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Sharpening Your Writing Skills to Share Your Story

Carol Blauvelt

As one of the editors for this professional journal, I see many transcripts - some requested, some “over the transom,” some nearly ready for print, others with potential, and some for re- jection. Helping the potential become part of the journal is a most satisfying part of my job. Here are some guidelines for a high potential submission.

1. Have something to say that resonates with readers. The topic should be current, researched not only in recent professional literature but also in the writer’s experience. Generalizations without evidence, too many educational “buzz words,” too few illustrations and examples, and trite summaries of common knowledge do not ring the bell for readers!

2. Organize your thoughts with a clear hypothesis and a logical outline.

3. Include generous support, explanations, anecdotes, and illustrations. Do not, however, lard the article with the fat of so many references to authorities that one cannot discern your analysis. Your own voice and experience need to come through clearly.

4. Choose a tone that is appropriate for a professional journal without being stuffy, officious, or too casual.

5. Connect ideas clearly with transitions that help a reader follow your thought process and argument. Look at sentence order within a paragraph for that same kind of logical clarity.

6. Reread the article (aloud even) for sentence sense and for grammatical correctness.

7. Use the current APA style guide for creating the documentation information. Follow it rigorously. OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue is an excellent online resource.

Virginia Educational Leadership

Vol. 7 No. 1

Spring 2010

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