Hello, I am actually writing loads of articles right now but I can’t help myself from writing this blog right here and now. You see, I have observed how new online article writers, as I have been, jumped from one exiting thought to another. I have been told by my editors back in the days when I was a newbie how incoherent my sentences were.
Yes, I was kind of hurt. I mean, from my point of view, the article I wrote was the best I can write. So being told it was not good enough was like telling me I was not good.
I got past through the pain.
This is because I know my editor just want the best from me because our clients deserve to have the best. She was also telling me I can improve and lots of room to spare for it.
So what should you do to IMPROVE your article writing? Here are the things I did:
- Let go of the pain and embrace the thought of improving.
- Review your English. When I was told I have to improve my grammar, I went to youtube and reviewed my part of the speech and sentence structures.
- Write more and more. Quitting can never bring you anywhere.
But, this article is not about the things you need so you can improve your writing – this is about how you keep your article in the proper coherence so that your reader can understand it. So let us go to the specifics and here they are.
Understand an article’s basic, universal structure: INTRODUCTION – BODY – CONCLUSION.
We writers, newbie or weathered alike, know that an article always begin with a form of introduction. We also know that there is what we call the article’s body where we pour out all its content. And to sum it all up, we have to write a brief conclusion. This is also my way of checking if I got all the info I want to share in the article. I also put in some after thoughts pointers in the conclusion or the paragraph before it.
Now, this is very easy to understand, right? And supposed to be, this is also not hard to do, especially if you have a knack of writing and the passion to fuel it up. However, some newbie writers can’t dig into it right away. This is because writing something we chose to write and writing for our clients cannot be one and the same at all times.
We have to write things that we have no idea what it is all about. This causes us to write incoherently and blindly. As a result, we just put in one interesting fact unto another. And we can’t be a better judge if we make sense or not because the subject matter does not make sense to us as well.
So what should you do if you find yourself in this situation? Well, first, you can make a draft of your article.
A draft is very important. It maintains the flow of your entire article from the beginning to end. There are many writing draft tutorial online and you can choose which serves you best. But I begin mine by writing the introduction.
Writing the Introduction
What? Writing the introduction? Why?
Well, you see, the introduction is like the eye opener. You write there what you need to point out in the whole article. However, this can be tricky. An introduction must be, at all times, the following:
- Witty, engaging, enticing or interesting to catch a reader’s attention. And introduction backs up the title. If you have a catchy title but your introduction lacks the drive to capture your prospect reader, the article will sound lousy.
- An introduction must be short and sweet. In short, we don’t write too long introductions. My mentor used to say “3 sentences minimum and 5 sentences max…”.
- Easy to understand.
So how do we write a short, catchy, understandable and engaging introduction?
Let me explain this with an example. These are two introductions from my newbie friend writers who wrote a 250-word article entitled health is wealth.
First one –
“Health is the conditions or state of one’s physical or body while wealth is social and economic state of an individual.”
Second one –
“The saying, “Health is Wealth”, speaks for itself. A healthy individual can perform efficiently with quality and thus, will produce wealth. Still asking how? For instance, a man who is physically and mentally fit can do his job accurately with no trouble. As a result, he will earn money from his work and commissions if he gets lucky. On the other hand, a man who is unhealthy cannot perform well which results to missing a work, spending a lot of money for medicine, doctors and worst, hospitalization.”
The first introduction is too short. What it does is ‘defining’ health. I really don’t put the definitions in the introduction as I have the whole content to write it in. Often, introductions are for hanging questions, idea sparker and some words that would make a reader wonder.
I like the second introduction better. It made the reader wonder what ‘health is wealth’ means. However, it is kind of long and already give out all the information you need. It would have been alright if this is just a very short, 150-word article wherein we have to fit all the info in.
We can actually write a simple, engaging short introduction for this topic. You can try this…
— “Health is Wealth”, a famous liner don’t you think? But did you take the time to ponder what this phrase truly means in your life? You will have a full appreciation of Health and regard it as wealth by contrasting a healthy and sick person’s life. —
The following paragraphs will do just that. Well, of course, the introduction can be improved more and more. But I guess you dig what I mean by these examples.
Now, once I did the introduction, I can now write a draft for my content.
Filling out the content
The content is the life force of your article. This is where you share what you know and learned. This is what your reader need. That is why, you have to make it clear. If you are writing an article rich with information, facts and how to do things, you have to make use of the following:
1. Sub headings or titles
You have to subdivide your content in sub headings. Just like when I have to write an article about ‘dental emergency’. After I was through with the introduction, I began asking myself about these things (something I realized while writing the introduction)
“The main point of the article is dental emergency, why does it happen, when would it happen or can we prevent it and if so, how? Also, we need to emphasize when emergency happens, what we can do to prepare ourselves for it.”
Hmmm, okay, just like talking to myself…
But with these thoughts, I came up with these subheadings:
- What is Dental Emergency?
- Why Dental Emergency Happens?
- What to Do in an Actual Dental Emergency?
- How to Prevent Dental Emergency?
Sometimes, I write in a question format at the beginning but when I am done, I often replace it with some fun title. Now, this would depend on how the article is to be used. Just like by client here, she wants this to be informative and formal so I really can’t say “Dental Emergency 101: When your Tooth Hurts Call the Tooth Fairy…” or something, this can well bring misconceptions.
2. Bulleted pointers
I have clients who love bullets or numbers. Bulleted paragraphs or pointers will highlight and simplify an audience’s reading experience. Remember that our aim in writing informative articles is to provide information and to ensure that we write it in a very understandable way. Below are some pointers on how to make an article easy to read.
- Keep the sentences short
- Use conversational sentences and vocabulary (use the right jargon for the right audience). Most often, our articles are informative and for general audience so we use simple words.
- Use connectors or conjunctions. Don’t jump from one thought to another. Keep your sentences and paragraph connected.
Okay, so can a draft make the article flow? Not yet. I have to emphasize pointer number 3. This was my weakness and I think I have become quite an adept (can’t say master yet) to it.
The use of connectors!
What connectors? Let me list down my favorites:
AND, ALTHOUGH, HOWEVER, ALSO, THEREFORE, THAT IS WHY, FOR THIS REASON, WHICH, ERGO, ALBEIT (I like this but I can’t use them too often – sad), IN LINE WITH, SO, BUT, IF SO, THEN, ETC…
Okay, can’t really list them all. I make use of connectors to make my sentences make sense.
When you want to share information, your sentence will tend to run too long. This is because short sentences will never be able to provide all the details you need to share. But the thing is that, if you write complex and compound sentences, the object, subject and predicate of your sentences might not totally agree with each other. Or your complex sentence ‘flow of thought’ might not match your next simpler statements. Their ‘disagreement’ will end up confusing the reader. (Are you confused now?)
So what we do is to make short, simple sentences and connect them by using connectors.
But let me, once again, do this by example. Which of the following can you understand better?
Teeth disorder or diseases commonly stem from bacterial infections and result of infection or tooth decay leads to common number of diseases in babies. That why It is important for 6 months infants and children aged 16 needs to be exposed to fluoride this is the timeframe for primary and permanent teeth come in.
Teeth disorder or diseases commonly stem from bacterial infection. This, in turn, will result to tooth decay if not treated right away. The condition is most common to children. That is why it is very important to expose children ages 6 months to 16 years to fluoride. This is because this age is just about the timeframe in which children grow their primary and permanent teeth.
The age in which children develop their primary and permanent teeth is around 6 months to 16 years. This is also the time in which they are prone to bacterial infections that causes enamel damages or tooth decay. That is why fluoride is highly recommended for this age group to keep their teeth strong and healthy.
You can be the judge and improve it to make a better flowing, more understandable article.
Now, with this thought, and as I have written more than what I intend to, let me conclude by saying… “Let me get back to work now”. J