How to Write a Winning Article!
I read a lot of articles and blog posts in the course of a given week. Some good, some mediocre, some not worth reading past the first few sentences, and some that show a lot of promise but need work. And every once in a while, something so outstanding that I text my publisher, "You've got to read this!"
So...how to write an article that will get noticed by editors?
Well, I don't pretend to know everything about it, but I'll share a few tips with you. There are loads of 'method' articles and workshops out there, so I won't go into that. You may like to outline or not, map ideas, or simply start writing. That's up to you, and everyone has their own style. Here are some things to keep in mind as you're finishing up your article or writing a pitch.
I recently wrote 5 Tips for Getting YOUR Article Published! and I hope you'll take a look at that. If you're new to the writing world, definitely invest in some classes, write for free, work on your blog, familiarize yourself with your favorite publications and the types of articles they tend to publish.
So, you've done all that...now what?
Write a great intro or pitch. Make it so that I feel I must read further. That I cannot leave this unread. Write so that the reader is pulled in, even if it's not a topic that would normally interest them. Use humor, if you're able to do that well.
If it's boring to you, it will be boring to your readers. As you read through it, ask yourself if you're going on too long in certain areas or if parts could be completely cut out altogether. A common mistake is writers' unwillingness to cut anything or who seem to want to include every possible piece of data or research.
Walk away from it. Even if you think you're finished with it, walk away, take a break, and have a cup of coffee or sleep on it. Look at the piece one more time with fresh eyes before you hit 'submit.' Do one last proofread and tweak anything that could use a bit of help. Run spellcheck.
Think like a blogger. What do I mean by this? Unless you've been specifically asked to write that way, paragraph after paragraph of unbroken text is (wait for it) bor-ing. Use headers to break it up and make it more readable and interesting. Utilize bullet points and lists where appropriate.
Throw in a single line for effect.
Keep trying! Don't give up in the face of rejection. Keep at it! Hone your craft and do what is necessary to improve your writing. Maybe it's having a set time each day to write. Maybe it's attending a writers' workshop. But don't complicate it. Just sit down and get at it.
Write, write, write.
The more you write, the better you'll get. I promise!