Writing Tips for Non-Writers

Mul­tiple Hugo Award-win­ner and Star­gate Uni­verse cre­at­ive con­sult­ant John Scalzi offer­s ten writ­ing tips for non-pro­fes­sion­al writers:

  1. Speak what you write.
  2. Punc­tu­ate, damn you.
  3. With sen­tences, short­er is bet­ter than longer.
  4. Learn to frig­gin’ spell.
  5. Don’t use words you don’t really know.
  6. Gram­mar mat­ters, but not as much as anal gram­mar Nazis think it does.
  7. Front-load your point.
  8. Try to write well every single time you write.
  9. Read people who write well.
  10. When in doubt, sim­pli­fy.

This, from Try to write well every single time you write:

I have friends who I know can write well who send me the most awful e-mail and IMs because they fig­ure it doesn’t mat­ter how many rules of gram­mar and spelling they stomp on because it’s just e-mail and IM. But if you actu­ally want to be a bet­ter writer, you have to be a bet­ter writer every time you write. It won’t kill you to write a com­plete sen­tence in IM or e-mail, you know. The more you do it, the bet­ter you’ll get at it until it will actu­ally be more dif­fi­cult to write poorly in e-mail and IM than not.

via @finiteattention