Informal WritingTo improve your writing fluency and communication skills, it is good to write as much as you can. Keep a journal, start a blog, or find a pen pal.
Email WritingEmail writing is the most common form of writing for most business people. See examples and guidelines in Japanese.
日本語 (prepared by Masako Teranishi, Yuuka Wickstrum, & Masumi Igarashi)Academic essay writing is a key goal of the second-year courses (sample essay), and you will likely need good essay writing skills in English in your academic life. Good writing is process that requires several steps: pre-writing, organizing, writing, and a lot of editing.
Step 1. Pre-writing
There are many strategies for pre-writing (see example):
A. Choosing a good topic: This is a simple, but very important step. Choose a topic that is interesting for you and the audience. Make sure it can be developed to meet the requirements of the assignment.
B. Freewriting: Write as much as you can about the topic. Don't worry about spelling, grammar, or organization just yet. (Later, you will choose the best ideas, organize them, and edit.) At this stage, just try to get all your ideas down.
C. Research: The most effective writing usually includes researched facts and data.
i. You can start by reading Wikipedia (English, Simple English, Japanese), but you should not cite Wikipedia or trust it 100%. If you find useful information on Wikipedia, check the references at the bottom of the article.
ii. Search the web or the library. It may be effective to use Advanced Search on Google so you can search articles of a specific type. Academic articles can be search at Google Scholar.
D. Mapping (see page 1 for an example)
Step 2. Make an outline (see page 2)
Consider the basic structure of an essay (link), and make an outline.Step 3. Write a draft
Start to write the essay referring to your outline.
Step 4. Editing
A. You should read your draft critically again and again to improve it. Take other readers' point of view (including the teacher), and consider if they would be completely satisfied with the essay.
i. Check the content. Is it strong? Are readers going to be convinced or informed?
ii. Check the organization. Does it follow this example (link)?
iii. Check the grammar, spelling, and language use. (Check your grammar online.) Coming soon: common grammar mistakes by Japanese learners.
iv. Check the flow.
a. Try not to repeat words in consecutive sentences. Use synonyms (同義語) or pronouns (代名詞). You may want to use a thesaurus (類語辞典).
b. Use various sentence types, not just simple sentences.
B. Ask classmate or friend to read your essay to give feedback.
Step 5. Write the final draft
Based on your careful editing, write the final essay. Check the formatting. (See the essay on page 4 of this link for an example.)