December 6, 2012

After years of teaching journalism and writing my own stories, I’ve come up with some tried-and-true tactics for wrangling words. What follows are some of my favorite practices. Take them together as a check list and you’ll be in good shape too.

The batch of links below is for the time you sit in front of your computer. As you tap at your keyboard, it’s important to realize that you are part of an organic, dimensional experience of shaping something that is already alive:

How to write tight 

What is a nut graf?

Rule of 3 can help your writing

Three great writing tips that transform my students.

My pet peeve: “it” vs. “they”

How punctuation works 


The quality and effectiveness of your writing can also benefit from doing more research. The better you understand your topic, the easier it is to brilliantly condense information instead of carrying on with too much blah blah blah. If you need to do more research, the next set of links are all about reporting. Whether you’re talking to people or going online, there are ways to make the most of your efforts:

Top 10 basic interviewing tips

5 interviewing tips that work in journalism and real life

How to search and do more with Google


Most importantly, trust your instincts. Your writing is a form of conversation, a chance to connect. Hey, I’ll bet that you’re already unconsciously practicing a lot of the stuff mentioned here in the way you talk with friends. Now it’s about turning that approach into conversational writing. Do it enough and you’ll soon see that the process can be really, really satisfying.