Top TricksWhen I started at my first job as a professional writer, I needed to know exactly how many words I had to write for each piece, even if I wasn’t given a specific number. Somehow, I had fallen into a trap of writing to meet a word count during college, like it was a goal I had to stretch to accomplish. Have you written something for a class before and fallen short? How did you expand the piece? Did you go back through and pepper in a few more words? Did they enhance the story . . . or the word count? Continue reading

-Special Post-In honor of Earth Day this Friday, I’m talking about a bunch of different topics, starting with science writing: one of my favorite kinds! (Maybe I’m nerdy.)

For the last eight years of my life, I did a lot of writing about scientific research. Many people have commented that it must have been horribly boring work, so I want to set the record straight: it was awesome! Continue reading

041316_Writing at the College LevelDuring my undergrad, I remember taking a biology class and having no idea what a lab paper should look like for our experiment. We based ours off a friend’s paper that had garnered an “A.” We got a “C.” How? I still don’t know. When I approached the professor, he said he would have given me a “D” instead of what my lab TA awarded us and threw it back in my face. What were his expectations? How were we to know what the paper should look like? Our grammar and structure were perfect (I edited it). What were we missing?

When I started doing this blog, I was wondering what other professors’ expectations of papers were. Do they emphasize the construction of a student’s argument or mention missing punctuation? How do they draw effective communication from their students? How do they guide them to create what they are looking for? Do they guide them at all? Continue reading

040616_Dreaming of a Best-Seller-If you are serious about being a writer, then you absolutely need to have someone review your work, no matter how experienced you are with writing. I recently spoke on this topic—and about finding my voice as I was, ironically, raspy from allergies. No one writes alone. All professionals have someone review their work or work with a group before presenting to the public.

It is especially important for writers who are self-publishing. Continue reading