What is Article writing?
Article writing is a simple and easy piece of writing. It is different from academic or other literary form of writing in many ways. It makes use of simple language and easy words. Also, the tone of the writing piece is somewhat informal.
The articles are written on an idea or topic which is colored by the article writer’s opinion. The articles are usually circled around a subjective viewpoint. For instance, someone writing an article on ‘terrorism’ would give his personal opinion on the subject. The writing piece on same topic would be written differently if done as an academic assignment.
There is a lot of difference between article writing and other writing types. The slangs and colloquial expressions are often allowed in an article. The article is read like a person is talking to somebody. The facts and figures and citations are not generally required for article writing.
Articles, by nature, are brief summaries, based upon fact, about a single subject. The shorter the article, the narrower the subject would be. For instance, a broad-based topic such as ways to plan a vacation would be much longer, and involve sub-topics, while a short article on how to find the best airfare from New York to Hawaii would be fairly cut and dried. A writer that is interested in composing an article should first get a firm grip on their subject.
If writing an article for an editor or other employer, keep in mind their specifications. The use of proper grammar/spelling, the need to keep word count within a specified range and the use of key word mentions will help keep the writer focused on fulfilling their assignment.
Most of all, any article should be a fact-based document with minimal use of personalization on the part of the author. Unless you are, in fact, an expert on the topic of the article, the wise writer will have to stick to reliable sources for their research and keep opinions to themselves.
Since article lengths and requirements vary, these are just a few simple guidelines to make article writing an achievable literary goal. An article is either informative or educative in nature.
One writes an article to give expression to one’s points of view on a given topic or to give out information that would help the reader to gain an insight into the topic.
Thus the process of writing an article is one of information sharing.
Unlike in a dialogue, there is no instant feedback on an article from the reader. In this respect, the writer is more or less in the same situation as the Director or Actor of a Cine-film.
The response comes much later and leaves little scope for the performer to make any adjustment, in response to the feedback. The writer however has one advantage; some responses can be anticipated and answered in advance. To the extent possible, attempt to anticipate the opposite point of view and answer those.
Always begin with an outline of article or what you want to say in the article. Unless the article is aimed at a specialist readership like professionals, students, etc., keep the language simple and the style directly narrative. This would avoid the chance of being misunderstood.
Be meticulous about the truthfulness of facts and figures mentioned in the article. If you are in doubt, say so, explicitly. This would enhance your credibility as a writer. As in the case of Journalism, in article writing also, follow the dictum: “Facts are Sacred; Comment is Free!” If you are writing for the Electronic media, make sure that you give your e-mail ID and allow feedback.
It is a great way to sense readers’ mood and to gain popularity by responding. Not everyone will want to agree with you or want you to agree with their view. As in politics, a good leader is one who allows democratic dissent.
There is a famous definition of poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquility”. As time passes, we tend to remember only those experiences which were either strongly pleasant or strongly painful.
One school of opinion thinks that it is better that the brain is not loaded with irrelevant and colorless memories. Another school thinks that the missed details are as important as those recalled.
A writer makes use of his memories and imagination as raw material for his work. They are his stock in trade. He needs to keep track of all his experiences in as much detail as possible.
Therefore, he will need to devise some means for doing this. Keeping small cards with the important details noted down for each experience or incident is one such means. Photographing events and adding comments to the printed picture is another.
Audio tapes containing sound recording and explanatory remarks add value to the memory. One should be on the guard not to get carried away by the veneer of authenticity attached to such documentation.
We should remember that what we see at any given time is only what we are able to see from where we are. Others at other points of view would see things in their different perspectives.
This is what made Madam Indira Gandhi call her Autobiography as “MY TRUTH” and that is precisely what makes Ms. Benazir Bhutto’s autobiography so interesting and readable.
Article Writing: Creating Your Armory
What are the tools of the trade of article writing? How does one go about preparing the groundwork? Apart from the obvious Pens, pencils, erasers, Ink or cartridges and paper or a storage device, we would need good reference books, dictionaries in the languages in which we write, a thesaurus and possibly a good book on Grammar for each of the languages.
In modern times when most article writing work is beginning to be got done on computers, a laptop or notebook computer will no more count as luxury.
To avoid the embarrassment of getting stuck for the word which would convey the right shade of meaning, the thesaurus is an invaluable tool. A dictionary of synonyms and antonyms is another asset for the job. If possible, subscribe to a Writers’ Guild or such professional mutual aid group, where the draft work can be read or mailed to a discerning audience and valuable feedback can be obtained.
It is statistically possible that some other writer might have used some words in the same sequence as you have done. That is not your fault, but today’s readers who live by gadgets tend to consider the first one who used the words as wise and the second one as a cheap person who copies others’ work.
So play it safe, check and re-write, if necessary. Have access to one such software that can alert you on possible duplication.
Organizing Writing Work
One may wonder as to what is there so exotic about article writing that one needs to get organized. But take a close look at your experience with writing a serious article or even a personal letter of importance.
The writing is smooth and much more effective, if we begin after a small exercise of writing down the points we would like to cover, their logical sequence and the relative importance we want to give to each of the points. Otherwise we will end up writing too long an introduction, a skeletal middle and a hurried conclusion, with a nagging feeling that what we essentially wanted to say has remained unsaid. Thus, it helps to get organized before we begin to write.
First of all, see to it that we have the essential facts and figures ready at hand before we begin. Draw up the outline and the line of logical presentation. Choose a punch line, if that is part of your style.
Prepare a first draft and take a break. Come back after a while and read the draft from a reader’s perspective. Is it sound in argument? Are the facts stated properly and effectively? If not, re-write. Now go for the Fair Copy of your article.