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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

10 tips for Writing a Good Article

We write for mainly two reasons: a. for our own satisfaction and b. for earning some money. There are other reasons too but these two are perhaps the most common. We all want to write good articles but very few of us can actually do so and that is why who can write well become successful in earning money as well as making a name for themselves. In this article I like to give some tips from my 10 years of writing experience. Of course, I am not a very successful writer internationally but in my own country I have achieved some good name as a young writer or in other words I have excelled to some extent in my field of writing- ICT journalism.

Know your readers?
We write for others not for ourselves. So, always try to think of your readers. For this it is most important to know for whom you are going to write. For example, I am going to write this article for those people who are looking for materials in Internet about doing well in writing. There is little chance that very famous writers will bother to go through this article. Thus, try to imagine who your readers can be. Then try to know about their likes and dislikes. Try to assume what they are looking for from your article and how you can give them. For this, observe people as much as you can and know about their likes and dislikes.

Not the easiest work!!
This is the mistake that many people make about writing. They feel that writing is a very easy work but my own experience and the experience of thousands of writers and journalists around the world show a different picture. Unfortunately, writing is not a very easy work. First of all, it needs a lot of time and effort to write and more than that earning money by writing is even a more difficult work. If we look at the history of any major literature in the world, we can find that many poets and writers received little recognition when they were alive. So, if you think that writing is something very easy and you are going to earn money with everything that you write then you are surely living in fool's paradise. Knock! Knock! Get awake because the dream is over. Of course, earning money through writing is as difficult as any job and even perhaps more difficult than computer programming.

Don't show off
Many times, after reading an article I feel that the writer has given me a lot of pain by using too many difficult words which I do not know. Many would be writers have the notion that to show that they are different than ordinary people they must write in very difficult language or else they would earn their deserved respect and fame in the eyes of the readers. Many writers have a tendency to look down upon those writers who write in everyday plain language. Of course, in poetry you need to play with your words. However, if you want to write something about registering a domain or American War of Independence using too many difficult and uncommon words will only alienate the readers. One of the best things to do is after writing an article giving it to someone to read. We should always remember that in any kind of work we like those people who can make life easy for us. Always remember that a good writer is he/she who can present the most difficult matter in the easiest way not

Polish up your grammar and spelling
Word Processors like Microsoft Word provide excellent support for correcting spellings in English language. Still, when we search over the Net, we can find many spelling and grammatical mistakes. If you do not want to spend money for a word processor then there is the Open Office which is free. Or you can search for other free word processors in download.com. Dictionary is another great tool and in www.dictionary.com you can check words too. However, those who like to become skilled writers it is always important that they spend at least 30 minutes daily for studying and practicing English grammar.

No one is perfect: So revise again
I do not know how many people are there who can write without any mistake. I know for sure that I am not of them. If you are one of them then ignore this tip but those who are not sure about their being perfect in the first attempt should give enough time and attention for making the writing error free. The fewer mistakes you have the better. Revising helps you another way. It can give you new ideas to enrich your article.

Read a lot
This is perhaps the most common advise given to every would be writer. There is two things to consider however: a. should I read only about my field of writing? B. Should I read a lot about other fields too? Suppose, I am a sports writer and I write about Football or Basketball. Of course, it is very important to know about my field (basketball or football) but reading about other fields will not harm me at all. Rather the more we can read outside of our field the more we can enrich our articles.

A catchy title
Many times we just get attracted to an article by its exceptional title. The ability to make a title catchy is like winning half the battle. For acquiring such abilities reading daily newspaper is a must as they come up with very good titles to attract their readers. However, please keep in mind that this ability can be acquired only after long time of effort. On the other hand, it is not a good idea to become too much obsessed with making a catchy title.

Long or short?

Most probably all of us are worried for the length of an article. Is it too long or too short? It is very difficult to determine whether an article is too short or too long. Some writers have given the advice of 400-500 words for the net. On the other hand, a magazine article is often around 800-1000 words. So, the length of an article depends on the target market.

Which topic?
This is another dilemma almost every new writer faces. Should I write about the topic that I know very well or should I write about a topic that has good demand in the market? This is a very difficult question to answer. My own opinion is that we should try to make a balance about this matter. However, I am in no was suggesting that you should write about a topic without knowing anything. What I am saying is that in addition to writing about the topic that you know a lot you can try to know about a topic that has good demand and then write about it.

Never copy
Copying or plagiarizing is a serious offence and if an article is copied from any source improperly then it is a very bad offence for any writer. There are many websites about helping students and writers to learn about using materials from different sources in a proper way. MLA and APA are the common styles and there are quite a few websites in which you can get information about these styles.

Finally, we all should remember that writing articles is not a very easy work but so is earning money in other fields too. So, be confident and get into writing.





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