Do You Know How to Write Right?
For a start, the title of this article isn't grammatically correct, but that's intentional. It's attention grabbing due to the alliteration (repetition of letters or sounds) and it will draw in the grammar pendants that can't resist a poorly constructed sentence. It should be “how to write correctly”, but that's not as exciting, and won't grab anyone's attention.
The article title is very important, but so is the first paragraph (and then the rest of the content). Your audience doesn't have time to spend reading the entire text of an article that doesn't grab them in the first minute or so, and if they're not going to read it, why write it?
The intention of writing is to communicate, but the process of writing is to transcribe, translate and transpose thoughts and ideas into a readable and informative structure. This takes time and patience, as well as a natural flair for writing. Don't worry if writing doesn't come naturally to you, some of the most successful novelists and technical writers can spend hours writing without ever actually getting words onto the page; they're engaged in the mental process of writing long before the words go from brain to hand to paper. There are loads of ways to get the creative juices going, such as picking your favourite book, selecting a first line of a chapter and writing your own version of the story. Exercises such as the ones suggested on Reedsy are excellent starting points for you (and for your kids as an exercise in creativity and language skills) and they might even unlock your inner novelist.
The point is to start with getting some seeds of ideas on the page, and letting them germinate in your head for a day or two. You're not writing an exam answer, so there's no need to rush the job and get it done in an hour; you can afford to spend some time researching and playing with the wording.
If you're feeling ready, and you've flexed your fingers and cracked your knuckles it's time to get down to business. Start your writing process by answering these questions:
- Who is this for? Pitch your piece at the right level for the audience.
- What do they want to know? Are they looking for information, persuasion, or the answer to a problem?
- What do you want them to know? What nuggets of information are you desperate to get out there? What insights can you share that they won't have heard before?
- How much time has your audience got to read this? Decide on a target word count, but be prepared to change it as the article develops.
- Could this content be presented in a different way? Sometimes text isn't the best way to present information (and the answers to the questions above will give you some insight into the answer to this question).
- How do I want people to feel after reading this? Relieved, entertained, purchase-ready, informed, scared? Ensure your choice of language creates the picture you want to paint (with your words).
Once you've written what you think is the finished article (pun fully intended), let it sit for a day or two. Just like a stew, it's always better after the flavours have had time to mingle, and when you come back to it you might want to rearrange those flavours to adjust the taste, either by restructuring, rewording, or a full on re-write.
We hope this has been informative, fun and worth reading, and know you know how to write right, right?
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