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10 Great Essay Writing Tips
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.
Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable
You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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What Are the Top Article Writing Topics?
Are you looking for the best article writing topics? See below for the top 10 article writing topics to engage your audience and bring your blog to life!
It can be difficult to generate new ideas and topics when creating content. You may be a blog writer, run your own social media account, or are interested in digital marketing. Whatever your niche, these top 10 article topics will give you the creative spark you need to write your next great article.
1. Personal and Lifestyle
2. top must-read books, 3. local news and events , 4. current events, 5. “have you ever … ” article, 6. educational experiences, 7. mental health and well-being, 8. content marketing, 9. trending topics , 10. how-to articles, faqs about article writing topics.
If you are looking for your next article topic, consider writing about a personal experience or lifestyle topic. When dealing with writer’s block, one of the quickest ways to overcome it is by looking at your past or current events. Consider using your personal experiences to write an article.
You may think that your life is boring, but you have had numerous experiences that other people will find interesting. Some of the ideas you may want to use include:
- Vacations and holiday experiences
- Sports activities
- Musical activities
- Funny anecdotes from day-to-day interactions with friends and family
- Cooking and meal plans
- Any travels you might have been on
- Funny shows and concerns you might have attended
You might be surprised by how many people are interested in things that have happened in your life.
Another great article idea is to create a list of your favorite books. You can even use this idea to start a fun series if you are a blogger. For example, you may want to break up different books into different categories.
- Create a list of your favorite mystery books. For example, you might want to include an Agatha Christie novel in this list, such as And Then There Were None .
- Create a list of your favorite horror novels. For example, you might want to include It by Stephen King in this list.
- Create a list of your favorite works of historical fiction. For example, you might want to include The Killer Angels , by Michael Shaara, in this list.
- Create a list of your favorite fantasy novels. For example, you might want to include the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling.
Bookworms love to read, so include relevant information and recommendations in your article! Your readers will be avid book readers and will want to find new and interesting books to read.
If you are writing for a local audience, you may want to create a roundup of the top upcoming events in your area. By writing about current events, you will drive more traffic to your website and can also promote fun upcoming activities in your local community.
Some of the events you may want to write about include:
- Local musical concerts or comedy shows
- Fun sports events involving high school, college, or professional teams
- Local events at the dog park
- Events put on by local breweries
- Discounts and deals at local retail stores
- Special events at local restaurants
You can expand this to include bigger events that might be happening. For example, if there is a popular sporting event, a popular band coming to town, or a significant celebration occurring, you can write about this in your article.
When in doubt, look at current events. There is always something happening in the world that you can write about, and you can probably tie this to your audience’s interests. For example, you might have seen a recent news story about geopolitics. Even if you do not consider yourself an expert in this area, you may want to summarize the article for your readers.
Or, if there was a recent scientific study published, you may want to talk about this if it is relevant to your audience. For example, you might find a scientific study on global warming, a new medication, or something happening in space.
Not all of your articles on current events have to be serious. For example, you may want to write a news article on the Oscars or Grammy Awards if it is the right time of year. You can even talk about what is happening in celebrity news if you think your audience is interested.
Perhaps you are looking for a way to engage with your audience. You may want to write a “have you ever” article to do this. The idea behind this article is relatively straightforward. First, you will write an article about something you have done. Then, you’ll ask your audience to respond or comment on the article about similar things they have (or have not) done.
A few ideas for this article include:
- Have you ever traveled outside of the country?
- Have you ever gotten into a fight with one of your siblings?
- Have you ever had one of your friends call you in the middle of the night to pick them up from the bar?
- Have you ever been caught cheating on a test?
- Have you ever gotten locked out of your house?
- Have you ever had your credit card stolen?
- Have you ever thrown up while drinking too much?
- Have you ever missed a flight at the airport?
This is a great way to encourage your audience to share some of their experiences with you. You might even find that one of their experiences could serve as the foundation of a future article.
Everyone goes to school growing up, but everyone has a slightly different experience, so your experience in high school is probably different from your readers’ experiences.
Because every education system is different, consider pulling out some of the unique experiences you had in school growing up. Then, see if your readers are willing to share theirs. You might find that you can use some of their experiences to create a future article.
You may even want to consider starting a series. For example, you may write one article on elementary school, one on middle school, and one on high school. A few topics include:
- Who was your best friend in elementary school, and what did you do?
- What type of trouble did you get into in middle school?
- What were your most challenging classes in high school, and how did you deal with them?
- How did you decide where to go to college?
Ask your readers for comments. They might have some good ideas you can use.
Mental health is one of the most important issues facing today’s healthcare system. Just about everyone has thought about their mental health at some point. This topic could serve as a launchpad for your next article.
There are plenty of directions you can take this. Some of the ideas for articles you can write regarding mental health include:
- Most important signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions.
- Mental health struggles and how you overcame them
- Tips for taking care of your mental health
- Common stressors and how to process them
- Top music for dealing with stress
- Who to talk to for mental health issues
- When to seek the care of a mental health professional
- How to talk about mental health issues with loved ones
Everyone struggles with their mental health from time to time, and by writing an article on mental health, you bring up important topics. You can break down barriers that make it easier for your audience to talk about their mental health with people close to them.
If you are writing articles for content marketing purposes, consider creating a piece of writing that specifically talks about content marketing.
For example, you may want to write an article on the different types of content marketing. For example, some people might create infographics, while others might create videos. You can even write an article about how to start a podcast, as this is a form of content marketing that is growing quickly in popularity.
You could even write an article that talks about search engine optimization. This is usually shortened to SEO, and there is a good chance that you use SEO tools to help you improve the ranking of your articles. This could be a great idea for an article topic.
If you want your article to gain some traction, you can look at trending topics on various social media platforms. For example, you may want to go to Twitter to see what is currently trending.
Writing about trending topics is a great idea because it could help your article rank better. If a topic is trending, this is a sign that it is very popular and will result in lots of interest and views for your article.
Before you start writing, think about what your audience is interested in. Then, take a look at the training topics to see any overlap. This is a great way to find a topic for your next article.
Everyone likes to learn new skills, so consider beginning a series of how-to articles. Consider your audience, and see what they might be interested in.
You may want to start a series of how-to articles that focuses on plumbing. A few possible ideas include:
- How to stop a faucet from dripping
- How to fix a leaking shower
- How to change the temperature on the water heater
- How to increase the water pressure in the kitchen sink
- How to unclog a drain without damaging the pipes
- How to prevent items from getting stuck in the sink
You can also go to social media to see the most popular technology devices. Then, consider writing a few how-to articles that show people how to use these devices. A few ideas include:
- How to jailbreak an app to remove ads
- How to create a strong password on your phone
- How to increase the internet speed on your computer
- How to find the MAC address on a computer, Roku, or Chromecast
- How to set up a Google home
- How to change your cookie settings on a website
- How to pull the Internet history from the router in your home
If you have an audience that is interested in handyman activities, a few possible topics include:
- How to easily start a push lawn mower
- How to remove weeds without harming your back
- How to cut planks of wood safely
- How to sharpen knives in the kitchen
- How to reset the circuit breaker in the home
- How to change a flat tire on your car
- How to change the oil on your car
- How to install shelves in your home evenly
- How to hang pictures evenly
There is a never-ending list of topics you can use. Once you post your articles, collect feedback from your audience to see what they like and what they don’t like. You can use this as a source of inspiration for future articles.
What do I need to do if I want to generate more ideas for my articles?
It would be best to think about what is interesting to you and what your audience might be interested in. Consider drawing from your life experiences, the local news, or some trending topics on social media platforms. You can also survey the topics your readers want to see in your next blog post.
How can I improve my article writing skills?
The easiest way to improve your article writing skills is by practice. Explore different niches and subjects. Write for a variety of clients and editors. Seek feedback from readers as well as those paying you to write articles. Then, use this information to figure out what to improve at.
If you are interested in learning more, check out these essay writing topics !
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How to Write Article Summaries, Reviews & Critiques
Writing an article summary.
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When writing a summary, the goal is to compose a concise and objective overview of the original article. The summary should focus only on the article's main ideas and important details that support those ideas.
Guidelines for summarizing an article:
- State the main ideas.
- Identify the most important details that support the main ideas.
- Summarize in your own words.
- Do not copy phrases or sentences unless they are being used as direct quotations.
- Express the underlying meaning of the article, but do not critique or analyze.
- The summary should be about one third the length of the original article.
Your summary should include:
- Give an overview of the article, including the title and the name of the author.
- Provide a thesis statement that states the main idea of the article.
- Use the body paragraphs to explain the supporting ideas of your thesis statement.
- One-paragraph summary - one sentence per supporting detail, providing 1-2 examples for each.
- Multi-paragraph summary - one paragraph per supporting detail, providing 2-3 examples for each.
- Start each paragraph with a topic sentence.
- Use transitional words and phrases to connect ideas.
- Summarize your thesis statement and the underlying meaning of the article.
Adapted from "Guidelines for Using In-Text Citations in a Summary (or Research Paper)" by Christine Bauer-Ramazani, 2020
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How to Write a Summary - Guide & Examples (from Scribbr.com)
Writing a Summary (from The University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center)
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How to Write Articles
Last Updated: February 4, 2023 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Janet Peischel . Janet Peischel is a Writer and Digital Media Expert and the Owner of Top of Mind Marketing. With more than 15 years of consulting experience, she develops content strategies and builds online brands for her clients. Prior to consulting, Janet spent over 15 years in the marketing industry, in positions such as the Vice President of Marketing Communications for the Bank of America. Janet holds a BA and MA from the University of Washington. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 26 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 3,220,445 times.
There are a multitude of different types of articles, including news stories, features, profiles, instructional articles, and so on. While each has specific qualities that are unique to its type, all articles share some common characteristics. From forming and researching your idea to writing and editing your work, writing articles can give you a chance to share compelling and important information with readers.
Forming Your Idea
- News: This type of article presents facts about something that happened recently or that will happen in the near future. It usually covers the 5 Ws and H: who, what, where, when, why and how.
- Feature: This type of article presents information in a more creative, descriptive way than a straight news article. It can be an article about a person, a phenomenon, a place, or other subject.
- Editorial: This article presents a writer’s opinions on a topic or debate. It is intended to persuade the reader to think a certain way about a topic.  X Research source
- How-to: This article gives clear instructions and information about how to accomplish some task.
- Profile: This article presents information about a person, using information that the writer typically gathers through interviews and background research.
- What interests you about this topic?
- What is a point that people usually overlook?
- What do you want people to know about this topic?
- For example, if you want to write about organic farming, you might say to yourself, “I think it’s important to know what organic labeling means on food packages. It can be confusing to know what it all means.”
- Your goal is to convey enough passion that your readers think the issue in your article is worth caring about.
- Enter some keywords into an online search engine. This can lead you to sources that write about your topic. These sources can also give you an idea of different approaches to the topic.
- Read as much as you can on the topic. Visit your local library. Consult books, magazine articles, published interviews, and online features as well as news sources, blogs, and databases for information. A good place to start looking for data not apparent on the Internet is the Gale Directory of Databases, which exists in both book format (available in libraries) or online .
- For example, for the organic food topic, you might focus on one grocery shopper who doesn’t understand organic food labeling. Use that opening anecdote to lead into your main argument, known as a "nut graph," which summarizes your unique idea or perspective.
- For example, if you are writing about how one person learns how to read organic labels, your overall argument might be that the public needs to be aware that many companies misuse organic labeling. This leads to dishonest practices in product advertising. Another topic might be: it’s important to know who owns your local media outlets. If corporate media organizations own your local newspaper, you may get very little media coverage of your area and not know much about your community.
- Write your argument in one sentence. Post it near your computer or writing area. This will help you stay focused as you start working on your article.
Researching Your Idea
- Primary sources can include a transcript from a legislative hearing, lawsuit filing, county property indexes with folio numbers, discharge certificates from the military, and photos. Other primary sources could include government written records in the National Archives or special collections sections of your local or university library, insurance policies, corporate financial reports, or personal background reports.
- Secondary sources comprise published databases, books, abstracts, articles in English and other languages, bibliographies, dissertations, and reference books.
- You can find information on the internet or in a library. You can also conduct interviews, watch documentaries, or consult other sources.
- You can make a longer list of evidence and examples. As you gather more evidence, you will be able to prioritize which ones are the strongest examples.
- Don’t assume that one source is completely accurate. You'll need several unrelated sources to get the full picture.
- Choose a citation style sooner rather than later, so you can compile citation information in the correct format. MLA, APA, and Chicago are some of the most common citation styles.
- Don’t copy any text directly from another source. Paraphrase this text instead, and include a citation .
Outlining Your Idea
- For example, if you are writing an article for a specialized academic audience, your tone, and approach will be vastly different from if you’re writing an article for a popular magazine.
- It’s helpful to start with the five-paragraph essay outline.  X Research source This outline devotes one paragraph to an introduction, three paragraphs for supporting evidence, and one paragraph for a conclusion. As you start plugging in information into your outline, you may find that this structure doesn’t suit your article so well.
- You might also find that this structure doesn’t suit certain types of articles. For example, if you’re doing a profile of a person, your article may follow a different format.
- Make sure to fully attribute your quote and use quotation marks around anything that you didn’t write yourself. For example, you might write: A spokesperson for the dairy brand Milktoast says, “Our milk is labeled organic because our cows are only fed organic grass.”
- Don’t overdo the quotes. Be selective about the quotes you do use. If you use too many quotes, your reader might think you’re using them as filler instead of coming up with your material.
Writing Your Article
- Telling an anecdote.
- Using a quote from an interview subject.
- Starting with a statistic.
- Starting with straight facts of the story.
- Be flexible, however. Sometimes when you write, the flow makes sense in a way that is different from your outline. Be ready to change the direction of your piece if it seems to read better that way.
- For example, you might write about the grocery shopper having trouble with organic food labels: “Charlie concentrated on jars of peanut butter on the shelf. The words ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ seemed to jump out at him. Every jar said something different. He felt they were shouting at him: ‘Choose me!’ ‘Buy me!’ The words started swimming in front of his eyes. He left the aisle without buying anything.”
- For example, use words or phrases such as “however…,” “another important point is…,” or “it must be remembered that…”
- For example, a newspaper article will need to offer information in a narrative, chronological format. It should be written with accessible and straightforward language. An academic article will be written with more formal language. A how-to article might be written in more informal language.
- When writing your article, use a strong "anchoring" sentence at the beginning of each paragraph to move your reader forward. Moreover, vary the length of your sentences, both short and long. If you find all your sentences are about the same word length, chances are your reader will be 'lulled" into a standard rhythm and fall asleep. Sentences which are consistently choppy and short may give your reader the impression you are writing advertising copy instead of a well-thought-out article.
- If you started with an anecdote or statistic in your introduction, think about reconnecting to this point in your conclusion.
- Conclusions are often strongest when they use a last, brief, concrete example that leads the reader to new insights. Conclusions should be 'forward-thinking' -- point the reader in a direction that keeps his or her "thirst" for knowledge going strong.
- For example, you could include photographs, charts, or infographics to illustrate some of your points.
- You could also highlight or develop a major point more with a sidebar-type box. This is an extra bit of writing that delves more deeply into one aspect of the subject. For example, if you’re writing about your city’s film festival, you might include a sidebar write-up that highlights one of the films. These types of write-ups are usually short (50-75 words, depending on the publication outlet).
- Remember, these materials are supplemental. This means that your article should stand on its own. Your writing needs to be understandable, clear and focused without the help of charts, photographs or other graphics.
Finalizing Your Work
- Look closely at the central argument or point you’re trying to make. Does everything in your article serve this central argument? Do you have a unrelated paragraph? If so, this paragraph should be eliminated or reframed so that it supports the main argument.
- Eliminate any contradictory information in the article or address the contradictions, showing how the contradictory information is relevant to readers.
- Rewrite sections or the entire thing as necessary. Revisions like this are common for all types of articles, so don’t feel like you’ve failed or are incompetent.
- It’s helpful to print out a hard copy of your article. Go through it with a pen or pencil to catch mistakes. Then go back and correct these mistakes on the computer.
- It is common to be able to identify your mistakes in grammar or writing while reading aloud as well; this could cut down on the feedback that you may receive from someone else.
- This person may also catch errors and inconsistencies that you have overlooked.
- If you want to convey slightly more information, write a sub-headline. This is a secondary sentence that builds on the headline.
Article Outline Template
- Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to write the article. If you don't, you'll be rushing at the last minute to create something that isn't representative of what you can truly do. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
- To find out more about using primary research tools and databases, consult the Investigative Reporters and Editors website or get a copy of The Investigative Reporter's Handbook: A Guide to Documents, Databases and Techniques, Fifth Edition. Authors: Brant Houston and Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. (New York: Bedford/St. Martin's 2009). ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Determine whether you actually have an interest in writing. Try writing 2 paragraphs with as much creativity as possible. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
- When writing for a newspaper or magazine, do not do so free. Ask what the freelance fee is beforehand. Your pay will usually be calculated on a per-word basis or per-article basis. Your work is valuable. Writing for free makes making a living more difficult for those who depend on freelance fees to pay the bills. If you're just starting out, volunteering to do some articles for smaller community papers, student publications and trade magazines is a great way to build your portfolio. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/journalism/types.html
- ↑ Janet Peischel. Digital Media Expert. Expert Interview. 30 March 2021.
- ↑ https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/writing/creating-a-5-paragraph-essay-outline.html
- ↑ https://www.masterclass.com/articles/why-is-context-important-in-writing#quiz-0
- ↑ http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/166662
About This Article
To write an article, use both primary and secondary sources to gather information about your topic. Primary sources include photos, government records, and personal interviews, while secondary sources include books, abstracts, scholarly journals, other articles, and reference books. When you’re writing, use facts, quotes, and statistics from your sources to support your point, and explain your topic as if the reader has never heard of it before. To learn the different types of articles, including news, features, and editorials, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Feb 1, 2020
How to Write Articles That Sell: A Beginner’s Guide to Freelance Writing
Everything you need to write content editors want to buy, the secret of good article writing.
Anyone with a basic grasp of grammar and syntax can write an article. But, as I soon learned when I started out , if you want to make a living, you must learn how to write articles that sell. As a new freelance writer, you’ll generate most of your income by writing articles published in print or online.
Magazines, newspapers, commercial blogs, and informational websites are always hungry for fresh, original content. Even when writing white papers, business-to-business communications, email campaigns, advertising, marketing copy, reports, guidelines or handbooks, the article structure is always your starting point.
The secret to good article writing is to understand how to plan and structure a piece before you write it. A well-structured article allows you to use your writing skills to best advantage and communicate your ideas correctly, concisely, clearly, coherently, and completely. The key to good structure is good planning.
Each article you write should include:
- an appropriate title
- an opening paragraph
- the main discussion
- a closing paragraph
Let’s look at each element in more detail.
Crafting a good article title
New writers often overlook how important titles are. But you must craft a title that’s informative and enticing. It’s the first thing an editor reads. Make sure it’s not the last. A good title communicates at a glance what your article is about, the target readership, and the questions the article promises to answer.
Take the title of this article as an example.
“How to Write Articles” tells you it’s an instructional piece about article writing. “That Sell” informs you it’s aimed at writers who want to make money. “A Beginner’s Guide” lets you know the target audience are new or aspiring writers rather than seasoned hacks, and “to Freelance Writing” defines the niche. The question the title promises to answer is, “How can I write an article an editor is likely to buy?”
How to write a title for an online article
I wrote this article for publication online. That means most readers will discover it via a search engine. So the title structure includes popular search terms known as “keywords”. The keywords in this article title are:
- how to write
- how to write articles
- write articles that sell
Choosing keywords people type into search engines is essential if you want readers to find your article online. If you’re writing for the web, your title should include at least one keyword. But you must incorporate the keyword or keyword phrase in a way which seems natural. While it’s important to make your title easy for search engines to discover, you must remember your readers aren’t search algorithms but people.
Unless requested by the editor, you should avoid “click bait” titles. Editors associate them with spam, sensationalism, and dishonesty. Typical click bait titles are things like, “She Didn’t Know Anyone Was Watching… Until This Happened” and “10 Things Children Do When Their Parents Aren’t Looking. Number 7 Will Shock You”. You still see click bait titles, but they are falling out of fashion. Aim for something better.
In summary, a good title for an online article should include:
- a search-friendly keyword or keyword phrase
- the subject the article covers
- the target readership
- a question it promises to answer
How to write a title for print publication
Treat the title for a print article in a different way. There’s no need to use keywords as the reader either subscribes to the publication or picks it up at a newsstand. It’s unnecessary to mention the readership because the branding, cover design, and editorial style already target someone who buys a newspaper or magazine. But you still need your title to show something of the article’s content and raise questions in the reader’s mind.
While online titles must be unambiguous and search-friendly, you can be more creative with titles for print publication. Above all, magazine headlines must be eye-catching. Puns, ambiguity, allusion, and humor can all work.
Imagine your article is for a gardening magazine and your subject winter-flowering border plants. “5 Easy to Grow Plants that Flower in Winter” would be a good online title. But for a print magazine you could try, “Add Warmth this Winter with Naked Ladies”. As keen gardeners know, “Naked Lady” is the common name for Amaryllis belladonna , a popular plant which flowers late Fall. Without the constraint of keywords you can have more fun. While many editors still like a title to illustrate the article’s content, in print it’s often more important for a headline to pique curiosity than to inform.
Take time crafting titles. Always study your market, or the publisher’s guidelines, and conform to the editor’s preferred style. One last word about titles: prepare for editors to rewrite or replace them. It happens. The final decision on headlines is the editor’s prerogative. But whether your title finds its way into print or not, learning to craft a good title is the first step in understanding how to write articles that sell.
How to write a strong opening paragraph
If your title has done its job, the editor will read on. The first paragraph is the most important part of your article, and the first sentence is the most important part of the opening paragraph. The first paragraph has a lot of work to do. It should:
- hook the reader’s attention
- apply to the title’s promise
- arouse curiosity
- lead in to the rest of the article
If the opening is illogical, dull, or irrelevant you’ll lose the editor’s interest. It won’t matter how good the rest of the article is because the editor won’t read it. Keep your sentences short. Be clear, coherent, and concise. The editor shouldn’t have to work out what you want to say. You should say it. The most common reason for a form rejection is a weak opening. If you want to learn how to write articles that sell, make sure you invest time and talent in crafting your opening paragraph.
How to write the main body of an article
When you write the main body of your article, use the same style as you did for your opening paragraph. In a short piece the body may contain as few as three paragraphs. In a long-from article you might write dozens. But in every case the logical flow of ideas from one paragraph to the next must be seamless.
Each paragraph should have a central idea. Explain the idea and support it with facts. Vary the lengths of paragraphs to manage the pace of your article. The main body should be coherent, with each idea building on the one before it, starting with the attention-grabbing opener and progressing to a satisfying conclusion.
Tailor the length of an article to the demands of the market for which it’s written. If your article falls short of the required word count, don’t pad it with superfluous waffle. Go back to your research and find more facts to add to the piece.
If you find you have more information than you can fit to the article’s length, don’t cram it in at the expense of clarity and coherence. Select the essential facts to support your argument and cut the rest. You can always use the information in another article.
It’s hard for new writers to sell opinion pieces. I recommend you stick to factual articles at the outset. If you want to learn how to write articles that sell, remember the market for information is bigger than the market for opinions. It’s also easier to plan a well-structured factual article than an opinion piece.
In summary, the main body should include:
- a series of paragraphs in logical sequence
- a central idea in each paragraph
- supporting facts and information
How to write a good closing paragraph or conclusion
A good closing paragraph is often short. While researching and writing your article, focus on what you are trying to say and say it fully and clearly. Don’t introduce new information in the closing paragraph. If you’ve done your job well, there should be little left to say when you reach your conclusion.
Three of the most common styles of closing paragraph are:
- a concise summary of the article
- asking the reader a question
- answering the article question
If you write a summary conclusion, keep it short and sweet. Three sentences should be plenty. You should answer the question your article raised in its opening paragraph by the time you reach the end. But it’s effective to close with a new question which follows from what has gone before. This technique works well online to encourage lively discussion in the comments. If the main body of your article has laid out a logical argument but not yet answered the question raised, the closing paragraph is the place to answer it.
What to do after you’ve written your article
When your article is complete, you’ll be eager to submit it. Don’t. It’s probable that despite all your hard work the article is not yet in a saleable condition. Learning how to write articles that sell involves learning to revise.
Put your article to one side and work on something else. Leave it for several days before rereading it. Then read it three times.
Check the facts
The first time check all your facts are correct. It’s risky to rely on memory. If your article includes quotations from another work, proper nouns and dates, verify your facts using multiple sources. If an editor buys an article and finds it’s misleading or inaccurate, you’ll never sell another article to that publication. And remember, editors talk to each other. It’s in everybody’s interests you make sure you get your facts straight.
Rewrite your article
Read your article a second time. Use red ink or the delete key and cut out every unnecessary word or phrase. Rephrase sentences to make them shorter and clearer. Remove clichés. Be as unforgiving and critical as you dare.
Proofread your article
In the third pass, proofread your article, which means checking spelling and grammar for errors. I recommend printing a copy of your article or changing the font in your word processor before proofreading. It’s easy to miss errors in a text you wrote yourself. Changing its appearance helps you see it with fresh eyes. Sub-editors will correct remaining issues, but it’s not their first responsibility. To make a successful career as a freelance writer, take pride in your work and make it the best you can.
Now put your article aside once more. The following day give it one more pass to make sure it’s in keeping with the publisher’s guidelines, reads well, is logical, clear, and complete. You might like to copy the following checklist.
Article pre-submission check list
Does your article include:.
- An appropriate title?
- A strong opening paragraph?
- A logical and complete main body?
- A concise closing paragraph?
- A central idea in each paragraph?
- Supporting facts and information?
- Facts checked for accuracy?
- Correct spelling and grammar?
Finally, submit your work for publication
Read the submission guidelines for your publication and follow them. If there’s anything you don’t understand, contact the editor and ask for clarification.
Most publications today expect electronic submissions. Follow the editor’s requirements for layout, font, and font size. Editors may ask you to attach documents or paste articles into the body of an email. Check attachments are in an acceptable format such as .doc, .docx, .rtf, or PDF. Some publications use online submissions portals. In that case, go to the portal, sign up, and follow the instructions.
If you must make a postal submission, print your work on good quality white paper in black ink with inch-wide margins. Make sure your name and contact details appear on your cover letter and the first page of your article, along with the title, your name, and a word count. Print a new copy for each submission you make. Nothing is more off-putting to an editor than to receive a dog-eared copy which has done the rounds.
Keep your cover letter brief, polite, and to the point. Address the editor by name. The editor will decide whether to buy your article on its own merits and has no interest in your biography unless it’s pertinent to the article’s content. If your article is about swarthy pirates and you are a swarthy pirate, you should say so. Otherwise, omit personal details. Likewise, when submitting an article, there’s no advantage in mentioning previous publication credits.
A good cover letter is as simple as this:
Dear [Editor’s name]
Please consider the [enclosed/attached] [word count] word article, [Title] for publication in [Name of publication].
Thank you for your kind consideration. I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
What to do when you’ve submitted your article
The final aspect of learning how to write articles that sell is to understand the need for productivity. The more articles you write and submit, the greater your chances of making a sale.
So when you’ve sent an article off, don’t sit around waiting for a reply. Make a note of the submission details in your records, forget about it , and set to work on the next piece.
You may be wondering how to find markets keen to buy your work. To keep up a steady flow of saleable articles, you need to know how to do effective market research. If you’d like to learn everything you need to do just that, read this next:
The Complete Guide to Market Research for Freelance Writers
Step-by-step research techniques to 10x your article sales.
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Your membership fee directly supports Austin Hackney and other writers you read. You’ll also get full, unlimited access to every story on Medium including feature articles locked behind the paywall. Sounds good? Join us!
Interesting fact: I wrote the first draft of this article in about 20 minutes using my ‘1k Every Day’ technique. It helps writers generate an endless stream of ideas and outlines for articles and stories. No catch, no sign-up, no fee, no up-sell. Just a simple explanation of a powerful technique. It’s all explained here .
‘1k Every Day’ slogan © Austin Hackney (2022)
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66 Ideas You Can Write About
Let me guess:
You’re a prolific creator and can write over a thousand words a day easily.
Since you’ve to write regularly, you tend to run out of interesting topics to write about.
Alternatively, you write at leisure, but seriously want to complete the novel you recently started writing.
However, you face a lot of resistance in typing those first few words, in every writing session.
The fundamental problem in both scenarios is that you feel rusty.
You might have even tried a few writing prompts and writing exercises but to no avail.
Don’t you worry, mi amigo, I’ve got you.
Whether you’re writing blogs , fiction, essays, or creating content for any other platform, I’ve got you covered. In this article, you’ll learn tips, strategies, and a few tools to spark ideas for writing. I have even shared some random topics to write about.
Note: This article contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase anything using my link, then I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you). I only recommend products that I personally find valuable and enjoy. I appreciate your support!
You can directly get started with writing on these subjects or pick one of the below as an exercise to get your juices flowing. Let’s start with a few specific writing prompts and interesting ideas.
Creative Blocks Are Frustrating…
Do you want to practice writing every day, but inspiration is hard to come by? Presenting a printable with 365 writing prompts and cards: one for each day of the year. They are yours for $9+! Now You’ll Always Know What To Write About >>
Sixty Six Interesting Ideas To Write About…
If you’re feeling stuck or just want to type stuff, here are sixty-six subjects that you can write on. I’ve organized the prompts and topics into four sections, so pick the one that you like the most and crush the writer’s block.
15 Personal Topics You Can Write About
How about some self-reflection? Often, going back to yourself can flex those writing muscles. Here are a few subjects you can write about and gain perspective on your life.
1. How have the top failures in your life shaped you?
2. What are the little known hangout places in your hometown?
3. What does writing mean to you?
4. How has your education shaped your thinking?
5. Describe the last time you got super embarrassed.
6. Write a letter to your five-year-old self.
7. You’re stuck in an elevator with the high school teacher you hated the most. What will you tell her?
8. Act as your father and write a letter to yourself.
9. Describe your first encounter with politics.
( How long can you talk about politics ? )
10. Recall the first fight you had in your childhood. Now, write an apology to the person you fought with.
11. Assume you’re wrong about the way you think the world functions. Now find as much evidence as possible to prove it.
12. What are the top things people know about you that aren’t true?
13. What’s your favorite drink?
14. The world is coming to an end in a week. What are the three things you would like to do?
15. What are your top three needs without which you can’t function normally every day and why?
16 Fun And Weird Writing Ideas
If you’re searching for things to write about when you’re bored, then this section will provide the necessary ingredients. Let’s get started with the first fun writing prompt.
1. Is it the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?
2. How do dogs help humanity?
(Want a hint ?)
3. Flesh out the ideal life that you would like to experience.
4. Why is fast food healthy?
5. Imagine you haven’t slept for a week. Describe how you’re feeling right now.
6. Which animal would you have been born as?
7. What’s your least favorite social media platform and why?
8. Is there a pop culture fad that you hate? Throw some light on your hate and contemplate why people are so fond of it.
9. Parody your favorite song.
10. What are the most boring ways to cure boredom?
11. What are the dumbest ways to stay dumb?
12. How do you define food ? Mention the top characteristics that are essential in every meal you have.
13. Your best friend is crying because they have put on weight (and weigh 195 pounds now). What would you tell them?
14. What are some weird things to eat with coffee?
15. Do people need more juice or wine?
As per Ross :
16. You live in Gotham and the Joker wants to meet you for coffee. Write a script for a five-minute conversation with him.
10 Writing Prompts About The World
In this section, let’s look at a few prompts about worldly problems with a creative twist.
1. What’s a talent that the world is better without and why?
2. If you become Iron Man for a day, then what would you do?
3. What’s the most irritating sound in the world?
4. How can the minorities in your locality feel secure and at home?
5. Does society need to be more materialistic?
6. How does the role of a male and female differ in your culture?
7. How have memes shaped our culture?
( Can you clear Shakespeare’s doubt ? )
8. Why do riots happen?
9. When will the world be able to function without bureaucrats?
10. What role does sugar play in our everyday life?
25 Things To Write About, For Your Business Blog
If you want to create content for your business website, then this section shares a few proven subjects that generally get loved by readers.
1. Write the story of how you put together your business and the learnings from running it so far.
2. What’s the most loved article on your website? Write a followup to it.
Five years ago, business consultant Mark Schaefer wrote a post titled “content shock” that went insanely viral. Since then, he has covered the subject multiple times on his blog, the latest being last year.
3. Summarize your favorite book and share any of its learnings that you use.
4. Share a list of the books that you’ve recently read and found valuable.
5. Answer the most frequently asked question by your audience regarding a specific aspect of your business.
River Pools answered a pertinent question of their prospects “How Much Does a Fiberglass Pool Cost” on their blog. It ended up generating over 2 million dollars worth of sales for the company.
6. Write a beginner’s guide on your reader’s glaring pain point. You can also expand it into an “ultimate guide”, just like the article you’re reading.
7. Create a listicle of your favorite business tools that you can’t live without.
8. Prepare a questionnaire that shares your top business challenges. Now invite a fellow content creator/entrepreneur in your network for an interview on your website.
9. Write down your top five productivity hacks that you use every day.
10. Compile a list of the top conferences and events in your industry that your readers might find useful.
11. Write a “how-to” article that teaches your readers a pertinent subject in your industry. It could mean a breakdown of a recipe, installing WordPress and starting a website, or getting a style makeover.
12. Take your readers behind the scenes of how you run your business every day.
Buffer has baked transparency in its company culture. They share honest accounts of their success, failures, and everything else on their open blog. It even includes their founder’s story of getting burnt out and taking a 6-week break to recharge.
13. Look at the top content of your competitors and let that spark fresh ideas.
14. Round up the top myths in your industry in a piece and share the correct beliefs that people should know about.
15. Review your most used product and share actionable ways that a new user can leverage it.
16. Are there any popularly accepted opinions in your industry that you strongly disagree with? If so, write a counterpoint article with stats, examples, and anecdotes from your experience.
17. You can always find new angles on popular subjects in your industry.
Animalz offers content marketing services to SaaS companies . So they run a blog on content marketing, a topic that’s been covered to death on the web. They still manage to breathe fresh air into old subjects. Just look at the intriguing titles of their content marketing guides below:
18. What are the ethical dilemmas you’ve encountered while running your business and how did you tackle them?
19. Write a post about the causes you support and why you care about them.
20. Roundup your favorite podcasts/blog posts from the last year with the top takeaways for your readers.
21. Suppose your business wants to create a web show that your audience will love and launch it on YouTube. Write down a one-page introduction to its screenplay.
22. Write an article showing the top features of the products you sell. Marketers call this “bottom of the funnel” content and it could be quite effective at generating new business.
For example, Ahrefs CMO Tim Suolo covered thirteen things that only their digital product could do in a post.
23. Invite your top users to share how they find your product valuable. You can consider creating a case study from their experiences.
24. Write down answers to the frequently asked questions regarding your product and business.
25. Conduct a business experiment and share its updates regularly. It allows your readers to connect with your brand.
GrooveHQ started their blog by sharing the “real story” depicting the struggles and challenges of running a small business. Their personal tales resonated deeply with their audience and led to the quick growth of their blog.
Here’s a snippet of their revenue progress bar that they shared live on their blog in the early days of their business:
While these ideas are great jumping-off points, I want to empower you to come up with new subjects on your own. In the next section, you’ll learn five effective ways to do the same.
Confused What To Write About? Here Are Eight Simple Strategies…
Whether you’re stuck with writing a blog post, article, or story, here are eight strategies to discover and come up with interesting subjects to write about.
1. Scan The Headlines Of Bestselling Books And Popular Articles
A great place to spark fresh ideas is exploring the work of other writers. Indeed simply scanning the headlines can help jumpstart your writing. Here are a few platforms you can try:
1. Scan The Amazon Bestsellers List
Amazon remains a popular place for shoppers to buy books. Their bestsellers list is updated every hour with the ranks based on what’s selling well.
As an author, you can look at the eclectic mix of both nonfiction and fiction titles. I recommend you begin exploring the books by their department in the sidebar on the left.
Here are the best sellers in romance. Note how in the left sidebar you can granularly explore subsections. Right off the bat, you’ve six titles you can use as a writing prompt.
I could write a short fantasy story on #3: “Where the forest meets the stars.”
How about you?
2. Plug Your Favorite Website Inside Social Animal
You can also scan the headlines of the most shared articles on social media from a website of your liking. Start by plugging the website inside Social Animal and the tool will return the most popular pages from the past one year.
For example, below are the most shared articles from longreads.com in the last year:
If you’re creating content for your business, you can consider plugging a competitor’s website inside the tool. Once you’ve got a few relevant subjects, come with newer angles, and cover the same subject.
Suppose I find that “meditation techniques for working professionals” is a popular subject among my readers. Now I’ll write on “standing and walking meditation techniques for working professionals.” It’s a novel subject that isn’t covered extensively and it’s relevant for the busy working class.
See how it’s done?
2. Keep A Notebook (Or Evernote)
If you’re a creator, ideation is a critical part of your work. But your creative juices might not always flow at your will. Ideas can arise even while you’re driving, doing dishes, bathing, or attending to some other tedious task. At such moments, noting these ideas can be a hassle and you might not have a notebook and pen.
Evernote , one of the best note taking apps out there, offers a better bet. It works on all the common platforms — iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and on your browser. And it offers two handy ways to organize the items you choose to save: tags and notebooks. They both have their utility, but choosing a notebook for every item is necessary.
Here’s a glance at my notebooks and a few tags:
With its mobile apps, you can store even your wildest of ideas in Evernote (even when you’re on the subway!) and go back to them when you feel uninspired. And it’s not merely plain webpages — you can also save photos, videos, and voice clips in one of its Notebooks.
I also use the Evernote Chrome extension to clip articles I find interesting. The software automatically chooses a Notebook for all the pages you save, though its categorization can be faulty. I can add my commentary to each saved item and refer to them later for inspiration. Taking screenshots of web pages and annotating them through Skitch is also possible.
If you’ve enabled the Evernote extension on your browser, then on performing a Google search an Evernote tab appears in the top right corner. It shows notes related (that you saved in Evernote earlier) to the subject you’re researching. Occasionally these notes result in the addition of an example or a resource to an article I’m working on.
The Evernote Premium version syncs across multiple devices and offers a generous 10 GB storage. But you can get started with its free version that offers a capacity of 60 MB (which is pretty decent for storing your notes’ archives) and syncs two devices.
Whether you write nonfiction or fiction, an outline will lay a strong foundation for you. If you haven’t created one, then do it now so that you know the structure of your writing project and the direction it needs to go in.
The other scenario is that you’ve hit a wall because you can’t seem to expand on your current outline. In fiction, it might indicate indecision on which way your story should jump. Whereas if you’re writing a blog post, it might mean you created a shorter outline.
In either case, it makes sense to get back to your outline and redo it with some research as well as brainstorming. Limit the re outlining session to about 10 minutes so that you power through quickly.
4. Solve The Pertinent Problems Of Your Readers
If you’re a nonfiction writer serving an existing readership, then one of your main goals is to solve the problems of your readers. Here are a few tools to find the top questions that they are asking:
The question-and-answer-platform gets hoards of curious visitors. You can directly search for a subject you’re writing about to find the top questions people are asking on it.
Suppose I’m writing an article on “Yoga vs. Gym.” On performing a search, here are a few questions I found people asking. I already have three important aspects of the subject (marked in red) that I should address in my article.
2. Answer The Public
How about a tool that aggregates all the top questions that your audience is asking on a keyword and represents them visually? “Answer The Public does that by collating all the data users are typing inside Google & Bing. Here are the top questions returned for “yoga vs. gym”:
3. Survey Your Readers
Who can tell you more about their problems, motivations, and emotions than your readers themselves? So if you have an existing email list, reach out to your readers directly and ask them about the top subjects they would like you to tackle on your site.
Indeed it’s a good idea to take feedback from your readers regularly. So, like Jorden from Creative Revolt, consider asking questions and interacting with your subscribers at the end of your email in a postscript.
If you prefer staying organized, then you can use a tool like Survey Monkey to conduct a survey smoothly and generate insights.
Don’t have an email list, but an existing audience on Twitter, Slack, or other social media? Then you can conduct a poll on these platforms asking people what they struggle with the most and you can lend a hand with your blog post.
Here’s a poll copywriter André Spiteri conducted on Twitter that led him to his article’s subject on “nailing blog post introductions.”
5. Focus On Narrower Topics
When I first pitched my ideas to my editor at Foundr magazine, she gave me a piece of advice that is helpful for finding newer writing subjects when you’re stuck. She suggested attacking “more focused topics” instead of broad subjects:
Owing to the intense content marketing competition , most broad subjects have already been covered to death. It’s difficult to bring anything new to the table. However, you can get granular and hone in on a specific detail.
Instead of creating an article on “how to start writing your book”, you can attack a narrower subject like “how to write the first chapter for your novel.”
If you’re creating content for your blog, you might be afraid of narrowing the coverage of your subjects because a focused subject will have reduced readership. However, your writing will resonate deeply with those few readers and they might share it with their friends.
6. Read News And Explore What’s Trending
Is Twitter buzzing with a virus outbreak that’s slowed economies across the world? Maybe people are talking about a movie release that’s happening later this week.
The trends can serve as standalone writing subjects if your audience would like your analysis of them. However, it isn’t essential to newsjacking such events. You can also pick up ideas and anecdotes from these emerging events and integrate them into your writing.
So the next time you’re stuck and want an interesting idea, try reading the news .
Beyond the dedicated “trending” hashtags on Twitter and media publications, you can also use Google Trends . Try the Google Search Trend reports from the last couple of years. It’s even broken down into convenient sub-categories. Here’s a snapshot of the 2019 report.
Do these events, searches, actors, and athletes spark hot ideas for an article (or maybe give direction to an existing piece)?
6. Research Keywords With Ubersuggest
While we’re on the subject of the problems your audience is facing, how about some good old keyword research with quantitative data?
While most tools on the market are paid and limited, Ubersuggest offers substantial data for free.
I plugged our example query “yoga vs. gym” in Ubersuggest. Here’s data related to this query, and a few related keywords that people are typing in Google with their approximate monthly search volume:
Not only do you get ideas that can be covered in your article (like practicing yoga and gymming on alternative days), but you should also use these exact keywords inside your article.
- It’s a great way to make your readers feel included by writing in their language.
- It helps Google’s algorithm understand the subject you’re writing about in more detail.
If you scroll down, Ubersuggest also shows the most shared articles on your subject from around the web.
The tool is a goldmine for bloggers and content creators to find data-backed content ideas that are proven to work.
7. Let The Music Play!
Do you know that happy music can facilitate divergent thinking (a method used for generating creative ideas)?
Indeed in my method acting training, we were taught using music as a tool to feel a requisite emotion for a scene before performing.
So open your digital jukebox and let yourself relax. Listening to your favorite music could even uplift your mood and inspire you to come up with new ideas.
Begin experimenting with various mood playlists on Spotify to evoke unique ambiances ( here are thirteen you can try). You can also explore YouTube music and its curated mood-based playlists.
If you find that a certain genre of music helps you quiet your racing thoughts and internal chatter, then let that kind of music play.
8. The (Not So) Secret Strategy For Battling “I Don’t Know What To Write About…”
Alright now let’s get the prolific and successful writers out of the closet.
- How do they get SO MANY brilliant ideas for writing?
- How can they not get nervous, afraid, and frustrated to create every day?
- It’s not any of the above seven strategies. There’s a secret recipe they must follow, huh?
I’m sorry to break it to you, but they don’t have a secret. They have fears like us. They run out of ideas. They battle imposter’s syndrome and hit writer’s block. However, they push through self-doubt and the fear of failure, which are major reasons we get stuck in creative work.
Let me share an example:
“Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert felt terrified while writing a followup to her blockbuster international bestseller. She even started thinking of dumping the project. However, she found a way to change her relationship with her work.
In her TED Talk, ‘Your elusive creative genius’, she shares a psychological construct that can liberate creatives like us from the results of our works:
Let me quickly show you the two main things that are relevant to us. The first aspect was the idea of what should count as ‘genius’:
“…the Romans did not actually think that a genius was a particularly clever individual. They believed that a genius was this, sort of magical divine entity, who was believed to literally live in the walls of an artist’s studio, kind of like Dobby the house-elf, and who would come out and sort of invisibly assist the artist with their work and would shape the outcome of that work.”
The second aspect clarifies how you the above concept takes the pressure off you:
“…if your work was brilliant, you couldn’t take all the credit for it, everybody knew that you had this disembodied genius who had helped you. If your work bombed, not entirely your fault, you know? Everyone knew your genius was kind of lame.”
Ultimately getting new ideas boils down to stop judging your creative process. Gilbert found her way by going back to ancient Rome and ancient Greece. You just need to find yours.
Now You’ve Got Cool Things To Write, Huh?
As you know, all stories worth telling have already been told. Most interesting topics have already been written about. However, that shouldn’t forbid you to write on these subjects in your unique voice, spicing it up with your life experiences and your creativity.
I have shown you how to find things to write about with actionable tips and tools. And even shared some random things to write about.
Hopefully, the article gets your creative juices flowing, and leaves you with something to write about.
8 thoughts on “66 Ideas You Can Write About”
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How about section of the prompts for fantasy?
Thanks for the idea, Gary. Let me work on that 🙂
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Here are some hacks that I believe will help to get started writing: 1) Be physically comfortable. 2) Write the draft even if it is horrible. 3) Do not worry about the results. 4) Talk to other writers. 5) Write something that’s been in your mind recently.
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What Is Article Writing? Your Guide to Writing Winning Articles
An article is a piece of instructive, persuasive, or explanatory content that is typically non-fiction. The demand for article writers is stronger than ever. News and specialty publications need good articles, but so do businesses.
Article writing is increasingly an essential component of the content marketing strategy for small to enterprise-level businesses, therefore, they all need writers.
A quality piece of writing not only gets noticed by search engines but also helps build a relationship with potential customers or keep current customers engaged and informed.
In this article, you will learn the article writing format for a winning article and how you can get paid to write. This blog includes:
- What Is Article Writing and Its Types?
The Article Writing Format
How should an article be written, how can i start writing articles, freelance or employment, every industry needs article writers, grow your article writing with a focused niche, how do i know it’s a good niche, where to find work as an article writer, resources for article writers, the rich world of article writing, what is article writing and the four types.
An article is an effective format to package and deliver information to a larger audience. Depending on its purpose, an article will most likely fit into one of four types: expository, persuasive, narrative, or descriptive.
The type of article you are writing will also dictate your style and tone . Here is how these four types are commonly seen in business writing.
Expository writing shares facts and information with the target audience. It includes everything from ‘how to’ articles to research articles published in scientific journals.
Expository articles follow a logical progression and guide the reader to a new understanding. Many of the articles published on the web today are expository because companies are positioning themselves as authorities in their field. They want to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise, offering value to the reader.
Persuasive writing evokes more emotion than expository writing. It is the article writing format for a sales page or anytime you want the reader to feel motivated to take a specific action.
In a persuasive piece of writing, you connect with the reader’s current experience or the problems they are trying to solve. Then, you lead them to understand how they can resolve those problems or benefit by taking your recommended action.
Narrative writing is essentially storytelling. It can be a form of persuasive writing, but a good narrative article has a strong introduction followed by rising action, a climax, and a resolution.
The purpose of narrative writing can be to inform, persuade, or connect. You want to take the reader on a journey and lead them to a new understanding through the example of another’s experience.
Narrative writing is a useful way for businesses to engage with customers, share their stories, or build a sense of community.
If you are writing an article that describes a product, its features, and its benefits, you may employ descriptive writing. Descriptive writing sets the scene and delivers concrete, sensory information about a place, thing, or experience.
Descriptive writing is used when you want to set the scene for your reader by giving them all of the sensory information you can. You want to describe the atmosphere, the environment, and what is happening in this piece of writing.
To grab a reader’s attention, articles must be eye-catching. That is why you want to format it correctly with a heading, body, and conclusion.
Your article writing format is the framework you use to present information in an easy-to-consume way. It’s essential to have a clear purpose for each article. You want to build the reader’s expectation with your heading and deliver on that expectation in the body of your article.
The heading should be a concise and accurate description of what your article will discuss. If you are writing an article for the web, including a keyword in your heading helps search engines understand the content. You also want to format your heading as H1.
Your heading must be eye-catching but also informative. If you grab the reader’s attention with a witty headline that has little to do with your content, you will lose their attention. Search engines clock how long someone looks at your article, so that kind of bait-and-switch works against you.
Your heading will be in title case. It is important to know what to capitalize in a title .
For many articles, you will add a byline with your name under the heading. This depends on if you are writing for a publication that will credit you as the author or if you are ghostwriting.
The introduction is an essential element of a good article. Your introduction needs to both draw a reader in and also confirm they are in the right place and will find the information they expect in your article.
Once you’ve introduced your topic, you can dive into the meat of the content in the body of your article. You can determine the length of your article as you are writing it, or you may be given a target word count by your employer.
For the web, you want to divide your content into clear sections with H2 or H3 headings that identify the content that follows. Keep your paragraphs short and make your article body easy to scan. This will help readers get the information they want and stay engaged with your article for as long as possible.
Your conclusion can have a descriptive heading or be called, ‘conclusion”. It is a final paragraph or two that leaves the reader with an appeal, recommended action, opinion, or closing thought.
Now that you know the types and format of an article, you may want to understand the process of how to write one. Here are the steps to follow when writing an article.
- Choose your topic . An ideal topic is focused enough to address in a single article.
- Think about your target audience. What questions are they asking about this topic? What are the most important answers you can deliver to them? You want to speak directly to your reader, so having your target audience clearly in mind is a critical step.
- Gather your facts and data. Do they support the points you plan to include in the article?
- Write an outline, including the headers. Does it flow? Can you cover this topic adequately in the space of an article?
- Write your rough draft.
- Edit. Some writers read their drafts aloud to check for flow and avoid common grammar mistakes . You can use tools like the Hemmingway app or Grammarly to help with this step.
To apply for jobs and freelance projects requires work samples . You need to understand web formatting and at least the basics of SEO.
However, if you have no work samples ready, there are several ways to develop a portfolio. The pay for these first steps is little to nothing… but you’ll gain experience and take the first important steps to become an article writer.
To develop a portfolio, you can:
- Write for a content mill or agency that accepts beginners .
- Write and submit articles for publication in online magazines .
- Submit guest blog posts in your areas of expertise.
- Offer content to friends and family to publish on their business websites.
- Take over some of the writing responsibilities for your current employer.
- Before you sign up for any article writing opportunity online, research that company. There are many legitimate opportunities for every skill and experience level, but there are also scams.
Two important things as you get started:
- Do not pay to get work! Legitimate work opportunities don’t charge membership fees.
- In article writing, as in life, if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
If you’re new to writing, developing your portfolio is a chance to get familiar with different industries, subjects, and formats. Some will be more natural and enjoyable for you. If you don’t like the first thing you try, keep going. There are many more opportunities out there.
The choice between freelance and employment can be “a little of both.” You don’t have to make a hard and fast choice – take opportunities as they come!
Both working freelance and finding a job require prospecting for work. Success in prospecting requires focused effort. Read on to learn how to begin with an advantage and then pick the one that fits you best and go for it.
Advantages of Freelance
- You can begin before you quit your current job
- You’re building your own service business
- Variety of work
- Over time, your rates can grow to be substantial
- In some cases, you have more control over format, content, and tone
- You choose your specialties and industries
- You can work from home or anywhere
- You can choose your hours
Disadvantages of Freelance
- It takes months or years to build
- Inconsistent income
- Constant prospecting and networking for new projects
- You may work for very low rates for a while
- Freelance websites have fierce competition
- You have to motivate yourself each day
Advantages of Employment
- Steady paycheck
- External accountability
- Consistent work
- Become an expert in that business
Disadvantages of Employment
- Unless employed by an agency with multiple clients, limited content variety
- You may have less choice concerning format, content, and voice
- You work on their schedule
A freelance business is a small business . Freedom comes with responsibility. For some, it’s more than worth it. Others prefer the structure and support of steady employment.
If you’re ready to join the gig economy, give yourself the financial breathing room to ramp up slowly. Start something on the side and build from there.
What interests you? What experience do you have? What would you like to learn?
From video games to healthcare to finance… every industry needs article writers. As the web grows, so does the importance of consistent, original, quality content. Primarily because it works! Content marketing generates about three times as many leads as traditional marketing .
The demand for skilled content writers keeps growing. No matter what interests you, someone needs your expertise.
As you add to your portfolio of work, you can prospect for new jobs and clients. Here’s where the advantages of a niche come into focus.
It’s easier to win a job when you’ve got relevant samples to show them. Writing new samples for every application or bid gets old… fast! On some of the popular freelance websites like Upwork or Guru, employers can get dozens of bids in minutes on their article writing projects. As a freelancer, the better you match an employer’s target criteria, the easier you stand out from the crowd.
You may be skilled enough to research and write on any subject. However, the less you know about a topic, the longer it takes to complete a project. As you develop expertise in a niche, you cut down your writing time and deliver equal or better quality work. When you freelance for a living, less time per project means more money per hour.
Of course, you can have multiple niches! You don’t have to limit yourself to just one and can add more later.
If you enjoy the topic, your writing will flow better and feel less like work. You’ll also be more apt to insights that engage and hook your audience. It’s a good niche if you enjoy the subject.
One exception to the follow your heart rule here… if you love fashion but are colorblind, perhaps pick another interest for your first focus. If you think you want to write tech articles but your natural voice is flowery and romantic, you’ll struggle to fit into tech but shine in marketing. It’s better to play to your natural strengths.
The best niche is an in-demand topic you enjoy that aligns with your natural strengths.
Once again, your path towards paid article writing presents options. Which is the best fit for you?
You can apply your skills as an article writer in any of your favorite industries. Avenues to find work in your areas of interest include:
- Job listings for content writers
- Sites where freelancers bid on projects like Freelancer
- Work through web builders, digital marketing companies, or content providers
- Find sites you want to write for and pitch to the owners
- Join a startup company in your area of interest
- Advertise your services locally or online
- Network with your Chamber of Commerce or other business networking groups
- Network through Facebook and LinkedIn
Start with one or two methods of prospecting for work. With steady effort, you’ll find the routes that work for you.
The more people who know your services are available, the better. The bottom line to steady work is to get in front of as many potential employers as possible!
Improve and refine your blog writing with free online tools. Many grammar checkers offer a free version of their editor. They catch tone and agreement issues missed by Word.
The Hemingway Editor aids with readability by identifying complex and hard-to-read sentences. It tells you the grade level of your writing, highlights passive voice, and offers simpler word alternatives.
To increase the appeal of your headlines, the Advanced Marketing Institute created a free headline analyzer .
If you find yourself repeating words, WordHippo is an online thesaurus that helps keep the word variety interesting.
Whether your dream is to work as an article writer for your current employer or to build your name in the journalism world, there is a demand for your voice and skill. What’s important is to keep writing and continue learning.
In the beginning, the road may be bumpy. Even if you have an idea of who you are as a writer and a clear picture of where you best fit, there will be challenges. It happens to all writers at first.
Or, you may have no idea what interests you or what format works with your natural strengths as a writer. Stay calm! You will continue to learn as you go. The road will become smoother once your work is published and assignments start to fill your email.
When writing is done well, it is a seamless part of the audience’s experience. Article writers shape how content is presented and can influence how people think. Even when writing someone else’s vision, your skill makes it worth reading.
The web is full of people sharing their online success stories. Hopefully, reading this is one small step in your writing journey to success.
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