10 Ways to Improve Your Article Writing Skills

 

 

 

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed‘.

Ernest Hemingway

 

 

Article writing can be both frustrating and inspirational, challenging and liberating, terrifying and calming.  As well as the dreaded writers block there are those moments of self doubt and terror as you grab your pen or laptop and prepare to lay bare your soul for the scrutiny of your fellow man.

 

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe

Gustave Flaubert

 

To truly move your reader you the writer must also be moved;  to make your audience act you must yourself have taken action and if you want your words to change lives then your life cannot be fixed and unmoving and you have to be free.

 

Article writing of any form is without doubt an art form, a palette upon which, in the right hands the most beautiful images can be formed but like any craft it has to be developed, improved and perfected The pen way well be mightier than the sword but you need to be trained in how to wield it

 

Here then are 10 techniques and hints to help you hone your skills and perfect your Article Writing Skills

 

 

  1. Listen to and gain experience from others

 

John Donne said ‘No man is an island’ and certainly no writer can be an island.  A writer who does not read, travel, talk to his fellow man and be open to constantly new experience is an empty container whose only views are his own.  You need to breathe and take in not only what other writers are saying but what is being said by your fellow man, be this from a novel, a travel article or from that guy that you took the time to speak to and told you a story that changed your life. Being open to new experience allows you to gain perspective, learn from others and gain inspiration for your articles.

 

  1. Expand Your Vocabulary

 

A great writer always tries to weave words beautifully and skillfully without cliché or repetition. Words are the colors on your palette and without them you can never add shade or depth to your article. Use the Fn7 key to check your spelling in Word but don’t just rely on this or a Thesaurus but look at how other writers provide expression and imagery to their work and apply it to your own

 

 

  1. Know Your Readers

 

Before you even started make sure you know your audience and tailor your piece accordingly. Make sure that you are talking their language and using words and images that they will relate to.  if you start putting down overly formal language in a fashion magazine, most probably the women reading your article would probably doze off. If you’re talking to business people and you start writing in a whimsical romantic way, expect your piece to be used to wipe the office table when it gets wet with coffee. If you can work out in advance what will inspire them and what will bore them then you are halfway to engaging them with your article

 

 

  1. Research

 

A good writer knows their facts and gets them straight. When you are writing, you don’t want to invent, misquote or worse plagiarize someone else’s work.  Obviously open Google. Look at the top five results. Scan or read through them and write down the points you think are relevant. Other useful resources are

 

http://www.moreofit.com/

 

Allows you to find sites similar to the one you are looking at – great for comparison and in depth research

 

http://www.dmoz.org/

 

Open source directory by Moz; really useful for laser targeting information on a specific subject and obtaining relevant articles and information on that subject

 

http://www.brainyquote.com/

 

Find quotes on your subject matter which will provide both you and your readers with insights.

 

 

Open up a video on the subject or a poem, check out Wikipedia and then compare what you find with what you already know from your own experiences – the more perspectives you approach the subject from, the greater the perception you will bring to the area

 

 

  1. Create a Working Title

 

This is important as it is basically the vision of your article and it tells you where you are headed. It sums up what your article would be about without having the pressure of actually decided what the content will be. At this stage it does not have to be perfect, it just has to act like the mission statement of your piece.

 

 

  1. Creating an outline can dramatically improve your article writing

 

Set up a Drawing Board, write a list with the areas to be covered or you can try putting together a mind map to direct your thoughts and work out what topics need to be included. This is the time to let out your pent up creative energy and put down all your thoughts then you can decide what to include and exclude in the article.

 

 

  1. Organize Your Outline

 

 

It may all be free flowing at first but you have to put them into something structured and understandable. Then make a FINAL rough draft. It does not have to be totally perfect yet, but it does has to be cohesive. The outline should be organized enough to stop your creative bleed from killing the article whilst still allowing your creative expression to spill out onto the page.

 

 

8.   Read Your Article Out Loud

 

 

Yes, you have to! This allows you to hear how it sounds. Is it hip and sassy? Is it too formal? You need to literally put your voice into that article.  Yes, you may need to adapt to your readers, but you should not try to sound like someone else. Forcing it is like a constipated elephant, it’s not a pretty sight.

 

 

 9.  Why Proofreading is important

 

 

Yes, yes. We are all for spontaneity and all that but you must clean up the article. Give it a sweep. Don’t let it look like your college dorm room when you had that thesis to finish. It’s your bread and butter. Remove the grammatical errors, clean up the spelling. Quite simply, all of your hard work can be undone by a misspelt word or incorrect sentence structure as it will be noticed and will detract from the article as a whole.

 

 

10.  Let It Breathe

 

 

Stop over analysing your articles. Yes your article may need to be cleaned but not disinfected to the point it becomes a blank white sheet of paper. Let your article sit and relax; if you have let it sit for an hour or even a day and you come back to it feeling great then it’s time to submit it, if it still seems a bit bland then spice it up and then let it cook some more

 

 

Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.

Amy Tan

 

 

I hope that you find these 10 tips on how to improve your article writing skills to be helpful. Writing can be incredibly valuable and hopefully this article will help you to create an article to be proud of.

 

It is also possible to earn a good living from creating articles by blogging online, click below to find out how