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