Showing posts with label writing skills. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing skills. Show all posts

Saturday, December 27, 2014

How To Improve Your Writing Through Collaboration

Writing and publishing is not easy business and takes considerable amount of energy. Many people write manuscript after manuscript and never seem to publish their work. What defines one literary work as great and another as sub-par can be smaller than the thickness of a piece of hair. Working together can help round out your work and give you a little extra insight to your literary strengths and weaknesses.

Work in a Group: One of the best ways of improve on your writing is to find a group of people who have similar interests and meet with them on a regular basis. Groups help support you in your creative endeavors and create a sense of community made up of like minded people.

Review Each Others Work: Free editing is a great tool that can help you find the holes in your work. We all have a propensity to see many different types of mistakes in others writings that we wouldn't have seen in our own. Editing and reviewing each others work helps in proof reading for perfection.

Share Ideas: Writers are creative people and are likely to understand your sense of perspective. They will often engage in brainstorming activities that may help you find new ways of managing your plot. Sharing your ideas and writing topics with others can help open up discussions that will lead you down whole new paths.

Help Each Other Publish: Publishing is not easy and finding places that will accept your work takes a considerable amount of effort. Lots of great literary works failed to make it to the bookshelf only because the author didn't know where to publish. Group members can collect and keep an eye out for publishing opportunities and share them with their group members.

Look Around for a Group: Finding writing groups is not impossible depending on where you live and work. Look through Craigslist, Yelp, Meet Up, and events sites to find groups that support writing. Many of the groups are free while those that offer instructions may require some type of payment.

Monday, November 10, 2014

How To Write for an Academic Journal

Having a paper accepted for publication in an academic journal is an exciting event that comes with a personal sense of achievement. Not only does it validate an academic’s knowledge but it is also a source of industry exposure. Writing in a journal is not impossible but does take preparation like other types of writing. Those who publish in journals not only offer a sense of expertise but also a level of academic writing skill.

Writing at a level that will be published by a peer-reviewed journal requires a significant investment of time. It will take at least a month to write a solid piece of academic literature. The quality must be near perfect depending on the genre of the journal. The topic should contribute a unique perspective or piece of knowledge to a wider body of literature to create relevancy.

(Step 1) Pick Your Topic 

Having some sense of your topic before writing will make a huge difference in the amount of effort and time it takes to complete your work. Some journals will require you to have a broader “how to” approach for industry readers but most will require you to be very narrow in your focus. 

One of the best ways to find your writing focus is to spend time reading on a particular topic that interests you. Find a general interest and start reading until you come across something that you wouldn’t mind learning about yourself. Uniqueness improves your chance of getting your work published while interest will help ensure that you have enough motivation to complete your topic. 

(Step 2)  Find The Journal Genre  

One you have your topic you should start looking at the type of journals that publish works in that genre. Seek open access journals and peer-reviewed journals from your academic library. Read articles that are printed in the journal to discovered insight into what the journal is seeking. Review their paper submission requirements to better align your writing. 

(Step 3) Build an Outline

 Each paper should have an abstract, introduction, body, and conclusion. Building an outline helps solidifying you’re thinking by better managing how information connects together to create a final product. It will also ensure that you are actively seeking information that will benefit your paper without wasting time on dead ends. 

(Step 4) Start Researching

Try and find information that fits under the topical headings within your outline. This will help ensure that you’re not wasting time browsing information that isn’t relevant for your work. Look at libraries, Google Scholar, and even news articles when they are relevant. Try and seek a citation for every couple of paragraphs. Peer-reviewed articles are typically the best and are more scholarly in orientation. 

(Step 5) Start Writing

Writing is an art form and a science. It is important to use an active voice and ensure that you are discussing concepts concisely. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting, and sentence structure should be strong. When you have your draft you may want to share it with others and ask them to help you proofread. A few obvious mistakes will raise the chances your journal submission is rejected. 

(Step 6) Submission

 The type of journal you are submitting your work will have a definitely impact on the quality and time-frame of publication. Peer-reviewed scholarly journals that have a strong reputation in the market are the best for raising credibility. They will not ask you to pay for anything but are exclusive and difficult to be approved. As a beginning writer you can also consider less than premium journals to practice your skills and obtain a few notches under your belt before going after prestige. The choice is yours.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Communication Skills Improve Employment Opportunities

Communication is an important skill that college graduates should develop to enhance their opportunities in the workplace and life. The benefits of strong communication skills reach across employment fields and social demographics to improve graduates employment prospects and chances for future promotion.  Learning to effectively speak and write is a skill highly sought after employers and is generally rewarded in the market. 

Because communication opens doors to a number of different opportunities that wouldn’t have been available otherwise it is important for college students to pay attention when professors provide feedback on papers or comment on speaking abilities. Before getting bent out of shape students should understand that feedback is used for improvement and not for criticism.

Employers want students who communicate well in verbal and written form. Employers seldom find the proper amount of oral communication skills among college graduates (Gray & Murray, 2011). The ability to express oneself and talk to each other to achieve goals is important in social situations to get one’s voice heard.  

Consider the regular use of email, letters, and other electronic formats of writing in the modern workplace. The ability to write and communicate using these mediums is a must for those who desire to successfully navigate the workplace.  Information and communication skills can lead to greater employment opportunities as well as higher pay and promotion (Walton, et. al. 2009). 

Communication also fits with other important skills used on the job. Employers seek candidates with soft skills like communication, integrity, courtesy, responsibility, social skills, attitude, professionalism, teamwork, flexibility, and work ethic (Robles, 2012). These skills are more complex than occupational learning and move a candidate more into the world of professionalism. 

Crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s may not be a whole lot of fun but it can have a significant impact on a person’s occupational success. Communication is a skill that develops over many years and as one becomes stronger at communicating they will naturally find more ears listening. Even though strong communication is extremely important for business graduates who desire to someday be managers its benefits are not exclusive to the business field alone. 

Gray, E. & Murray, N. (2011). A distinguishing factor: oral communication skills in new accountancy graduates. Accounting education, 20 (3). 

Robles, M. (2012). Executive perceptions of the top 10 soft skills needed in today’s workplace. Business Communication Quarterly, 75 (4). 

Walton, R. et. al. (2009). Skills are not binary: nuances in the relationship between ICT skills and employability. Information Technologies & International Development, 5 (2).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Basic College Writing Enhances Business Course Outcomes

Business relies heavily on communication skills used in varying fields of study. Students often lack fundamental writing skills that can transfer into credibility, effectiveness and opportunity in the future. According to a 2013 paper by Dr. Carolyn Sturgeon colleges can do a better job at teaching students higher levels of written communication skills that can translate into productive projects. 

Students often resist courses in writing and English composition because they view these skills as secondary to their goals. Similar to the difficulty of getting your teenage children to throw out the trash these students are not excited about the tedious tasks of grammar, spelling, formatting, sentence structure, and citations. There is no denying that such classes are often boring and uninspiring and on the surface appear to be unnecessary.

Some students may need to complete 5-6 composition courses before effectively moving into their respective fields of study. There are other students that may not have mastered basic writing in high school and will need further remedial courses to perform at a college level. High school graduates who start at a lower rung will naturally need additional time, money and resources to improve their skills. Poor high school preparation equates directly to higher college costs. 

From the authors experience she has seen 90% of students avoid thesis writing and move more toward projects.  There is a natural avoidance of written work in classrooms as students lean more heavily on other skills. She suggests that students should be required to learn writing skills before entering their majors as this will make them more effective in their programs. 

The paper doesn’t move into this concept but it is possible to see an integration of more writing into traditional courses. For example, instead of 5-6 composition courses it may be possible to have 3 compensation courses and integrate graded writing into the colleges classes. This would require professors to understand the use of language and provide appropriate direction to students once their English composition requirements have been fulfilled to ensure they are developing their grammar, spelling, tense, clarity, formatting, and depth skills. 

Furthermore, online education is more heavily reliant on writing as part of the curriculum. It makes one wonder if graduating students are stronger at writing from an online institution than those coming from other types of universities.  Students are more likely to be judged on their individual writing skills than relying on an elite writer of a group assignment or a few assignments.

Sturgeon, C. (2013). Service courses: forays to bridge the gulf and invite new “citizens”.  CEA Forum, v42 n1 p208-245.