I’ve been writing articles for LockerGnome for around two months now and I’m not planning on stopping any time soon. The experience has been amazing and it’s a great way for me to do business, as it were. I had only been writing for about a month or so prior to being invited into the inner sanctum of LockerGnome. In order to help others, I thought that it might be a good idea to share my 10 things to think about when writing articles.
Tell a Story
This is something that I do quite well, apparently. I don’t necessarily go out of my way to tell a story, but I do type it out as if I was talking to a friend. This does make the article a whole lot easier both on my part in writing it and on the part of the reader. I used to write my articles and then record them for the lazy to listen to instead of read. I dubbed these recordings “blogcasts” since they were my blogs as a podcast.
Is There Such a Thing as Being Too Eloquent?
Unfortunately, yes. It is completely possible for you to use far too many big and fancy words that will only confuse your readers and distract them from absorbing what you’re trying to say. I do use big words from time to time, but as I said above, I tend to write like I’m talking to a friend. Some of my friends are smarter than I am and some of them not so much, so I mix and match my wording to suit both. I also like to think that everything you can say by using big words can be expressed just as well without. Keep it simple!
Make Things Easy for Your Readers to Follow
If you make quick successions of sudden topic changes without the reader being notified, then they will quickly become confused as to what point or points you’re trying to get across. I have a habit of suddenly interjecting my thoughts into the proceedings and it’s thanks to our editor that I can do so in the correct form.
Presenting Opinion as Fact
This is something that particularly “grinds my gears.” There are plenty of people who either don’t know what the fact is or deliver opinion as fact. I try to give fact wherever possible, but when the fact isn’t forthcoming, I’ll give my opinion. However, I will always try to make it obvious that the previous statement was my opinion and wasn’t fact. Sometimes the fact is stranger than fiction and it’s not so difficult to believe someone’s opinion as fact if they are making things sound good enough.
Being Too Serious?
This can be your downfall. I know that sometimes you don’t have a choice in the matter, and serious writing is all you can do. I do both silly and serious from time to time because it can be a nice change of pace. I do have to say that even in the most serious environment you can get away with lightening the atmosphere. If you can add a little bit of humor or a clever play on words, it can be all that’s needed. You just have to know how and when. And even at the time of writing, I still don’t know how and when sometimes.
Being Too Frivolous?
Opposite to being too serious, are you making a joke out of everything? A joke and a bit of comedy or a funny play on words is fine, but are you overstepping the mark? Is the message or point you’re trying to get across being lost in a sea of frivolity? It can be difficult to mix a serious point with comedy, and sometimes you don’t have to. If you try to make light of a serious point you will — most of the time (in my experience) — detract too much from the point you’re trying to make and make it almost meaningless.
At LockerGnome we do have a daily deadline. However, it doesn’t matter to me so much because it’s at such a time when I’ve already been up for eight to 12 hours and I’ve gotten my articles for the day finished and waiting for approval. However, it’s a good point. I know there are plenty of people, myself included, who love the challenge of working to a deadline. I also suffer from writer’s block under this kind of pressure and thinking about any other subject in the world seems more important.
Minimum Word Count
There is probably a more eloquent way of wording this. Do you have a minimum word count to work to? I try to keep my articles at, or very close to, 1,000 words. I know there are places that will reject articles that are less than 5,000 words. I don’t mind a moderate word count goal because it gives me enough space to get my thoughts in order and let you see the progression.
Do You Have an Editor?
Fortunately, at LockerGnome, we do. He’s the one who makes the rest of us look good. I am certainly glad that he’s around because I am still not 100% on my grammar and sometimes a whole word will go awry — my version of a typographical error. I have a lot of respect for Fogarty, our editor, and I think that’s something that you should have if you work with an editor. If you don’t have respect or at least an understanding for their role, then things could get heated and it will never end well. In any case, it never hurts to have a second pair of eyes double-checking your work before it gets sent to the outside world.
Does It All Make Sense?
I hope the answer is yes. However, if you don’t have an editor, there are ways to make sure that your writing makes sense. Read through your article two or three times. I would even go as far as putting it through a text-to-speech generator to see if it sounds right. If it doesn’t sound right, then you can rewrite that section. It’s great at picking up errors in spelling or even when words go awry.
Do you have any tips for writing? Let’s read ’em!
CC licensed Flickr photo by Arda Balkan