Write an article a ... (c) 2002 by Angela Booth ** This article is adapted from my new email ... Writing ToSell In The Internet Age. If you want to get a taste of ... you can s
Write an article a day
Copyright (c) 2002 by Angela Booth
** This article is adapted from my new email workshop, Writing To Sell In The Internet Age. If you want to get a taste of the workshop, you can sign up for the free mini-course based on Writing To Sell In The Internet Age, on the Web site --- http://www.digital-e.biz/
Want to become a better writer? Easy. Just write an article a day.
When you write each and every day, you develop skill. Writing is a skill that demands the easy interaction of various parts of your brain. This interaction isn't developed without practice, nor does the interaction seem to remain viable unless you consistently practice --- unless you write every day.
I imagine writing skills as being like developing communication pathways between different areas in the brain. If you don't practice your writing daily, those pathways disappear, just like untraversed paths through a forest.
===> Please write an article a day for seven days
No instruction I give you about getting ideas for articles, doing research, or how to structure an article will do as much for you as actually writing the things. Consistently. Day after day. For at least seven days.
I promise you, at the end of the seven days you will be a better writer. You've been reading articles in newspapers, magazines and online for years. You know how it's done. Doing it will bring out that hidden knowledge you have and make it consciously usable.
Writing articles is a skill you learn by doing, just as you learned to tie your shoelaces and to walk.
I'd like you to write an article a day, of at least three hundred words. That's just over one page.
Use the BEST formula below to get your articles written.
The BEST formula is an easy way to remember basic article structure. I discovered it in June Duncan Owen's book How To Write And Sell Articles (Penguin Books 1992, ISBN 014 0146 253).
===> The BEST formula for writing articles
BEST is an acronym for ---
B --- Bait
E --- Explanation
S --- Step
T --- Termination
===> The BAIT
The BAIT is also known as the hook. It's an intriguing beginning for your article.
As well as being the beginning of your article, it's also the most important part. It tells the reader why she should care, why she should stop and read the article. It's important because if your reader doesn't like the bait, she's not going to read the rest of the article.
Pick up six different magazines, ones you have at home, or ones you go and buy. Look at the baits, the first couple of paragraphs, in each article in those six magazines. All the baits in the articles will be different.
Don't spend too long writing the bait for an article. I often write the bait after I've finished an article. The only time you need to spend a lot of time on getting your bait exactly right is if you're writing an article for a major market. If you're getting a dollar a word or more, it's worth it to write out ten or twenty forms of bait and pick the best one.
When you're writing your seven articles for the next seven days - -- and forever afterward --- don't be too enraptured or concerned with the bait paragraph or paragraphs. Your bait is important, but not so important that you stall over it, and never get around to writing the article.
The bait can only become a stumbling block if you let it. Get the article written, and then you can worry about individual components like the bait.
===> The Explanation
This part of your article explains the article's subject, or thesis. If you're writing about a computer program, you can explain what the program does in a nutshell, or why the program is important. If you're writing a personality profile, the explanation tells the reader why he should read the profile.
Sometimes you won't need an explanation, it will be covered in the article's headline and the bait.
===> The Step (s)
The Steps are your argument. They can be individual anecdotes, or pieces of evidence. If you're writing about a computer program, the Steps could be various ways of using the program, or how to get started with the program. If you're writing a profile, the Steps could be your subject's career, his family life, the details of his run for office, or the details of how he won the tennis championship, what others say about him, and so on.
I usually write the steps in any order, and then rearrange the order with appropriate transitions as I work through later drafts.
In a short article of 300 words, you won't have space for more than one Step.
===> The Termination
The ending of the article.
In the case of the article about the computer program, it could be how many people have bought the program, when the next version will be available, or where you can buy it.
In your personality profile, the ending could be a final quote from the subject.
A circular ending, when you manage to refer to the bait or the explanation in the ending, is satisfying, and is an easy way to wrap the article up without working too hard.
Although the BAIT formula seems prosaic, it will release your creativity. It gives you a structure, which is always the hardest task in writing an article. So go ahead. Write an article a day for the next seven days. At the end of the seven days, you'll be a better writer.
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