After being a writer for a few months now, I figured that it’s actually much harder than most people would believe.
Think about it for a moment — when writing, there are several thought processes going on at the same time. Putting down your ideas, watching out for spelling mistakes, formatting the text, etc…
The problem with that is that your brain works better when it focuses on one specific task, rather than doing multiple things at once. Thus, I did some research and found a few strategies, which I combined to create a sequence of 6 stages every article should undergo.
Since this works quite well for my recent few pieces, I’m going to share this strategy with you. Enjoy!
I can’t say this often enough. If you want your article to be a masterpiece, you need a stable foundation from where you can build up. This foundation is your plan. Just like Abraham Lincoln said:
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
This should give you a solid understanding of the ratio between writing and actually thinking about what you can write before you start. It’s all about being effective. You could spend 60 minutes of thinking, writing, thinking, writing…
Or you could effectively use 40 minutes of your time to find out what exactly you want to write about. Collect your ideas, create a general structure, find good transitions to establish a reading flow. The other 20 minutes are there for writing down your thoughts and adding a bit more detail.
Okay, so in the end you will still take 60 minutes, regardless of what method you use, right? Yes, but that’s not the point. The point is that your brain works better when it can focus on one task instead of constantly switching between two.
There’s a lot more to learn about planning, but this would go beyond the scope of this article, so I will refer to a post that covers this topic in much more detail:The Battle Plan for WritingEverything you need to know when writing your articleswritingcooperative.com
Now that you have pinned down the exact topic and keywords you want to write about, you can start with the writing itself. The second phase focuses solely on content! Get rid of thinking about grammar, spelling or appearance. Within this stage you just want to bring all your ideas to the page.
Indeed, this can be a bit tricky and it has to be practiced. It took me a while to be able to shut out every other factor and completely focus on writing. Your main goal here is to establish a writing flow and not get stuck because of any unnecessary distractions such as spelling mistakes. You will edit your post later anyways.
While it’s important to maintain your flow, you still want to keep in mind the general structure of an article.
Introduction — As the name suggests, you want to introduce your reader to the article. This works best by telling a personal story or asking a provocative question. Your goal with this part of the text is to raise your readers interest. If they want to keep reading after the introduction, you did a great job.
Facts /Story— Depending on what you want to achieve with your article (provide facts or tell a story), this part can look rather different. But there is one thing that both of these options have in common. And that is the reading flow. No matter what you’re writing, your reader should always face the urge to read on. This can be achieved by using linking words or raising an interesting question at the end of every section, which will then be answered in the following one.
Conclusion —Don’t underestimate the importance of this part. Here, you can choose the feeling you want to pass on to your readers when they are finished with your article. If you like, provide a short summary of the most valuable facts, but don’t add anything new. After that, finish with a strong statement, or encourage your readers to put your tips into practice.
After this part, most of the work is done. But there are still a few corrections to make, before releasing your craft to the public.
Still, no grammar, no spelling, no place for perfectionism. After you’ve finished writing, I’d recommend leaving your article rest for some time. You don’t have to do it, but I’ve found out that it makes sense to look at the article from a different perspective, which is far easier after you’ve waited for a few hours, or even better a whole day.
Within this stage, you want to read through your article and correct anything content related:
- Do all of my sentences make sense?
- Did I express myself well, so the readers understand what I mean?
- Am I providing correct evidence for my facts?
- Does my article create a reading flow?
These are a few questions you might ask yourself during the revision. After that, you’re mostly done, at least content-wise. Now on to a few corrections you want to make after that.
It’s time to release your inner perfectionist. I don’t really have the time to read through my article several times, only looking for spelling mistakes, so I personally use an online language-tool. But if you have the time and skill to correcty everything by yourself, feel free to do it as you like
Don’t forget to check your title capitalization. There’s also a tool for that, so you don’t have to worry about making any mistakes. That’s it, there’s not much more to this point, so let’s get to the final stages.
By this time, the article should be ready to publish, but since I would never trust myself (and you shouldn’t trust yourself either), someone else should always proofread your pieces.
There might be some sentence that makes sense to you (of course, you’re the one who wrote it), but is hard to understand for others. These are the mistakes you will never discover by yourself, so you need a second opinion. They can also tell you if there is a point in your article where they lost their interest. That’s when you should rewrite this part to maintain a constant reading flow.
That’s it, your masterpiece is ready to be published!
6. Publish and promote
Remember, your article should not be something that is completely forgotten after you press the publish button. Now is the time to promote it as good as you can, so it attracts as many readers as possible. There are a few ways to achieve that:
Facebook groups — I know, this has been said a thousand times and I can’t believe I am telling you too. But believe it or not, it actually works. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t attract thousands of readers by doing that. But you can be certain, that those who stem from Facebook groups will definitely interact with your article. And by that I mean claps, highlights, responses, which is always great for promotion! So I’d recommend trying it, there’s nothing to lose.
Publications — Before you publish, consider submitting your draft to a publication. They might take some time to review your piece and there’s a chance you will get rejected. But if you manage to get published within a publication, your article will be exposed to every follower of this publication. And believe me — that’s a huge boost! So I’d say it’s definitely worth trying.
Many Stories — There’s also a platform called ManyStories, where writers can share their craft with other writers. If you’re lucky, they will even feature your story, which means a lot of people can see it. It’s another great way to gain some additional traffic for your post.
And that’s basically it. But there’s no need to stop here. You can even promote your article multiple times, for example if it didn’t gain traction the first time, consider promoting it a second time on the above mentioned platforms!
Using this strategy has greatly improved the overall quality of my articles and I hope it will do the same for you.
Now that you know how it works, get out there and try it for yourself! Feel free to let me know in the comments if it worked out for you!
I hope you enjoyed the read — Happy Writing!
Hustling University brings you the best curated content from prolific writers.
The blog was featured on Medium by Patrick Krukenfeller
He writes for the Writing Cooperative