Over the last five posts, we’ve delved into how to write. Not the mechanics of syntax and grammar and sentence structure – but how to get you writing in the first place.
For those of you who like edited highlights, here is a short summary of each of the articles, so you can get the gist of each in one easily digestible chunk.
I am frequently asked, “How do you write?”. It’s a common question with a complex answer. There’s no rule book for the process of taking ideas and turning them into content, particularly polished prose which suits the search engines and your readers. There’s no easy way to write great articles, but the most important rule is simple: practice makes perfect. 30-day challenges are a great way to get yourself writing every day.
The next thing to consider is what you’re writing about. The best thing to do is to think about your audience and what’s on their mind. Think about how your work will affect them. This is the thing that will attract people to your content and, just as importantly, keep them coming back. Try to start with a leading question which will connect your writing with their situation and how your work can improve their circumstances.
The next step is to actually start writing, but don’t dive straight in and hope you can shape the piece as you go. Instead, let it all hang out, start with simple ideas that come easily to you and don’t get bogged down with the specifics. Ignore spelling and grammar and just write your ideas down in any order they come to you. Try to avoid ordered lists and get creative with it. Collect as many ideas as you can, wait a day or two, then have another crack at it. There’s no such thing as too many ideas when you’re brainstorming.
Now comes the time to bring it all together. Here the important thing is to take all your different ideas and hang them all off a single point which will appeal to your audience. Think about what content would be of the most value to them. Structure the article around this one governing thought. Start the article with a situation, then a complication relating to that. Your governing thought should be a solution to that complication. Now your brainstormed ideas should fit under that. Don’t worry if some don’t fit, save those ones for another article.
Your final step is to actually write the article itself, but even with a great plan, this can still be intimidating. Lots of people get hung up on perfection. In actual fact this is unnecessary. While accuracy is important, perfection is not. Grammar is constantly changing and spell checks will catch the majority of errors. Even if you publish something in error, you can usually amend it on the fly. There are some simple tips and tricks to polish up your work so that the only mistakes left should be minor and forgivable.
That’s it for the ‘How to’ of writing. If you follow this simple process, it’s hard to go far wrong and remember, you can only get better.