It’s Friday the 13th, everyone! The unluckiest of holidays, unless you happen to be a turkey or a pumpkin. This day has been considered unlucky since the 19th century, if not earlier, because thirteen has long been considered an unlucky number, and Friday has long been considered an unlucky day. Both of these superstitions are steeped in Christianity, Norse mythology, and religious culture, so I won’t bore you with the details, but make sure you carry your lucky talisman today!
Whether you are superstitious or not, it is probably best not to tempt fate. Here are thirteen writing tips to bring you good luck on your writing assignments today:
- Just write. Don’t worry about how it sounds or what your grammar looks like. Just get it all out, and then worry about editing.
- Write about what you care about. All writing assignments have some element of choice. Write about what you would want to read about, not what you think your professor wants to read.
- Make an outline before you start, especially if you tend to get ahead of yourself by thinking about how you want to end a paper while writing the introduction. It doesn’t have to be formal, but plan it out.
- Read good writing. This may give you some ideas or inspire you on what you want to write about.
- Let someone you trust read your writing. An extra pair of eyes never hurt.
- Write clearly an concisely. Don’t try to make something “sound good;” just say what you want to say without a bunch of flowery language or technical jargon. If you have good points and a solid argument, you won’t need to make yourself sound “smart.”
- Be specific. Vague generalities will just confuse your reader.
- If you get writer’s block, it’s best to get up and do something else instead of sitting and staring at a computer screen. Take a walk, call a friend, play a game, make a sandwich–just do something to get your thoughts flowing.
- Believe in yourself. Anyone can become a great writer with practice and study. Don’t excuse writing an inadequate paper on not being a good writer.
- You don’t have to be good at grammar or spelling to be a good writer. Writing is about what you write about, not about how many commas you have.
- Write multiple drafts. It will help to see how much your writing has improved just over the course of one assignment. The more you think about one subject, the more ideas will come to you, so don’t just give up after writing a draft one way when there are infinitely many.
- Make your writing your own. Don’t worry about how someone else would write it; no one’s voice is as unique as your own. Just because you think your friend is the best writer since Shakespeare doesn’t mean you need to write like that person. Find your own style and stay true to it.
- Come to the Writing Center! We are more than happy to use our knowledge for your benefit, and who knows, your professor may offer you extra credit for visiting.
Have a safe and lucky Friday, everyone!
This post was originally published on September 13, 2013.