How to be a better writer

Writing is a super important life skill. For example, in school, it is almost impossible to get away without having to write regularly. You are expected to write many essays, stories, articles, and informative reports as a student. As a dyslexic student, I often get quite overwhelmed by these writing assessments. However, I have taught myself many tricks that helped me write better and more structured articles that helped me get better marks on my papers.

Here are some tips that helped me become a better writer: 

  1. Make a clear plan – As a student, I can confirm that hardly anybody from my class does this trick. However, I believe this hack is worth implementing because it helped me achieve more structured essays. Especially when writing an argumentative paper, it is good to make a mind map with ideas and then eliminate all concepts which aren’t strong enough. This step is super important because you need to use a thematic structure in your essays to discuss more complex topics properly. Students think it’s better to save time and write straight away, but in reality, implementing this hack will save you more time in the long run.
  2. Understand the concept of paragraphs – Paragraphs are a writer’s best friend. A paragraph is a unit of information, at least three sentences long. A paragraph should correspond with a single point you are trying to make. If you start writing about a different point/argument, you will need a new paragraph. To begin writing a paragraph, you must begin with a sentence stating the point and its relevance to the overall topic. This is also known as a topic sentence. To continue your paragraph, you will need to back up your topic sentence with:
  • links to the overall topic
  • connections on how it helps the reader to understand the overall topic
  • any other information and arguments relating to it or criticizing it

3. Write shorter sentences – This might sound a bit weird to some people, but long & wordy sentences tend to be less enjoyable and engaging to read than shorter ones. Sometimes it actually is good to keep things simple and go for simple sentence structures. It is important to remember that graders look for precise and accurate writing, not long, confusing sentences.

4. Never forget to proofread! – As a dyslexic who makes a lot of mistakes while writing, I can not emphasize this enough. It is absolutely vital to read through your essay before submitting it to a teacher for homework. Even when you think that you don’t have any mistakes or flaws in your paper, there will always be something you didn’t see before that is worth correcting. If you can’t find anything, then have your friend proofread your essay for you. They will probably find something that you have overlooked. While proofreading, double-check that you have referenced all your sources correctly since that is an easy way to lose marks.

5. Type your essays whenever possible – I have pretty bad handwriting, so I have an easier time typing things out on my laptop. For my birthday I got a tablet from my parent with a pencil attached to it because that is supposed to give you better handwriting. Sure enough, I found out that my notes got nicer and more understandable as soon as I started writing digitally. My handwriting is more legible digitally for myself and my teachers. I also could then take better notes which would help me in the long run when writing essays. I started colour coding my notes and sorting information in different categories via mind maps. Implementing more colours which gave my notes a nicer appearance. I especially enjoy making mind maps on my IPad because it permits me to retain more information and gives me a better overview when I am planning my essays.

Here are some pictures of my mind maps that I drew:

These mind maps help me get a better overview on what I am writing about and permit me to have more structured essays

Reference List:

The University of Reading. “Studying with Dyslexia and Other Specific Learning Difficulties: Tips for Writing.” LibGuides, 2021, https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/dyslexia/writing#s-lg-box-11527691

Sjsabuda. “7 Vital Tips to Help Improve a Dyslexic Student’s Writing Skills.” Dyslexia Help at the University of Michigan, 2017, http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/latest/7-vital-tips-help-improve-dyslexic-student%E2%80%99s-writing-skills.

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