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

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 ...


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

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

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 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

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

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

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

Write and seek feedback! Useful ways to get feedback: Volunteer for writing projects that will be reviewed critically. Reviewers are often more attentive and critical when reviewing promotional content, rather than technical. However, for many products, promotional content needs to be technical. As a technical writer, you should know your company's ...


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

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 ...


3

Taking classes isn't vital. Learning to write well is. How you do that is up to you. I have done a distance-learning writing course (until the company went out of business) and I learned a great deal from it. I have also read numerous blog posts and several books about writing. All these have good advice (usually). However, I don't think I have learned to ...


3

Classes teach what study, experience and opinion believe to have produced prior success. Corollary, businesses prefer what has been previously successful. A sure win is money in the bank. If only anything was sure in business. If you take classes that are well constructed (no guarantee of this), you are likely to be taught strategies that will work to ...


3

You wish to improve a skill, which is laudable. The rhetoric course could be helpful with metaphor, but idiom is an oddity. Idiom is not easy to teach. When I started this reply, I was going to use shore up - a construction which makes little sense. Why would a direction combined with a coastline refer to improvement? Yet, it does. To shore something up is ...


2

Depends on how you define success. If you want to monetarily recoup your efforts, you'd be better off investing in a high risk investment vehicle such as bitcoin or IBM. If you are truly talented at writing, you still need a lot of luck and skill to rise above the enormous amount of noise. For commercial success, you need to determine who is your marketable ...


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