes unless I'm really interested in the topic, which is very rare.
Should I force myself to read stuff if that's the only way I can get better at writing?

 

Whats the difference between active/passive knowledge/writing?

 

 

 

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