- By Andrew Morris
- Published 03/24/2008
- Article Writing
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? Most of us have at one time or another, we will stare at a blank sheet (or screen) begging for inspiration or guidance. Fortunately, you can get past this with a little bit of help and perseverance. If you are right in the middle of the next best seller, the following advice may not be too much help. But for those of writing articles for a living this will be sage advice. First of all, know your subject. Writing about something you know nothing about will not serve you or your client. If you find yourself in unfamiliar writing territory, then begin to explore your surroundings, take a metaphorical flashlight and shine it into the shadows of your assignment. Think about the journalist’s questions: Who What Where When How Why You may have to be a reporter prior to being a writer if you are walking into unfamiliar territory. And while the two often go hand in hand, taking the latter step before the first will cause your article to be weak and ineffective. Know your topic before writing the first word. I think all of us know that a compelling title, one that captures the reader’s attention, will make your article that much better. But it will do even more: it will also help you write better. How so? It’s pretty simple, really. Take the following title as an example: How To Sell More Cars
That is an uninteresting title
, and as I stare at, it makes me wonder what if anything in the accompanying article would cause a salesperson to heed my advice. But with a little twisting and turning, not only can you capture the attention of the reader, but also reach your inner muse and live up to the power of your title: How To Drive Your Competition Into the Dust, Make More Money and Have Your Boss Touting Your Virtues When I read the above, I am compelled to write something living up to my own claims. How exactly can a staff member become salesperson of the month? Should he or she make more phone calls, send out postcards, meet customers on the show floor, offer them a portion of their commission, give a gift certificate, or throw in a free service package? Not only does the title draw the reader in, it also make you a better writer as you seek to answer the question that you yourself have raised. Make your article interesting and fun to look at. Not only does it need to be an informative read, but visually pleasing to the reader. No, the search engines might not care, but we are talking about the end user, or reader of the article. If you write long paragraphs, not only are they difficult to read, the true heart and soul of the article often goes unread. Wait, you might say: I thought it was all about content. Well to a large degree, it is, but if your article looks boring, your reader will not delve in far enough to understand what it is you are writing about.
Make your articles fun, interesting and visually pleasing; you will find your readers and editors enjoying them that much more.