Join Tom Geller for an in-depth discussion in this video Preparing to write articles, part of Writing Articles.
Certain attitudes and behaviors will be a big help as you're writing articles. Let's go over some ways to speed up the writing process and help you produce better results. First, something you might find encouraging: grammar, spelling, and punctuation, aren't that important. These are things that editors can and will fix. Your attention is better spent on matters that only you can take care of. Most importantly, you need a motivation to write. Maybe that motivation comes when someone assigns you an article, but you might write for other reasons as well.
Maybe you want to become known as an expert in your field, or you want to promote a cause that you believe in. Whatever the reason, be clear about it from the beginning and let it drive you to the article's completion. Second, you need a topic. and the more focused the better. The topic is a bridge between you and the reader. It has to be something that engages both of you. I found that when I have a topic that's clear and compelling, the writing just becomes much easier. Once you have settled that, you will need to define the article's structure.
Now, some of this will come from the assignment. A feature article is a different structure from a review for example. But there's always room for your own personal architecture within those constraints. When you set up the structure ahead of time, writing becomes almost as easy as filling out a form. Last of all, and most important, you need a storyteller's touch, because every article tells a story. Even a simple how-to article leads the reader from ignorance to enlightenment through a certain path. If one step of the path doesn't follow the next, readers can get bored or lost.
The storyteller's touch is expressed in sentences that are clear, direct, and well phrased. This is actually where good grammar and spelling make a difference. If mistakes make readers aware of the language rather than the point, they will trip from one step to the next. Overall, the point is to approach the assignment so you're focused on things that lead to a compelling article. As an editor, I would much rather get a piece that's well prepared than one it's merely spelled and punctuated right. So have your motivation, topic, structure, and story in place before you write.
Knowing them in your heart will give you confidence, and it will keep you in touch with what's really important in your article.
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