Do you often find yourself with ideas in your head that you wish you could express to others? You actually can – through writing. Though you may not have experience as a professional writer, you can learn how to write an article by learning the skills to adequately express your thoughts through the written word.
Consider this: writing used to be a form of communication we taught in schools as a matter of necessity. Just 50 years ago, the average student completing a normal course of study would have a fairly strong grasp of writing principles. We do not place as much emphasis on writing today, though we should.
All of that aside, writing an article that actually gets results is not hard once you learn the basic principles. It does take practice, though. Here’s how to write an article that will get you great results:
1. Decide on the Kind of Article
You can choose either your topic or the kind of article you want to write as the first step. I place choosing the kind of article first with the understanding that you might not always sit down to write with a particular topic in mind. As for the kinds of articles you can write, there are lots of choices:
- News (local, national, industry, etc.)
- Informational (explaining a topic from a factual, objective point of view)
- Opinion (more often than not, these are blog posts)
- Feature article (arts, entertainment, sport)
- Product or service review
- Entertainment review (dining, nightlife, etc.)
- How-to guide.
The kind of article you choose to write will determine its structure, tone, and source material. It will also help you determine where to publish the finished piece.
2. Choose a Topic
The next step in how to write an article is to choose a topic. It helps to pick something you are both knowledgeable and passionate about, inasmuch as your interest in the material should lead to higher quality writing. If you do have to write on a topic you don’t necessarily find interesting, it’s still important to put as much effort into good writing is possible.
3. Create an Outline
With the kind of article and your topic decided, you should then create an outline listing all the major points you want to cover. Your outline does not have to be long and complicated. In fact, it could be as short as a few bullet points. The idea here is to work out the basics of what you want to say before you actually start writing.
4. Do Your Research
If your topic requires source material to back up the points you want to make, you will need to do research before you start writing. Be sure to keep track of all your sources so they can be cited somewhere in your article.
5. Create Your First Draft
Now you are ready to create the first draft of your article. Write down everything you want to say in a series of paragraphs that you believe adequately explains and validates your viewpoint. Do your best to create a logical flow of thought from start to finish. When you are done with your first draft, set it down and walk away for at least several hours. You might want to let the article sit overnight.
6. Edit and Revise
The final step in how to write an article is to tighten up what you wrote in your first draft through edits and revisions. In terms of editing, you are looking for incorrect spelling, grammar mistakes, and poor sentence structure and syntax. In terms of revisions, you’re looking to improve the flow of thought and, where necessary, either eliminate superfluous text or further develop inadequately explained thoughts.
At the end of the editing and revision process you should have a finished product ready to publish. If you are still not sure, set the article down and wait a few more hours before returning to it. Then read it one more time and make any other changes necessary to tighten it up.
That’s it. You are ready to publish. If the site or sites you want to publish on request a bio, take a few minutes and create one. Make it short, sweet, and succinct. Just a couple of sentences about yourself is sufficient.