5 Secrets of Article Writing

Article writing can be easy if you let it be that way. Too often, people spend hours staring at a screen, typing the occasional word or two and then hoping for inspiration (which never comes). Unless your work is going to be the subject of a peer review or published in a prestigious journal, treat it for what it really is. A piece of good information that meets the needs of your potential readers. Nothing less, nothing more.

1. Decide on a title or headline

This doesn’t have to be the final title but it needs to be at least good enough for you to be able to frame the rest of the article around.

For instance, this article started out with the title “Secrets of Article Writing”. The final title will include the number of secrets I’ll be revealing. Most likely 5 but it could be anything between 3 and 30 depending on the subject matter and how much or little you want to write about the tips you’re offering.

2. Use bolded sub-headings

Numbered sub-headings like the one above this sentence make it easy to keep track of the quantity of points you’re writing about. That’s why I’ve been lazy in this article – it saves me going back and counting how many tips I’ve used.

They also help the reader stay on track – there’s something about numbered lists that makes most of us want to read every single item in the list, just in case.

But non-numbered sub headings are equally OK.

They break up the look and feel of the article.

3. Keep your sentences short and snappy

Short sentences are easier to read than long ones. If you use any of the reading score options such as the one built into the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin you’ll know that.

They also help to keep your article from wandering all over the place.

And they’re easier to read.

Reading on-screen (which is where most of us read nowadays) is more tiring on our eyes than reading from a book or magazine or newspaper.

Short sentences and short paragraphs help make up for that and mean that even long articles don’t appear as daunting when we first meet them.

4. Keep it interesting

Unless you’re writing a technical manual or a corporate brochure, you need to engage your audience.

Which means keeping your writing interesting.

The easiest way I’ve found to do that is to write as though I was replying to an email or talking to a friend.

Rather than write as though I was taking a high level exam in written English.

You can get away with abbreviations and even slang (I’d stop short of swearing in print but some people do that as well) so long as the words you write make sense.

5. Spell check and proof read

There’s no excuse for incorrect spelling. Just copy and paste your words into a word processor and run the spell check if you don’t spell well and your browser doesn’t offer a spell check.

Proof reading is also worth doing as it saves any of the really obvious glitches that can inadvertently creep into your prose. It doesn’t take long and has saved me from embarrassing errors on more than one occasion.