The seventeenth century writer Ben Johnson once observed, “For a man to write well, there are required three necessaries. To read the best authors, observe the best speakers: and much exercise of his own style.”
Johnson’s words emphasize that if we want to learn to write well, we must study the rules of grammar and the techniques of great authors. Before we can construct a palace with our own words, we need a foundation with which to build. In today’s post, I’m sharing four books that have served as several of my best writing teachers. They’ve helped me strengthen my knowledge of grammar and develop my stylistic technique. I hope they will also help you on your way to mastering the craft of writing.
My parents recently surprised me with a wonderful gift: a beautiful leather office chair. Though I do all of my writing on my laptop (it’s easy to carry around so I can create a workspace nearly anywhere), I have found that I am much more productive when working in my room at my desk. Naturally, this new chair was the perfect addition to my little writing office.
Every writer needs a tranquil, comfortable place where he or she can retreat to, a private laboratory to experiment with new ideas and plan out new projects. The other day I was looking through the photos of the workplaces of a number of famous authors. They were all unique; some were large and sprawling while others were cramped and disorderly. But all of them shared five important characteristics that seemed essential when creating an inspiring workspace. Read on to discover these five important traits and how you too can create your own writing laboratory.
I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with to-do lists. Writing up a list of everything I need to accomplish for the day makes me feel organized and in control. And, of course, it helps me meet deadlines and finish important projects. But sometimes I become so overwhelmed by all of the things that I need to accomplish that I forget to take time to recharge my creativity.
That’s when I thought to myself: why not add several activities to my list that will help re-inspire me after completing the other slightly more mundane tasks? By making sure to check them off my to-do list each day, they will quickly become daily habits. Without further ado, here’s a little peek at the most important section of my to-do list: five daily habits that feed my creativity. Add these five activities to your to-do list, and you’ll soon be leveling up your creativity too.
It’s easy to set goals. Sometimes it’s even easy taking those initial steps towards achieving them. Maybe we want to learn to play an instrument so we buy a guitar and sign up for lessons. The first few days are fun, but somehow life gets in the way, and it becomes more and more difficult to find time to practice. Or maybe we want to learn a foreign language. We buy several books that promise we will be fluent in a matter of months, but after memorizing a few phrases, our interest wanes and our goal is abandoned. What are we doing wrong? How do we maintain that original interest and energy that motivated us during those initial stages? In today’s post, I’ll share a fantastic fail-safe five-step approach called the S.M.A.R.T. method that has helped me transform my goals from dreams into reality.
Book reports are one of the most common essays assigned in school. By writing a book report, you practice outlining, summarizing, using descriptive words, and presenting your opinion. You also strengthen your reading comprehension and assure your teacher that you actually read the book she assigned. Learning how to outline and write a book report will equip you with the skills necessary for writing more advanced critique papers in the future (book reviews, movie reviews, etc).
In today’s episode of the new Writing Ninjas video series, I’m sharing a quick and easy outline that will have you writing a book report in no time.
It has long been argued that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the most brilliant child musical prodigy who ever lived. At five years old, he could already play multiple instruments, had begun composing his own pieces, and was performing in the royal courts of Europe. However, eighteen years after Mozart’s death, another child prodigy was born: Felix Mendelssohn. Like Mozart, he demonstrated a rare and breathtaking musical talent. In fact, the famous German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who had seen a seven-year-old Mozart perform in Frankfurt, dared to state that Mendelssohn’s skills surpassed those of Mozart. Goethe remarked to Mendelssohn’s teacher Zelter, “What your pupil already accomplishes, bears the same relation to the Mozart of that time that the cultivated talk of a grown-up person bears to the prattle of a child.”
Regardless of whether Mozart or Mendelssohn was the better musician, the fact that they were both so remarkably talented from such a young age is enough to fascinate and inspire. But, of course, talent alone does not equal success. The lives of child prodigies reveal many other factors that are essential for becoming a virtuoso. In today’s post, we’ll look at the life of Felix Mendelssohn to discover five lessons anyone can use to hone their own talents and skills.
If you want to become a successful novelist or painter or musician, it doesn’t happen overnight. Many different factors are necessary including hard work, practice, and dedication. When reading about the lives of several famous writers, I discovered another important ingredient that contributed to their success: a writing club. Having a group of fellow writers who critiqued their work and encouraged them along the way was an essential part of their writing process.
Of course, it isn’t only writers who can form these kinds of clubs. Gathering together several likeminded friends working on similar endeavors to yours could be just the missing ingredient you all need to successfully launch your next big idea or finish a current project. In today’s post, I’ll share why these groups can be so beneficial and five steps you can take to get started forming your own.
Learning how to outline and write a five-paragraph essay will equip you with the skills necessary for writing any kind of essay or article: book reviews, persuasive essays, opinion pieces, and much more. Indeed, the five-paragraph essay contains the building blocks for any essay you will need to write in the future.
In today’s episode of the new Writing Ninjas video series, I’m sharing a quick and easy guide that will have you writing powerful five-paragraph essays in no time. You will learn how to construct strong thesis statements, introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions.
Pop quiz. What’s the most important part of an essay? Answer: The thesis statement. What’s one of the most difficult parts of an essay to write? Answer: The thesis statement.
Well, not anymore. In today’s episode of the new Writing Ninjas video series, I’m sharing a very special how-to formula that will have you writing powerful thesis statements in no time. (more…)
I hope all you fellow scholars have been enjoying the New Year!
Looking back, 2013 was a fun and exciting year here at Inkwell Scholars. I published the first post on this blog on March 4 shortly after releasing the Inkwell Scholars eBook 31 Best Writing Prompts (join the email list to get a free copy). I also created a Facebook fan page; promoted the YouTube channel as it grew to over 150,000 video views; and read over 75 essays written by students in the Inkwell Scholars writing program.
What was one of your biggest achievements of 2013?
Aside from the many milestones reached with Inkwell Scholars, mine undoubtedly happened this past November when I wrote a novel in a single month. (more…)