A lot of students wonder what writing has to do with anything in the wider world – usually when it comes to writing a college essay that they don’t want to bother with. Writing is something which may not seem very important, particularly in this day and age of computers everywhere, but being able to write and communicate properly is something which has wide-ranging ramifications.
Everyone can appreciate that the writing skills which we practise through writing essays are useful if they then go on to take up a job which requires good writing in whatever respect – such as lawyers, writers, PR officials, journalists, etc. – but what many people do not realise is that writing is useful for any line of business. Writing practice is essential for good communication; someone who can write well and clearly will be favoured more in a business than someone who cannot string sentences together without making mistakes in some way.
The main way to improve writing is of course to write, but people can also read books to help them with this as well.
How to Write Better Essays – Bryan Greetham
This book is for anyone who has ever wondered how to write a good college essay, but been unable to find the answer. The way Greetham teaches these skills is to take essay writing as a whole, and to break it down into the individual skills which are required for a whole and complete writing experience. The book teaches people reading how to break down the question into its constituent parts, in order to better understand it; how to think about the question in order to come up with ideas; how to properly approach arguments from a critical thinking perspective; how to develop your own unique writing style which allows to express your own arguments and thoughts clearly; how to plan your essay, including the thesis statement and the way it would be structured; and much more.
The book is filled with practical tips on analysis and critical thinking, as well as good ways to discuss and evaluate what you are being told in your research. There is a separate section on trouble-shooting – chapters cover how to identify a problem with your essay, how to avoid plagiarism and properly revise and proof your essay, how to properly format different types of essays (including the different reference sections), and so on.
100 Ways to Improve your Writing – Gary Provost
Many people swear by this particular guide – as well as being used to help write an essay, it can also be used by business people and professional writers. This book contains chapters on general writing improvement, how to overcome writer’s block, how to write a strong beginning, and how to develop your personal style. Other chapters focused on the various stages of editing.
While this is a very valuable book, it is more geared towards professional writers who have already moved beyond being a student. It should perhaps not be the first choice of book.
On Writing – Stephen King
Stephen King is one of the bestselling authors in the world, so having a book which contains his ideas and tips is an opportunity not to be passed up, as they will have some great advice.
Instead of being a straight writing guide, King has written a book which mixes teaching with anecdotes. Rather than getting in the way of the writing advice, the anecdotes serve as a way of showing how these tips can and have enriched his writing, which is a clever trick.
King’s work is valuable, and if you get a chance to read it, you should, but when it comes to how to write a great essay, it is probably not the first book most people would recommend. It is geared towards people who are writing for a living (and probably writing fiction too), which limits the good it can do for those who are learning how to write from scratch.
It was the Best of Sentences, it was the Worst of Sentences – June Casagrande
This guide is essential for breaking down the writing process into its absolute basic form, by tackling something that few other writing guides do: the sentence itself. Rather than focusing on writing as a whole, Casagrande has used her book to focus on different aspects of a sentence, and how they can impact the work as a whole.
Chapters include how to use conjunctions properly, how to properly structure sentences, participles, articles, and so much more all. All of these are incredibly important for developing your writing, and developing your own personal style of writing. Rather than being purely for already-established writers, Casagrande’s work can be used by anyone, and arguably the focus on the minute details of a sentence make it particularly well suited to use by students.
The Writer’s Journey – Christopher Vogler
Vogler has a focus on overall writing structure in this book, rather than on individual aspects of the writing process. While it is not recommended for students, both because it is focused on helping established writers and because it is focused on the fiction writing process, it is still of interest due to how it lays out the expected structure of a storyline.
On Writing Well: the Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction – William Zinsser
This book is less formally structured than some of the others, but it focuses on writing nonfiction. While it does specifically say that it is geared towards helping people to learn how to write properly, Zinsser’s book seems to be aimed at the professional in the workplace who needs to improve their communication skills overall.
It is a hugely informative book, and is split into various sections to help people who are looking for a particular area. The first part deals with writing specifically, using chapters on keeping writing simple, the particular styles which can be used, and so on. The second section is specifically about the introduction and the conclusion, with the last two sections focusing on specific genres of writing.
Writing can be difficult, and so some students prefer to avoid the stress altogether and simply order their essays from some online service such as essayzoo.org or similar. This does not serve them well, as writing is about much more than essays – writing is something which continues throughout life. The books in this article are six books which can start students off on their journey of how to learn to write more effectively, though they are only the tip of the iceberg.