Writing an article can be pretty challenging for those who haven’t had much experience. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to the business, but it is an essential skill that you’re going to need if you want to prosper.
Articles come to a dime a dozen, so one average-looking article isn’t going to get you anywhere. What you need to do is make your article go above and beyond your competitors. It’s something your gonna need to learn to do if you’re gonna get somewhere as a blogger or make money as a freelancer.
First and foremost, the most fundamental tip that you can take away from this article is that you need to be reading more articles. The more you read, then the more you learn, then the more you can implement in your writing. When you read those articles, you need to make sure your paying close attention, focus on what they’re doing, and how they’re doing it.
Now, here are some tips to boost article writing skills.
Make it a Clear Concept
Have you ever heard of the elevator pitch?
It’s really simple, all you have to do is explain what you’re writing in a minute or two, the amount of time you’d be in an elevator for. If you have a clear enough concept for your article, and you can explain what it is in that amount of time, it will make the writing process a whole lot easier.
For example, this article I’m writing right now is about giving other article writers tips on how to make their writing better. Keeping the concept simple is going to make your process simple, remember that. Another example would be if you’re writing about OSHA compliance training – keep it on the subject os OSHA compliance and do not stray.
Give It an Outline
Okay, doing a complete 180, what do you do if your concept is a complex one, something not easily explained in a minute? Well, you simply give it an outline. Give yourself a road map on what needs to be done, then just go down the list until you’ve checked all the boxes. Even just a few footnotes would work, a few sticky notes reminding you of the key points needed.
An overly simplified example would again be this article. First, I’m going to write the intro, then I’m going to write all the tips you could need, then I’m going to write the outro, and say goodbye to anyone reading.
Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
This one could be placed in the Make It a Clear Concept section, but it’s important enough to have its little category. When your writing, you need to keep it simple, as I said before, but you need to make sure you don’t try and over-explain and muddle it with trivial details that they don’t need to know.
When I write articles like this one, for instance, I don’t add anything that would be unnecessary. I keep all the facts concise and to the point, that way I can keep the reader’s attention. You wouldn’t want to be reading about what type of font you need, or if you should use double-spaced sentences.
If you’re reviewing your article and you see that you might be doing this a little, then simply read it again, this time try and be a little pickier on what bits of information are important. If it doesn’t cut, simply get rid of it.
Try Not to Overdo the Prepositional Phrases
A prepositional phrase is a phrase that consists of a preposition, its object, and any words that could modify the sentence. That sounds a little complicated, but it’s easier to understand with a few examples.
She went on a walk before it could start raining.
Looking at this sentence, you can probably see where the modification is. Essentially what I did is I added a little more information to the sentence. I could cut that modification off of the sentence and you would still know that the lady is going on a walk, you don’t need to know that it’s about to rain to understand.
Prepositional phrases are great, they make your writing more friendly, making it more like a conversation than just analysis. Though you don’t want to use them too much because after a while they make you’re writing a little bumpier, less elegant, and that’s not good when you want to inform or convince readers. If you notice that you have a prepositional phrase every 20 words, then that might be a sign that you should cut some of them out.
Also, a little friendly note, you can recognize prepositional phrases as they usually begin with to, about, at, before, of, after, by, behind, when, in, over, etc.
Pick a Time
I work best when I have a coffee in hand birds singing as the sun comes up. I give myself a little quiet time, a little solidarity to collect my thoughts and put my focus on the work that needs to get done.
It would be a big help to you as well if you found that perfect time for work. Get yourself in that right mindset and your gonna have a lot less trouble, you’ll be able to get that checklist done before twelve, if that’s when your work best that is.
Keep Your Wording Simple
I feel like I’m getting a little repetitive with how much I’m talking about simplicity, but you need to know. Your words, as you know, are the main ingredient to an article, and your gonna want to put in the best words you have so that readers like them.
What writers don’t usually know though; is what words they should be using. To put it bluntly, you need to keep your word choices simple.
There are three types of words, as John Grisham describes words we know, words we should know, and words that nobody knows. You need to keep the majority of your words in that first category, and you can sprinkle in some of the seconds. Do not use that third option, if you use words that nobody knows, then how are they going to understand it? A good way to steer clear of that third one is this; if you have to look up what a word means, then you probably shouldn’t use it.
Tim walked rapidly to the office; he was supposed to meet Jim on the eighty-fifth floor, to talk about that new shareholder.
Cut out those unnecessary and complicated words to make it clear and your message will come off loud and clear.
Normally people don’t just happen to be an expert on a topic, it takes time and effort to know any one subject, and as such, they need to research and study. The same thing applies to writing articles, you’re not going to know absolutely everything to write what you want effectively.
Of course, some are actual experts in their field and can write completely from scratch, but that is pretty rare when it comes to the average blog. So, you’re going to need to study up and get all the details necessary.
For example, let’s say you’re a theme park blogger, and you go to a particular theme park every weekend. You know the place like the back of your hand, and you can write about it for hours, night and day, to anyone who might ask, but you don’t have a clue on what that theme park has planned for its brand-new ride.
So, you have to keep going to the theme park, to get regular updates on what’s going on, so you can tell your readers about it. There are no two ways about it, you have to keep going to get the most relevant information.
You need to research your topic no matter what, to find new information, or to double-check that what you have is correct. If you write something incorrect, your readers will call you out on It, and you could lose credibility. So do your homework.
Contractions, contractions are a lot of fun and your readers will enjoy them a lot more than the professor voice that you’re using. People want to have a conversation, they don’t want to be lectured, so write as you would normally speak to a stranger.
A man that was named John did not have sufficient funds to purchase a new model of car.
John didn’t have enough money to buy a new car.
You can probably see the difference between the two, your readers definitely will. There’s more fun and simplicity in the second sentence than there is in the first. Writers use contractions to make their writing more conversational and simpler, so it’s something that your gonna want to use in your writing.
Speak Out loud
You’ve studied your topic, you wrote the article, and now it’s time to review it and scrutinize it with your newfound knowledge on writing.
Before you go into a deep dive review of your article, you should read it to yourself, out loud. This isn’t a part of the editing or rewriting of your article, this is an analysis of your article. You need to find out what’s wrong with your writing and the way you do it is by speaking out loud.
Once you hear your words outright, you can hear if anything is wrong with them. You can hear if something is too clunky, or if you’re using too many contractions, or if your word choices aren’t working well, etc. You’ll know if something is wrong with it if you take the time to read it.
Once you get through reading it out loud a few times, and you’ve found the problems, it’ll be a lot easier for you to edit them.
Review at The Right Time
This is something that I do all the time, I start trying to edit my articles as I’m writing them. It’s a habit that I’ve had for years, and I’ve tried to kick it for a long time, but to no avail, I still do it even now. I’m warning you now that this is something that you don’t want to pick up, it is a massive waste of time.
As your writing, you’ll want to try and fix every little mistake as you go along, thinking that it would be faster if you just did it now, and then be done with it by the time you finish. You could not be more wrong. You’re going to be caught up in all the little details, and the word choices, and everything and it will take you forever to even actually finish the darn thing.
What you need to do is wait till your done with your article, I know it’s tempting to start editing early, but your gonna have to.
You can sort imagining it like a cake. You’re not going to take it out of the oven halfway through it baking, try it, then expect it to be done perfectly. You’re just going to have to wait until it’s done, then you can put the icing on, sprinkles, etc. Or you might just need to throw the entire cake out if you think that’s the best choice.
In the intro to this particular page, I mentioned that you need to be reading articles a lot more to imitate their way of writing. That is very important, and you need to keep it in mind, but you must not let it get in the way of actual practice.
You need to be getting up out of bed every day, sitting down, and writing your articles. You need to find your voice in your writing, the way you talk, the way you form your sentences, and the only way to do that are to write a lot.
If you put all of these tips into practice, then you’ll find improvement in your writing very soon. Just remember to keep a tight schedule, make it a regular thing that you do every day because the more practice you have means the more experience.