Join Tom Geller for an in-depth discussion in this video Gathering reference materials, part of Writing Articles.
I talked about the technical tools that will help you write your articles. Now let's move on to reference materials that every writer needs. These exist in both online and paper forms, so you should use whichever you find most convenient. First are the old workhorses: a dictionary, so you can be sure you're using words correctly, and a thesaurus, which gathers together words that have similar meanings. I'll tell you the thesaurus in particular saves me on a daily basis, giving me alternatives when I start using the same word over and over.
Both the dictionary and the thesaurus come built-in on some computers and word processors, and they are available for free on the web as well. The next useful reference tool is a style guide. Strunk & White and the famous AP Style Guide used to be the most popular ones, but nowadays the Chicago Manual of Style is the one that I see used most often. Now, they put out a new edition every few years, so make sure you get the latest one. Also, many publications have their own internal style guides.
If you can get one from your editors, you'll be able to write your article so it'll need less work before getting published. The last thing every writer needs is a collection of tried-and-true research sources, both online and offline. I'll talk more about those in the video on researching your work. But the most important thing about the tools you use is that they become invisible to you, so you can focus on your writing, and the best way to do that, as with so many things in life, is to practice.
So, gather your reference tools early and get to know them well.
In this course, author Tom Geller explores the process of writing articles and publications for businesses large and small. The course begins with a look at the preparation you'll need to do, best ways to find assignments, and smart strategies for determining your article approach. Next, the course dives into techniques you can use to brainstorm angles, research, interview experts, finish a piece, and build your portfolio.
- Adopting technical tools
- Gathering reference materials
- Defining an article
- Finding assignments
- Determining your approach
- Conducting interviews
- Managing revisions
- Following up