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Basic Principles of Writing an Article

Oct 23, 2007
The hardest part of writing is the first sentence. When you look at the whole project, it seems like an impossible task. That's why you have to break it down into manageable tasks. Think of it as running a marathon. Many who set out to run a marathon hope to finish. That's why they start in the first place they have a goal in mind. What is your goal in writing an article?

You have an idea of what the finished product is going to be but you're not sure how to go about putting it all together. It seems like such a hard thing to do especially if you don't feel overly confident about writing. Well, just like the marathon, you have to take it one step at a time.

The first thing you have to do, as if you actually were a marathon runner, is to get organized.
Instead of running gear, however, you must organize your thoughts. There are some steps you should take before you begin writing an article. Once you've gone through the following list, you will be ready to actually begin writing.

Beginning Steps to Writing an article.

First, figure out your article's working title. Jot down a few different titles, and eventually, you'll find that one that will grow on you. Titles help you to focus your writing on your topic; they guide you in anticipating and answering your reader's queries. Many non-fiction books also have subtitles.

Break your articles up into smaller chunks with subtitles. Readers like to scan an article to see if it pertains to what they are interested in. Aim for clarity in your titles and use subtitles that pertain to the specific paragraph.

What is Your Thesis?

Next, write out a thesis statement. Your thesis is a sentence or two stating exactly what problem you are addressing and how your article will solve that problem. All paragraphs spring forth from your thesis statement. Once you've got your thesis statement fine-tuned, you've built your foundation. This foundation is what will help keep you on track.

When you're writing an article you need to use the same process as writing a book, ebook or anything elese. Keeping your thesis in mind will keep you focused while you write. Remember: all paragraphs must support your thesis statement. If they don't, they don't belong in your article.

For example, your thesis statement could read: We've all experienced insomnia at times in our lives, but there are twenty proven techniques and methods to help you overcome insomnia.
Once you have your thesis, before you start to write, make sure there is a good reason for writing your artilce. Ask yourself some questions.

Does your article present useful information and is that information currently relevant?
Will your article positively affect the lives of your readers?
Is your article dynamic and will it keep the reader's attention?
Does you article answer questions that are meaningful and significant?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you can feel confident about the effectiveness of your article. Next, make a list of the reasons you are writing your article.

Do you want to promote your business?
Do you want to bring quality traffic to your website?
Do you want to enhance your reputation?

Then write down your goals in terms of publishing.

Do you want to add it to other articles and put together a short ebook to sell as a product on your website.
Do you want to offer it as a free gift for filling out a survey or for ordering a product?
Do you want to create an e-course, or use your ebook to attract affiliates around the world?

The more you know upfront, the easier the actual writing will be.

If you're putting together an ebook then you need to decide on the format of your chapters. In non-fiction, keep the format from chapter to chapter fairly consistent. Perhaps you plan to use an introduction to your chapter topic, and then divide it into four subhead topics. Or you may plan to divide it into five parts, each one beginning with a relevant anecdote.

Write with a casual, conversational tone rather than a formal tone such as textbook diction. Reader's respond to the feeling that you are having a conversation with them. Break up the length and structure of your sentences so you don't bore your readers to sleep. Sentences that are all the same length and structure tend to keep your readers more alert.

Good writing takes a lot of practice. Make a schedule to write a little everyday. Read books and magazines about the process of writing, and jot down tips that jump out at you. The art of writing is a lifetime process; the more you write (and read), the better your writing will become. The better your writing becomes, the bigger your sales figures.

Make use of lists, both bulleted and numbered. This makes your information easy to absorb, and gives the reader a mental break from dissecting your paragraphs one after the other.
Finally, decide on an easy-to-read design. Find a font that's easy on the eyes, and stick to that font family.

Using dozens of fonts will only tire your readers out before they've gotten past your introduction. Use text that is large enough to be read easily on the screen, but small enough so that the whole page can be seen on a computer screen. You will have to experiment with this to find the right combination.

Of course, don't forget to run a spell and grammar check. You are judged by something as minor as correct punctuation, so don't mess up a great artticle by tossing out semicolons randomly, or stringing sentences together with commas.

These are the basic guidelines to writing an article. You can use these same basic principles to writing a book, newsletter, blog or any other type or writing. Once you get started you will find that writing will become easier as time goes on. Before you know it you will have enough articles on your topic to put a book together.
About the Author
J. Ron Beauchamps is a Writer, Online Business Entreprenuer and has a website that offers free tool and resources to other online entreprenuers. Visit my site at Marketing resources
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