To succeed with articles, you need to write a lot of them. But you don’t want to just produce a good quantity. You need quality. Quality comes from a combination of good research and reworking your writing until it’s clear.
The easiest articles to read are those written like you talk. They can be the easiest to write as well. To combine a smooth flow with good information, you need an action plan that lets you write quickly.
Here’s the method I use most. It assumes you either know your subject well or have compiled good research notes for reference.
6 Steps to Write an Article Fast
1. Write a headline.
2. Write an intro paragraph summarizing the article. This will draw readers into reading the whole piece. It should be what you would tell a friend if they asked what the article is about.
3. Add the key points with bold subtitles. These are the main points from the intro. You may have a few extra subtitles, such as list headings.
4. Fill the information below each subtitle. Again, write like you talk. This is only the first draft, so forget about being perfect. Just write what you want to say. You can add more details later.
5. Write a concluding paragraph. It needs to wrap up the topic or suggest future directions.
6. Now you can turn the article into a final draft by reading through it several times. One pass to check that everything you wanted to say made it in. Another for readability. And a final pass to cut unnecessary words and sentences.
On each pass in step 6, consider improving your headline and the intro paragraph. Both of these are crucial to getting your articles read. The next most important part of the article is the conclusion. A good ending will leave the reader wanting more of your writing.
Jump Start Your Article Creating Process
The six step method works great when you know what you want to write and have already researched it. But what about when you are short on ideas? There are ways to make sure you never run out.
Keep a file of article ideas of one or two lines each. Every time you get an idea for a piece, add it. Ideally, you will have a title and an intro paragraph (steps 1 and 2). If not, so what? Just capture your ideas.
Depending on your knowledge of the topics, either research your article ideas or turn them into outlines and summaries. Put these in a file of articles that have advanced to one page or less.
When you need to do some research for an article, the one page is often a collection of rough notes. The amount of research data you find will reveal whether you have one article to write or several.
When you turn your article ideas into outlines, they may not stay in the one page file for long. Creating the quick rough draft of your article idea will often inspire you to go ahead and finish it.
With practice, neither of these files will have a chance to fill up. When it’s time to write and you don’t have an idea in mind already, you grab an idea from the file. Take it through the process and you have an article. Then on to the next idea.
Multiple Articles Improve Quality
A word of caution. Try to avoid writing the rough draft and doing the reviews all in one sitting. You will miss errors that would be clear if you spent time elsewhere for a while. Working on several articles helps with this. You can track where you are with each article using a note below the heading, such as “1-rough, 2-add, 3-readability, 4-cut”. Wipe out the number and prompt for each pass as it’s completed and the note will be gone when the article is final.
You may not need all the steps here. Take what works for you. Hopefully it puts you on the road to speedier article writing.
Article by Ivan Izo.