Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills

Is there a more vivid way you could describe the snow? Perhaps with a metaphor or a simile that makes us feel as if we are seeing the snow for the first time? Or maybe the snow isn’t even white anymore but brown and muddy.

Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills

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Quick summary ↬ We collected over 50 useful and practical tools and resources that will help you to improve your writing skills. You will find copywriting blogs, dictionaries, references, teaching classes, articles, tools as well as related articles from other blogs.

Effective writing skills are to a writer what petrol is to a car. Like the petrol and car relationship, without solid skills writers cannot move ahead. These skills don’t come overnight, and they require patience and determination. You have to work smart and hard to acquire them. Only with experience, you can enter the realm of effective, always-in-demand writers.

Of course, effective writing requires a good command of the language in which you write or want to write. Once you have that command, you need to learn some tips and tricks so that you can have an edge over others in this hard-to-succeed world of writers. There are some gifted writers, granted. But gifted writers also need to polish their skills frequently in order to stay ahead of competition and earn their livelihood.

CustomWritings.com is an academic writing service which provides custom written papers to help students with their grades. Moreover, do not miss an opportunity to turn to writing guides, topic ideas, and samples on their blog to polish your writing skills. Except for these, you can also benefit from free tools that will ease the entire writing process – free plagiarism checker, citation generator, words to pages as well as words to minutes converter when you are working on a speech.

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Grammar, Punctuation & Co.

Grammar Girl
Mignon Fogarty’s quick and dirty tips for better writing. Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules.

Jack Lynch’s Guide to Grammar and Style
These notes are a miscellany of grammatical rules and explanations, comments on style, and suggestions on usage put by Jack Lynch, an Associate Professor in the English department of the Newark campus of Rutgers University, for his classes.

4Tips to Improve your Grammar and Punctuation
“Purdue University maintains an online writing lab and I spent some time digging through it. Originally the goal was to grab some good tips that would help me out at work and on this site, but there is simply too much not to share.”

2. The Ernest Hemingway Exercise for Sharpening Your Observational Skills

Essentially, Hemingway challenged Samuelson to pick a situation to observe and then try to retell it on the page. For Samuelson, this was fishing. For you, it might be an event that happens when you’re commuting to work or shopping at a store or eating at a restaurant or playing with your kids.

Watch what happens today. If we get into a fish see exactly what it is that everyone does. If you get a kick out of it while he is jumping, remember back until you see exactly what the action was that gave you that emotion. Whether it was the rising of the line from the water and the way it tightened like a fiddle string until drops started from it, or the way he smashed and threw water when he jumped.

Remember what the noises were and what was said. Find what gave you the emotion, what the action was that gave you the excitement.

Then write it down making it clear so the reader will see it too and have the same feeling you had. Thatʼs a five-finger exercise.

In Your Cover Letter

When writing a cover letter (and you should write a cover letter), you’ll want to follow all the same advice as when you’re writing a resume. But cover letters give you more room to really show off your writing skills. Rather than rattling off lists of qualifications you have, use your cover letter to write succinct but persuasive anecdotes that come together to tell a coherent story about why you’re the right person for the job. Choose past experiences that are relevant to the job you want and support your overall narrative. And make sure your sentences and paragraphs flow in a logical way and it’s always clear why information is being included. You can also inject more voice and personality into a cover letter than you can in a resume to give the reader the sense of who you are as a person.

But you’ll still be communicating with your prospective employer via email throughout the process. “Taking the time to craft well-written email responses is a fabulous way to make a solid first impression,” Smith says. “Recruiters and hiring managers will notice a difference between well-thought-out responses vs. rushed comments.”

Remember you’re being evaluated not just for your ability to do a specific job, but for your potential as a teammate. A coworker or direct report who communicates via email in a clear and professional way will make everyone’s work easier in the long run, whereas someone who’s hard to understand in writing might seem like a future headache they’ll have to address—especially if you’ll be communicating with people outside the company through email.

Regina Borsellino is a NYC-based editor at The Muse covering job search and career advice, particularly resume best practices, interviewing, remote work, and personal and professional development. Before joining The Muse, Regina was an editor for InvestorPlace, where she also wrote about topics such as investing and biotech companies. She holds a BA in English language and literature from the University of Maryland and an MFA in creative writing from American University. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Sources:

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/50-free-resources-that-will-improve-your-writing-skills/
https://nicolebianchi.com/writing-exercises/
https://www.themuse.com/advice/writing-skills-examples-how-to-improve

The secret behind how to influence people

Carnegie tells a story of taking his dog to the park without a muzzle or a leash, and running into a police officer who scolded him, as this was against the law. The next few times Carnegie took his dog out, he kept him on a leash, but the dog didn’t like it. So the next time, Carnegie let the dog run free. When he ran into that same police officer, he knew he would be in trouble.

The secret behind how to influence people

image of people talking at work

Just thinking about them brings up the sweet, cinnamon-sugar scent and immediately reminds me of one of the people who had so much influence in my life. Every quarter he would bake dozens of snickerdoodle cookies and bring them into the KCBS Radio newsroom in San Francisco where my colleagues and I would elbow each other to get to the basket where we could snatch several of these heavenly cookies.

Baking snickerdoodles may not be the secret to influencing people, but for radio broadcast legend Al Hart, it was one of the many ways he inspired me with his homemade creations and motivating confidence and trust among those with whom he worked.

Lloyd George, Great Britain’s Prime Minister during World War I, who stayed in power long after the other wartime leaders had been forgotten, was asked how he managed to remain on top. His response: He had learned that it is necessary to “bait the hook to suit the fish.”

If we can put aside our own thoughts, opinions, and wants, and truly see things from another person’s perspective, we will be able to convince them that it is in their best interest to do whatever it is we’re after.

We are often tempted to argue with others, especially when we are absolutely convinced that we’re right about something. But even if we are right, what does arguing about it yield? Why prove someone else wrong? Is that going to make the person like us? Why not just let him save face, if we have nothing to gain from it but “feeling” superior?

According to Carnegie, it’s impossible to win an argument. If we lose the argument, we lose; if we win the argument, we have made the other person feel inferior, hurt his pride, and made him resent us. In other words, we still lose.

  • Welcome the disagreement. If the other person is raising a point we haven’t considered, we can be thankful it’s brought to our attention. It may save us from making a mistake.
  • Distrust our first instinctive impression. Our natural reaction to a disagreeable situation is to become defensive. We should keep calm and watch out for how we first react.
  • Control our temper. Only negative outcomes result from a bad temper.
  • Listen first. We can give our opponents a chance to talk without interrupting, and let them finish without resisting, defending, or debating.
  • Look for areas of agreement. Surface those first.
  • Be honest. Look for areas where we can admit error and apologize for our mistakes. This helps reduce defensiveness.
  • Promise to think over our opponents’ ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Thank our opponents sincerely for their interest. If they’re taking the time to argue with us, they’re interested in the same things we are.
  • Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. In the meantime, ask ourselves honestly if our opponents might be right, or partly right.

Next time you find yourself in a disagreement with someone, don’t respond with criticism or a negative email. Instead, sleep on it. You’d be surprised how much perspective you can gain by giving yourself a bit of time to think the situation over.

The 10 qualities you need to influence others

Extraordinary leaders inspire, but just how do they do it? What sets a good leader apart from a mediocre one? An extraordinary leader is a person who has learned how to influence others, including their thoughts, feelings and behaviors; people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Oprah are just a few examples.

Here we’ll cover the 10 essential qualities that all excellent leaders share. We’ll also cover how to influence people and enhance your own ability to influence others no matter what situation you are in.

1. Extraordinary hunger and drive

Hunger and drive set a leader apart from a follower. Leaders have an insatiable hunger to make something happen; they must do, create and share. This drive is the force that makes them unstoppable. Through their drive, they discover how to influence people and the culture around them.

If you study great leaders in history, you’ll see they get their hunger from a variety of places, but often it comes from something that was missing in their lives. You’ll also find their willingness to confront authority. These are people who confront the status quo, not conform to it.

So how do you get better at influencing others? Anything that intensifies the hunger and drive within you will make you a more powerful leader. The greatest hunger is to serve something greater than yourself , which leads us to the next quality.

2. Exceptional and compelling vision

Small visions have no power to inspire or move people. Instead of influencing others, you’ll be fighting for their attention. If you want to unlock an extraordinary life, you must have big dreams. This is why great leaders always have a vision larger than themselves.

Trying to influence others to support a self-serving goal is a mistake many leaders make. Remember that wielding influence is very powerful and is only to be used to influence change for the greater good. If you use it for selfish purposes, those you are trying to influence will sense it.

To really stand out and influence others, your vision needs to capture and grab the hearts, minds and energies of a significant number of people. It must be the vision of how life can be made better for a group of people, customers, a gender, a race or a country. There must be something that makes people want to bring their resources to the table and contribute their energy to achieve that vision. When you have a specific purpose that benefits those around you, others will be drawn in to help you reach your goal and they in turn will influence others to help as well.

3. Absolute certainty

A leader always has an absolute core belief that they can bring their vision to life. There is true power in belief, and influencing others always starts with conviction. Certainty is what shapes human beings; it’s one of our six human needs . Certainty is also a crucial component in how to influence people.

Uncertainty, doubt and fear are the biggest impediments to influencing others. Truly influential people understand that the fear of not following their vision is greater than any fear associated with moving forward. They know that hunger destroys their fear of failure and that they can use their fear instead of letting it use them.

Think about good leaders you’ve seen in action. Their passion is infectious, right? You’ve never seen an incredible leader say to their team, “I’m not sure we can make this work” or “Maybe I’m not the right person to do this job.” An incredible leader engages those around them by acting with complete certainty. They use their fear to push them even harder and this conviction is their key to influencing others.

4. Passionate and effective communicator

This concept is perhaps the most important thing that Tony teaches: To influence others, you must know what already influences them . That’s how to influence people and make real change. You must understand who your audience is and how to reach that particular audience . Your passion brings the energy; your effectiveness comes from knowing who your audience is and how to speak to them in a way that moves them. Everyone is moved in different ways, so getting this right is crucial.

People who are trying to influence others make the blunder of communicating in the style that works for them. Unless they get lucky and are with a group of people who think just like them, this type of communication will fail. Those who understand how to influence people know that getting to know them better is a crucial step to communication and that influencing them cannot be done without it. Passionate and effective communication is the only way you’ll be able to bring the energy to inspire people to do something beyond the norm – to do something extraordinary.

Influence with the hands

Influencing others with the hands involves cooperative appeals centered on collaboration and teamwork. You’re reaching out to others, seeking their input and encouraging everyone within a particular group to work together. Collaborating to achieve a goal that benefits the greater good is a powerful influencer, especially when you’re working toward making massive, lasting change .

How do you know which type of appeal to use when influencing others? It’s based on the situation, your audience and how strong you are in each area. Before you talk to the person or people you hope to influence, determine what you know about them and which tactics will work most effectively. In some cases, combining two or more of these appeals is appropriate.

Influencing others is about working effectively with people who you have no authority over. When it comes from a place of empathy, compassion and a desire to elevate everyone to a higher level, influence helps make the world a better place.

Leaders change the state of others, and the world around them, by telling an effective story. They say what they mean, care about those they are influencing and know how to tailor their approach to individuals or specific groups. They inspire others with their vision and by putting their plans into action.

References:

https://www.betterup.com/blog/the-secret-behind-how-to-influence-people
https://www.hubspot.com/sales/how-to-win-friends-and-influence-people-summary
https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ask-tony/how-do-i-influence-people/
https://hbr.org/2018/02/how-to-increase-your-influence-at-work

The Most Common Mistakes in Academic Writing

Have you been getting lower grades every time you submit your essay? Maybe it is already affecting your self-esteem, and you think the lecturer hates you for some reason. That is not the case. Have you considered that you could be making mistakes in your essays? Remember that no matter how compelling your essay appears, glaring mistakes and errors will put off your readers. Below are mistakes to avoid.

A Vague Thesis Statement

A good essay statement should provide the basis of your argument. The reader should understand what to expect in your essay since the essay will revolve around it. A vague thesis is confusing. It will demotivate the reader from reading the entire document. 

Long Confusing Sentences

The mind can understand short and precise sentences with ease. If you write long sentences, they end up confusing the reader. It would be best if you avoid including unnecessary phrases in your essay. Again, you can try breaking the sentence in two without changing the meaning. Do not forget to remove all fluffy words.

Poor Introduction

When writing an introduction, you should write short sentences. Avoid repeating the title and keep it brief. Let it be engaging to the reader. It should explain what the article is all about and highlight its importance. Unfortunately, many students craft a poor introduction. They make long and use long sentences. They do not include a hook to entice their readers to read. In return, they get a bad grade.

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Baseless Arguments

You could be getting a poor grade because you are giving unfounded arguments. Every claim that you provide, you need to support it with relevant evidence. That will give credibility to your essay. 

Passive Voice

Are you using passive voice in your essays? Passive voice makes your essay boring and puzzling to read. Active voice helps you avoid many grammatical errors and makes your writing concise and efficient. It makes your essay engaging and essay to read. 

Fluffy Words

Nothing is boring, like reading an essay full of fluffy words. It puts off the readers, and they feel like they are wasting their time. In most cases, choosing the wrong topic that contains scanty information tempts the students to include junks. To avoid this, choose an exciting topic full of materials. Edit your work and remove any junk.

Poor Conclusion

The conclusion should summarize the essay and bring it to a close. Unfortunately, many students leave the readers hanging in the end. Some introduce a new idea, which should not be the case. Instead of summarizing, it acts as a continuation of the body. When the lecturer sees such a conclusion, expect to receive a humiliating grade.

Failure to Proofread and Edit

Your draft may contain a lot of errors and mistakes. It could be that some sentences lack a flow. If you fail to proofread and edit the work, you will submit an essay littered with errors. No one wants to read such an essay.

Conclusion

You can improve your writing skills by eliminating academic writing mistakes. Some mistakes include poor introduction and conclusion. Also, some use long sentences and a vague thesis. You could be writing sentences full of fluffy words while providing baseless arguments. Also, failing to proofread and edit their work. It would help if you polished your essay before submitting it. You can also request experts to help you by writing a compelling essay for you at a fee. Once you eliminate all the mistakes and deliver quality, expect a good grade.

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

The novel centers on how to attain and uphold political authority. Throughout the 26 chapters, the author discusses the ideologies that should be supported by a grand regime. The plot takes the readers through kinds of princedoms, types of militaries, the conduct of a prince and the anxious political situation in Italy. The book illustrates the ideas in the form of counsels with the aim of guiding rulers. The final chapter sees the author appeal to the Medici family to supply a monarch to deliver the country from mortification. Indeed, much of the advice given to the prince regards between prosperous and futile modes of leadership.

Counsel on Armies

The author recommends for comprehensive laws and an able military for a territory to attack or shield itself. He disregards acts of leaders relying on military help from associates. And so, the ability of an emir to take his army to a field is an indicator of self-sufficiency. As identified in the text, “a wise prince therefore avoids dependence on these forces and relies on his own” (Machiavelli & Goodwin 82). This is because if they lose the princedom collapses and if they win the ruler operates under their favor. Besides, lenders may use their soldiers to turn against a kingdom. He asserts that princes who have weaker armies should fortify their territories instead of using military support. In light of this, a princedom with sturdy military and secured boundaries can withstand a siege. Machiavelli also uses an account of several leadership failures in Italy to criticize the use of hired soldiers. Mercenaries are unruly, fainthearted and treacherous. Nevertheless, the fact that borrowed soldiers have unity and are controlled by competent leaders makes them dangerous than mercenaries. As a result, the supporting soldiers could turn against a princedom effortlessly than mercenaries. An emir is always required to take caution on military matters. Indeed, war can assist a hereditary leader to remain in power or facilitate a civilian ascend to power.

Advice on a Prince’s Virtues

Machiavelli asserts that it is better to be feared than loved. The skeptic argument is based on shaping relationships between a leader and the subject. He highlights that “it is much safer to be feared than loved (Machiavelli & Goodwin 94). The approach is compared with fear, in which the author affirms that agitation can be applied to initiate fear, but hardships create an opposite response. The author employs a realistic justification —people may easily injure leaders who sought to delight public then those induce fear —to endorse fear. The subject views leaders who use fear as supreme and final. However, the notch of terror should be controlled to avoid developing hatred. Machiavelli also highlights that fear can be applied to unite the army and to some extent cruelty may be used as a reinforcement. His assertion suggests that fear is the sole way the prince can obtain total respect from his soldiers. For instance, he uses an account of two military leaders to prove the importance of fear in leadership. The first is Scipio, who encountered numerous rebellions due to his excessive mercy while as the second is Hannibal, who despite having a multiethnic army, it was always obedient because they feared him (Machiavelli & Goodwin 95). Without a doubt, fear is a pragmatic tool for obtaining loyalty and respect.

Advice on Conquest

Conquest by Fortune

The author holds that leaders who easily gain power may also lose it similarly. He gives a justification by saying that princes who ascend to power through fortune or influential people may experience a difficult time in retaining power (Machiavelli & Goodwin 82). For instance, the prince is forced to operate according to his backers’ will. Hence, he does not receive enough loyalty and may be easy to withdraw the soldiers from him because he has limited skills and strength. The author alternatively points out that a prince may make several political maneuvers to achieve stability despite having acquired power through the help of others. For instance, the leader may win the allegiance of followers by appeasing them with money and impressive administration posts. In addition, the prince can impose harsh measures to mercenaries who plot against him.

Criminal virtue

This is where a prince uses adverse methods to ascend to power. According to Machiavelli & Goodwin (60) “in taking a state the occupier has to act quickly and commit the worst offenses right away so that he doesn’t has to go on offending everyday”. In other words, a leader may be compelled to execute political rivals as a way of creating his path to victory. Consequently, all accomplishments should occur during the ascending process to avoid committing any more adversities in future. This ploy makes the subjects to overlook his unpleasant acts gradually and thus the leader’s popularity develops.

Conclusion

The author uses philosophical and historical accounts to offer advice on leadership. Readers understand that a monarch should always be physically fit and vigilant. One also identifies that war and military knowledge are essential tools for guarding a realm. Machiavelli arguments are significant to any leader or learner seeking familiarity on the ruling of principalities. For the person in power, it’s always questioning what is right and what is wrong and it’s difficult to find the right answer. You can look in this essay about power, what leaders exactly do with such problems. and Heads of territories should always be prepared to endure in periods of strife.

The Poem Daddy by Sylvia Path

According to Leonard Cohen, “If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. Poetry is just the evidence of life.” As the life of Sylvia Plath got cremated into a pile of dust, her works of poetry bloomed and grew. In addition to being an American novelist and poet, Sylvia Plath was also a wife, teacher, and mother. She was born on 27th October 1932 in Boston Massachusetts. Her father, Otto Emile Plath, was a professor at Boston University and an immigrant from Germany with majors in German and Biology. He, however, died of diabetes complications a month after Sylvia’s eighth birthday in 1940. Aurelia Schober Plath, her mother, on the other hand, was among the first generations of Austrian descent in America. During the period she was most troubled, that is, few years before her death, Sylvia Plath wrote the poem “Daddy” that is mainly about the sadness of depression. This prose and poetry by Sylvia reflect majorly on her battle that got primarily extended against despair. The poem also brought her struggles as a woman and as an artist to life. For most of her life as an adult, Sylvia Plath was clinically depressed and had numerous counts of treatment with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). She nonetheless committed suicide in 1963.

Daddy, by Sylvia Plath, contains sixteen five-line stanzas of the venomous and brutal poem that is ordinarily assumed to be mainly about Sylvia’s dead father. It still rests one of the utmost contentious poems of the modern times ever to be written. In the poem, Sylvia Plath introduces her poetry by describing her unresolved struggles mainly because her father died while she was a child. Between lines 6 through 8, she says “Daddy, I have had to kill you. / You died before I had time / Marble-heavy, a bag full of God.”(Line 6-8). She portrayed the obtainment of her freedom from oppression by the male gender. Throughout this poem, there is an existing theory that the subjects of Sylvia’s poem are her father figure and husband, Ted Hughes as well as her dead father.

It is a bizarre, dark and also painful allegory that uses devices such as rhythm that brings forth the idea of a casualty, who is a girl and frees herself from her father. There is a sense of inconsistency that is noticeable in the organization and scheme of rhyme in the poem. It uses a kind of singsong speaking way and nursery rhyme. There are repeated rhymes, short lines, and hard sounds. In stanza I, there is rhyme detected, that is, “You do not do, you do not do.” as if insisting on something. In stanzas 49 and 50, Sylvia also uses rhyme, “The boot in the face, the brute / Brute heart of a brute like you.” (Line 49 &50). It fortifies and institutes Sylvia’s status as a childlike character concerning her commanding dad. The relation is also made clear by the fact that the name she choses for him is “Daddy.” Her sounds, “oo” are also of childish rhythm.

The poem has a tone that can be described as that of an adult who has been engulfed in outrage. The outrage shown is at times slipped into a child’s sobs. From her tone of how Sylvia repeatedly calls her father daddy, it is clear that she is full of affection, consideration and unselfish love. The tone is nevertheless detected to change throughout the rest of the poem. Her tone changes to be filled with hate, anger, harshness, and rage. It is evident when Sylvia continually uses the word daddy and the repetitions like those of a child “you do not do, you do not do” and “Daddy, daddy, you bastard.” In the poem, we are made aware of the struggles she has been through mainly in the form of fear from her infancy. Sylvia writes of how she had always been scared of her daddy and how as a result of these struggles, pain, and fear, she had the urge to kill his dad (Osborne & Cedars, 2012).

Personification is the illustration of a general feature in human form and human accrediting appearances or a personal nature to something which is not rational. In Daddy, stanzas 8, 9 and 10 illustrate Sylvia personifying his dad. That is, “Marble-heavy, a bag full of God / Ghastly statue with one gray toe / Big as a Frisco seal.” In the 46th stanza, she also says, “Not God but a swastika,” about his father. In addition to this, she also compares her dad to a vampire in stanza 72 (Line 8,9,10,46 &72). These verses clearly demonstrate Sylvia’s view about her father as well as her opinion towards him.

In conclusion, the rhythms, tone, and personification discussed are well placed and intellectually used. I had not known this poem until now, though I had heard of it. Sylvia was very disturbed and in my opinion, writing a poem so personal and delicate takes bravery since one is exposing their soul and ambiance to the world. Sylvia Plath might have been a very misunderstood writer but then again, looking closely, one can make sense of her “madness.” The imagery of the poem Daddy is haunting because Sylvia had many demons to banish.