How to Write Good Articles.
Writing articles takes very little talent but it does require a lot of hard work. It isn’t always fun but reading your finished article is where the pleasure comes in. It takes sitting down at the keyboard and putting down one word after another, changing words and paragraphs and often starting all over. When time is limited you never have enough time to write about all the subjects that strike your interest but do write as much as possible.
When you consider writing, don’t think about that article you just read that was such enjoyable reading. No, think about that writer sitting down at the keyboard and putting down one word after another. For the last year I have watched a road being reworked and new lanes put in in front of our apartment. To begin with it was a mess. Holes everywhere and lanes closed off but as it comes together, I can see it will be a beautiful piece of work. It’s the same way with writing. You build it up little by little. Then strike out paragraphs and do it all again. Very little talent is involved. It’s the hard work that counts.
Some people ask, where do you get your ideas? That’s an easy one. Most writers have many more ideas than they have time to write. You get them from daily living, reading, TV, friends, nature and everything you see and hear. You read novels, current events, newspapers, memoirs, the best writers living or dead and you get a life and talk to people. Some writers keep journals or take notes, that way they can explore the content of their own mind. The very fact of putting words on paper often leads to interesting ideas that would otherwise be lost.
Shake off your regular routine. Take a different route home. Go to the library and pull a few books off the shelves and thumb through them. Take a walk and strike up a conversation with someone. Sit down at the keyboard and write anything that comes in your head as fast as you can. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or accuracy. When something interesting emerges go with it. Ideas don’t come from a vacuum. They originate in the world we live in.
The perfect first line is a myth. Don’t waste time trying to come up with the perfect first line. It’s true that it sometimes happens but it’s more likely that you will throw away the first paragraph anyway. As you write and get your material in order you will think of a first line. Use your own voice. Don’t use words that are not familiar to you. Your work will sound stilted and not quiet right.
Writing is only organized thinking. Your article takes shape as you write the words that serve as building blocks. Writing requires concentrating on the matter at hand, your choice of words and the like. You can’t let your mind wander off In all directions. It’s all too easy to lose sight of the forest while pursuing the trees.
Think it all through very carefully, WHAT you are going to say and HOW you are going to say it.
I believe the essence of writing a good interesting article is simplicity, but with a touch (or could it be “tinge” of the unusual).
Always aim for clarity and simplicity in your writing.
How long should your article be?
In writing for newspapers or popular magazines the length is probably around 500-750 words (or one to 2 pages).
I would far rather read a 1000 word article giving information that would help me, than a breezy 3000 word article of waffle that doesn’t say much at all.
Always try to put yourself in the position of the reader.
After completion, re-read your article a number of times.
Polish it up by changing words and expressions.
Ensure that your article reads quickly and easily.
Otherwise if an article is too long the reader can easily lose concentration and give up.
Examine your sentences and paragraphs carefully to ensure that the words flow smoothly.
A paragraph should deal with one idea, developed in one or more sentences that logically advances the points you are trying to make, add meaning or develop the story you are telling (the plot).
Always try to make your meaning clear.
Ensure that your sentences are well structured and that your grammar is correct.
The first words of your article are of vital importance to grab your reader’s attention.
You are doing a “selling” job to entice them to read more – so make the reader want to read more.
Develop your theme logically. Carefully plan what you are going to say.
Make a list of your main points.
Then progress from one to another (logically), so that they lead to a conclusion.
“…and that is why I think the resource management act is good for the local environment.”
“and that is why I believe all accountants and actuaries should be set in concrete and used as traffic bollards”
Oops sorry accountants and actuaries!
Do you know what an actuary is?
An accountant who didn’t have the personality!
An Example Of An Article
Eg: You are writing about the growing popularity of home computers.
Identify 4 or 5 main points:
* who is buying them
* how they are being used
* implications for the future.
In a short article each of these points will be a paragraph.
In a longer article, the points will be developed.
Arrange your points logically.
You can include sub-points under each main point.
In the example on computers you may include:
* word processing
* computer games
* school work.
There are three main parts of any article.
Your article should have an introduction.
This introduces the reader to the subject.
Then the main body of the article which comprises most of an article.
This then leads logically to a final deduction or conclusion.
This is essentially a summary of all the main points mentioned before.
I believe the key to writing good articles lies in good PLANNING.
Collecting your material and thinking clearly.
Spend a quiet time thinking before you even set pen to paper.
Ask for inspiration.
Your article should answer the five questions of a very inquisitive person:
I’ve just remembered I used to drive my dad “Dilly” with those questions when I was a kid.
“Inquisitive little bugger!”
As I mentioned, the title and your first words are of vital importance to grab your reader’s attention.
Make them want to read more.
Develop your theme step by step – it’s like building a wall brick by brick.
Plan what you are going to say, and how you are going to say it.
Make a list of your main points.
Then elaborate on them.
Progress logically, naturally and smoothly from one to another, so that they lead to a conclusion.
I’m repeating myself, not out of senility… but for effect.
Also saves me the trouble of even more editing!
Have a strong summary to round off your article.
If you know exactly how you are going to end off , the more easily you will shape the article as a whole.
It’s like starting off with a piece of clay then moulding and shaping it.
You are adding your personal touch, a bit of your personality, your individual thoughts and creativity to the sculpture of life.
It is a little bit of the real you coming out – a little of you and your unique “work of art” is being expressed to the world.
Not one of my strong points, but here are a few points to help you…hopefully!
# Present your work on A4 size paper.*
# Type on one side of the page only.
# Use “double space” between lines.
# Leave a margin of at least 1 inch (25cm) each side, top and bottom.
# Have a Title Page with the name of the writer on it. Makes you feel quite proud of your Little effort!
# Use a Header with the Title, Your Name and Page No.
Much easier writing for the www and being published on the net. No chopping down trees, so the “greenish” must be very happy.
I firmly believe writing articles should be entertaining as well as informative. I aim for that in my writing STYLE.
Don’t be too impersonal – put in little anecdotes about yourself.
Also don’t be afraid to express personal opinions on issues.
(I must learn to keep quiet at times!)
So why not start writing that article.
You may even see that article published.
Seeing my first article in print gave me a big thrill.
Now use your creative imagination to the fullest and happy writing. Perhaps I may even see your name in print.
Good luck and happy writing.
As the ancient Chinese proverb said so wisely…
The journey of a thousand miles begins with …
a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.
This is how you can write a good and wonderful articles
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