Cracking the Cover Letter

2019-11-12T01:18:04+00:00Tags: , , , |

Cover letters are a part of job, internship, and practicum applications that always tripped me up.  As soon as I saw the words “cover letter”, I felt stuck because I didn’t know where to begin.  Unfortunately, as a graduate student, cover letters are an unavoidable part of my life.  […]

Show, Don’t Tell

2019-11-17T00:36:27+00:00Tags: , , , |

If writing is a public act, then, your purpose as a writer is to ignite reader’s interest and understanding of what you are writing about. The “Show, Don’t Tell” strategy emphasizes the reader’s experience of the material through the detail presented through action, concrete language, thoughts, sensory imagery, and […]

Reading Your Reader

2019-11-18T22:22:13+00:00Tags: , , , , , , , , |

“You need a comma here. Also, what does this sentence mean?”

I know unclear comments are just a part of getting feedback, but I still do a double-take when I see them. What were you, my reader, thinking? Did you mean my sentence is unclear, and adding a comma will make it clear? Or did you […]

Striving for Imperfection

2019-11-18T22:36:49+00:00Tags: , , , |

When I was a young writer, I saw the written word as carefully crafted and immaculate. Writing was the transfer of knowledge from the expert to me. To be a writer, I believed I had to stand behind the lectern of perfection and enlighten my audience with flawless ideas—but such writing always eluded me. I […]

A Tale of Two Sentences

2019-11-20T04:21:20+00:00Tags: , , , , |

Every good thing I have written has two introductions: one for the reader, and one for myself. The former is my objective, but I inevitably begin first drafts with the latter. These rough beginnings clarify my topic and jump-start my thinking. Consider this example from an old first draft:

“Vietnamese politics in the twentieth century were […]

Give a Good Gift

2019-11-20T04:23:25+00:00Tags: , , , |

Recently I came across an article by Stephen Pressfield that reminded me my readers are  “donating [their] time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities.”  I owe it to them to give something valuable, whether that be a well-told story, important information, or a new way of thinking about an old idea.

But giving […]