1. Publication and audience
First of all, decide who you write for. Texts on the web source about technologies, politics or culture will differ a lot, though they may be on the same topic. Suppose you are interested in connection between music the person likes and his personal traits. In the first case you will write how music influences gadget usage, in the second – his political views, in the third – the person’s education, his sense of taste, style etc. Any topic can be considered from all sides. Choose the ground based on preferences of the audience of the edition you are going to write for.
Secondly, write about something that interests you personally. You can hide skillfully your indifference writing the text by order, but it will never be as good as the one you really care about. As ultimately the main thing in every creative act is you, yourself.
2. Topic and content choice
After you have decided more or less on the audience and the angle of view, you should clearly formulate the topic and the problem. What do you want to tell about? Is it really so important? Who spoke about it before you and how? If the topic has already been discussed in media and you have nothing to add, do you really want to take on it? Have you got enough experience to be an expert or you will refer to the others’ expertize? All these questions are essential for the form which the text will take.
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After you decide, write the text structure. Divide it into the introduction, the main part and the conclusion. In the main part underline some subthemes, which you are going to consider. For example, 1) your observations about music influencing personal features, with examples, 2) research on these observations, 3) groups of people that can be selected based on musical preferences.
3. Introduction, main part, conclusion
Start with the introduction (the lead). It is crucial. The start should capture the user’s attention and make him read further. Write why the theme is so interesting and mention the recognizable characters. In our case we can give an example of a teenager Alex from “A clockwork orange” who liked listening to Beethoven. Remember popular movies, series and books concerning your problem.
Write the main part dividing it into subheadings or several parts. Ask yourself: is it so important? If no, there is no need loading the readers with extra information. The editors’ mistake which came into Internet from printed media is that writer is paid for number of characters. Obtaining the task the journalist asks himself – what volume should he make? But a short text can be more valuable than a long one. “This letter is so long because I had no time to make it shorter”, – Blaise Pascal said as long ago as in the 7th century, and many repeated after him. In general, if you manage to write short, don’t push yourself to write longer.
Conclusion is as important part as the introduction. It is the part to summarize and give sense to everything that you have written. Conclusion is your justification to the reader who spent time for reading your text. It can be depressive, optimistic, neutral, but emotional. In the letters such conclusion could be expressed with some nonexistent symbol – something between an exclamatory mark and a question mark. After the conclusion the reader stays alone with his own thoughts.
Here you are. You have written the first draft version. Now the essence is clear, the content is available, the problem is elaborated and the question is put. But it is not enough for the reader to read exactly your texts with interest. Of course, if you are not a great reporter who gets valuable information – these people are unique. Style is something that makes reading both useful and pleasant. Style should reflect you, in the first place. Secondly, it must correspond to the edition you are writing for. Many masters like William Zinsser and William Strunk make tips to write with short sentences and make a text concise and “full”.
On the other side, there are loads of great and complex authors who made sentences as long as a page, and they didn’t make an impression of fast reading. The question is what makes you feel comfortable and, of course, what theme you consider. It is rather stupid to write about GDP (speaking of economy) and make long literature sentences imitating Cortazar. Read the classic book – “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White (though it was written at the beginning of the 20th century and many tend to consider it outdated). And others – “On writing well” by Zinsser, “The birth of the new journalism” by Wolf, (a set of essays by different authors in a new genre – stories on the verge of a novel and a reportage), “Zen in the art of writing” by Bradbury (discloses the author’s special technique).
Many writers and journalists left essays on how they were learning to write and what helped it. The portal brainpickings.org deals with the view into the authors’ life. The more you observe the technique of good writers and journalists, the more you train your writing technique, the brighter your own style will become.
5. Read everything one more time
Still better would be to put the text away, wait for some time and go to bed. And then to look at it again. Think where the user can have a sense of understatement, where you can be more persuasive, where the other words – synonyms, can be used. Maybe, you have missed some points where you can make analogies using metaphors or drawing recognizable characters. Think what images the reader will have while reading the text. If they are not enough, you are to work more. When you understand that you can improve the text no more, give it to a person, whose opinion is important for you. The best way would be to give the text eventually to the editor, who will consider it distantly and make his own final corrections.