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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Writing Better Articles with a Back-to-School Attitude

Apply the basics of education to your article writing practice.
Depending on where you live, the school year has already begun, or will shortly, and another season of formal education begins anew.
Education has evolved over the years to become an arguably effective system of passing knowledge and skills onto others. Article writing is very much like school in that your articles are essentially lessons you're teaching to your readers.
If you approach your writing with the same attitude a good teacher (or student) approaches school, your chances for success will increase dramatically. Here are some lessons we can take from the world of formal education.
6 Back-to-School Basics for Expert Authors
  • Develop a Lesson Plan - Just like in school, you don't want to dive into your article writing without a lesson plan. Develop a plan, called an Editorial Calendar, to map out exactly what you're going to teach your readers and in what order. Then assign each article (lesson) a date. Provided you follow your plan, your readers should approach your Resource Box feeling educated and enlightened.
  • Sit Quietly at Your Desk - Writing high-quality articles is most efficient, and quick, when you're in "The Zone" (as we like to call it). The Zone is that mental state where the words just seem to flow from your keyboard. Getting into The Zone can often be very elusive, but there are some things that will help.
    1. Designate your Writing Spot - This could be a desk, a table, a couch, or whatever gets you into The Zone. Always use this for your writing and your brain will slip into The Zone whenever you sit down there.
    2. Create a Ritual - Always do things the same way as you prepare to write. Maybe it means putting on music and getting yourself a cup of coffee. Whatever it is, embracing it each time you write will help you prepare mentally for the task ahead.
    3. Avoid Distractions - Turn off the phone, email, texting, everything. If you're going to write, be 100% immersed into the process.
  • Master the Basics - In "teaching" your readers, you should always demonstrate best practices. This includes:
    1. Reading - Be certain that you proofread your articles before you submit them! Read and reread them to ensure that you're delivering quality articles.
    2. Writing - It is vitally important that your writing be top notch and free of grammatical and spelling errors. Anything less will severely diminish your credibility as an author and could result in your reader simply clicking away from your article.
    3. Arithmetic - Keep an eye on your word count. EzineArticles Editorial Guidelines aside, it's suggested that you keep your articles between 500 and 700 words. Why? Because this is the optimal length for delivering high-quality information without risking your reader will go elsewhere due to the length.

  • Study in Your Niche - As far as your reader is concerned, you ARE the expert in your field. Act like it by studying everything you can in your niche and applying that knowledge to your articles. And never, ever write about something you don't know. An article with inaccurate information could ruin your credibility instantly.
  • Involve Yourself in Extracurricular Activities - Studying within your niche will only get you so far. Be sure to also spend time outside your field of expertise while, simultaneously, keeping it in the back of your mind. Look for analogies, comparisons, and connections to other areas of interest that could be used as the basis for your next article.
  • Choose Fill-in-the-Blank Over Essay - In essence, articles are just like the essays you wrote in school. Writing essays can be challenging and time consuming. On the other hand, filling in the blanks can be a lot quicker, easier, and often produce higher quality scores ... ahem, results.
    That's why EzineArticles created our Article Templates. These templates not only give you great ideas, they also provide a fill-in-the-blanks PDF that provides the article's style, structure and section topics. By simply filling in the blanks, you can create articles based on your expertise that your audience will love to read. Check out the free article template sample here. If you like it (and we know you will), go here and get the template sets you need to make your articles awesome!
The parallels between school and article writing could go on and on. Stop and think about some of the things you learned during those years and apply them to your article writing practices. You'll undoubtedly find that much of what your teachers shared back then can still be put to good use today.
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