My first post in this series, “What’s Online Writing All About? The First Steps ” tackled the basics of online writing – what goes as well as some how-to’s. In this post, I’d like to talk about what newbies usually find too difficult – writing that very first article.
How to Write Your First Article
Here’s the scenario: You’ve decided to apply as an article writer. The client, sensing your newbiness, asks you for a sample to gauge your skill. He gives you a keyword or key phrase and tells you that you’ll have to write something about it in no less than 300 words. So what do you do? Write that first article, of course. Just how do you do it? Here’s how:
1. Create a title/headline, preferably one that contains the keyword or phrase. Make it attention-grabbing enough to make readers’ eyes pop once they see it. Check out Forty and Copyblogger for great tips.
2.Create an outline. Oh yes, even professional writers still make outlines. Why? Think of it as the skeleton that frames the human body. Miss out on an important part and down, down, goes your skeleton to the floor, breaking into tiny pieces that would consume a lot of time to reassemble.
The outline is the glue that holds the entire article together. It keeps you on track and guides you all the way. So never skip this, even if you’re pressed for time. Believe me, an outline can make you write your articles faster and easier.
3. Write a catchy introduction. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What would you want to see in the intro that would make you stay and read the whole article? Common, be honest! Of course, the article must have something that YOU can profit from; it must have a promise that may solve YOUR problem; or it must be something that YOU’RE interested in. Notice the caps? Yes, the catchiest introductions involve the reader from the very beginning of the article.
3.Fill up the muscles. Oh, maybe it’s in my science degree (I am a B.S. Psychology graduate) that makes me compare article writing to the human body. But in a way, yes, it is. You already have your skeleton, or your outline, so now it’s time to put some muscles to it. Now, muscles need a lot of tissues to make them strong, right? Where do you get tissues for your article? Why, from researching of course. And don’t make a hasty one, if you really want an article that’s factual and valuable.
4. Pssst….STOP editing. You know what makes a writer stare at the monitor for the longest time without a word in sight? It’s editing while writing. Let’s face it – we’re not native English speakers so even the best of us can have some grammatical or spelling errors. Just write the article and edit later. Does the auto correct option in your word processor distract you? You know, the red and green underlines that tell you “Hey, go back, you made a mistake!” Then, ignore it, or better yet, put that option off. Computer Hope can teach you how to do it. Just turn it on when you’re done and ready to edit your work.
5. Show it to the people who matter. Nope, your mom isn’t the best person to show it to, unless she’s a writer too. Show it to a friend or a colleague who has a knack for writing. Much better if you can show it to a professional. These are the people who can critic your work. They can tell you where your article needs beefing up and even edit your work.
Now, that’s how to write your first article. More tips in the next issue. Ciao!