10

I think this depends significantly on your learning style, and how targeted you want your new learning to be. For instance, I love classroom learning where it is possible to engage with the instructor and ask questions to make sure I have a thorough grasp of the topic or details. Classroom or lecture learning, including online, is great for a topic ...


10

Reading! Read for pleasure, and in the field you want to write in. Sometimes, read strategically, analyzing a paragraph/sentence/section you really like or dislike. Sometimes, try to paraphrase an interesting section several times, to observe what different choices might have led to. (The textbook I got this from, Writing Analytically, suggested doing ...


8

Other answers have already covered rather well the benefits you can get from both writing and reading so I won't rehash those but rather to add another - get feedback. Join a local writers group or an online one where you can get regular feedback from others on your work. If you keep writing the same way over and over without this all you'll do is keep ...


7

Get out of your own head. Write. Just write. Stop worrying about whether it's perfect. Stop worrying about which book to follow. You've got a list taller than the coffee table and they can contradict each other. Just write. Get something on paper. If you're really flailing around, pick your first book about plotting, follow some of the advice there, and ...


7

I can think of an exercise which might help - although I'm not sure how efficient it would be - if the students would be able to solve it. Chose a set of sources for them and give them a task that forces cross-referencing, comparing and binding them. For example, give the students a task of examining and proving or disproving a claim in source A (which you ...


7

I will disagree with everyone! The best way to improve as a writer is to analyze how writers you really like, of books you really like, accomplished what they did. Don't just read them, that quickly descends into story immersion and entertainment, you aren't really learning anything. You have to read analytically, you need to pick apart those conversations ...


6

I had a friend who was a substitute elementary teacher who had a similar problem. Granted, he was working with a fourth-grader, but essentially, he sat down with her and line by line they created the paragraph together. He suggested something, she suggested something, etc. At the end, she kept insisting, "I don't do A-plus work." He pointed at the paper ...


6

The best way to improve as a writer is to write. Just write. Then write some more. Then look at what you've written critically, ask others to read and comment, then rewrite and write some more. Courses are a systematised way of doing the above. If having someone tell you "write!" helps you, go ahead. But you have to understand that at the core of them all ...


5

My background: wanted to be a programmer, entered a math program in college (because that was how you got to CS), loved the CS but hated the math, switched to technical writing and took the CS from there, and ended up doing a mix of programming, tech writing, and software design for the next (cough) years. Classes and books, even reading good examples, will ...


5

Way back in 10th grade, when we were learning how to do research papers on the back of a coal shovel, our teacher had us take all our notes on 3x5 cards. We had to submit them as part of the grade — she actually went around with a bag and we had to toss in our rubber-banded stack of cards. Edit to clarify: Each card had one note or thought on it: "...


5

Since the student is fearful of judgement, which I interpret as meaning "getting a poor grade," and has also told you that putting down thoughts perfectly is an obstacle, it seems that the student's conception of how writing works is malformed. Your student will benefit from learning that no writing is perfect on the first round. I would suggest that you ...


5

Okay, you actually asked three different questions here, so let's break each one down. Are these online course certificates actually recognized by producers, agents, directors, etc., or will having this on your resume make no difference at all? To be quite honest, when it comes to selling a screenplay, you are probably going to start with either ...


5

I had this same dilemma recently. I've been writing for over twenty years, sometimes professionally, and I have some areas in writing I really excel at. But I also have some big weaknesses, and those weren't getting any better. I don't have the availability to enroll in an MFA program, and I'm not big on online courses. So what to do? Instead I checked ...


4

I don't know how much benefit you'll get on a resume from having read about, as opposed to used, DITA, but some knowledge is better than none. DITA is both a specific framework and an approach. My documentation group is currently working through the book DITA Best Practices: A Roadmap for Writing, Editing, and Architecting in DITA by Laura Bellamy, ...


4

In my experience, those who are employing Technical Writers require their writers to have the following: A command of the English language. Knowledge of writing style, technique and style guides. Ability to express complex ideas in a simple fashion. Knowledge of the subject matter or field being written about, or a demonstrated ability to learn in a similar ...


4

A few things I've done, with some success, with students: Supervised writing sprints: have the student write in the classroom or during office-hours for a short, intense amount of time. Whatever they write is what they provide for review. After the first few sessions, some of the fear is gone and some of the benefits of the draft/feedback/revision cycle ...


4

I don't know if this will be way too late but still, here's a free tool I found for learning DITA: http://www.learningdita.com/ I'm currently following the course, although it's dropped down my todos a bit. I'm already familiar with most of the content from my own reading and from that perspective I'll say it's very comprehensive and thorough. Although I ...


4

To learn how to start writing, the best advice I've ever read or heard is just to start writing, followed closely by take in as much content as you put out. Here's why: The best way to learn is to do it. So go do it. Practice. Try things. Experiment. You will do poorly and you will grow, and if it hurts all the better because that means you're going to ...


4

Might be helpful, but hardly essential. There were two brothers, both studying cereal chemistry. The elder brother went to Berkley and got the degree, the younger read all of the texts and was self taught. My uncle had the title, but my father had the longer and more varied career, working for the Government of Canada and later was headhunted by a Fortune ...


3

A few thoughts about the first two paragraphs: There is a very interesting future [weak opening] to the use ["future to the use" is awkward] of information technology in business and how business views information technology. I believe that [superfluous] general demands in business as well as user demands [vague] will change and shape the computer ...


3

To prepare specifically for the GRE essay portions, you can get test prep books which explain the rubric by which they are graded, or go online to the ETS web site. I found this link: http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/GRE/pdf/awintro.pdf , which includes specific examples of essays with different scores. Getting a good grade on the GRE essays is a skill that ...


3

You should cite it if it's not your idea. The simplest way would be something like: As Mark Zusak describes it in his novel The Book Thief, Death is he who steals our colors..... You're clearly mentioning the author and the work. If you use Zusak's exact words, quote him; if you're summarizing, make sure you change the quote enough that it's not ...


3

For a more hands-on introduction, you might consider downloading and installing the DITA Open Toolkit. After you have set up the toolkit, you can: Take a look at the DITA XML source for a real publication, namely the DITA Open Toolkit user's guide. The source is located in the docsrc folder, but you can also access it on GitHub. Use this source to build the ...


3

Mark Baker is exactly right. Your story needs to be about a person (who can be a human, alien, small animal, android, werewolf, sentient car, or Groot). I needed to develop my characters to give readers something more to be invested in This is your problem. Never mind the exercises and projects and forums and blah blah blah cannoli. You are trying to ...


3

I do think time spent in school is useful in that it teaches one how to use language effectively. I've never seen a poll of how many successfully published authors have taken classes, but I doubt it's an overwhelming majority. There may be some merit in learning formal structure but to the degree it acts as a constraint there are limits to that. I've had ...


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