Sure, you can thread a few sentences together to communicate your thoughts.
You know how to correct its and it’s, there’s and theirs, then and than, and you’re and your.But this is just the beginning of good writing. Writing well entails a little more than that and can feel like a daunting task especially when you are just starting out.
Truth is: Writing well is difficult but I’ve got good news for you. Just as any other craft writing can be learnt.
But here’s the thing: whether or not you find it hard to write is a function of the way you approach it. In writing your products reflects your process. This applies to fiction and nonfiction alike.
You see over the past few months that I’ve been writing seriously, I found out that, writing is not a single activity but a bouquet of activities. Just like cooking is a combination of several small activities into one giant whole. It is a process with stages.
Writing involves six (6) different but interconnected activities. These activities are:
“Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.” – Napoleon Hill
This is the first step in writing. All great writing begins with ideas. They are the crux; the nucleus. Aside being the birth point of pieces ideas are also what keeps them on track. Capturing and storing them is the best way to treat all ideas you get. This is why I advocate for journaling.
Action: Write 10 content ideas in your journal.
“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. ” – Zora Neale Hurston
Every article you write is only as strong as the details you put in it. To write well you must have more than what you know. You must seek more knowledge of the concepts you want to write about. Research provides you with a large repository of knowledge to choose from. This makes your pieces stronger and deeper.
Action: Read this post where I shared research tips smart writers use.
“You can always fix crap. You can’t fix a blank page.” ─ Christina Dodd
After researching your idea, it is time to draft it. At this stage your focus shouldn’t be on getting the best writing. Write shitty first drafts. After all, Ernest Hemingway has once said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” Don’t worry about how your piece looks at this stage just write it. It’s no coincidence that first drafts are called junk drafts.
Action: Dump your idea plus research to produce a draft.
“Rewriting is the crucible where books are born.” – Cathryn Louis
This is the stage where you organise your draft giving it shape and outlook. It is a part of the writing process in which the Writer carefully revisits the piece spotting errors, weak/ passive statements and correcting them along the way. It is an essential aspect of writing. To easily and effectively rewrite pieces, here’s a simple three Step blueprint I always use.
Action: Pick up a previous piece and rewrite it using this blueprint.
“Editing is the very edge of your knowledge forced to grow–a test you can’t cheat on.” – S. Kelley Harrell
The majority of your work has been done after rewriting. However, to give your pieces a touch of excellence, you must go beyond that. You must edit. You can send it to an editor or edit it yourself. Either way get it done because editing is what produces polished pieces. After this stage your piece is ready.
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
If you’ve completed the 5 steps above then it’s time to release it into the world. Don’t linger and lag on behind. Ship it. This you do mindfully knowing that although it is imperfect (it will never be), you’ve done your best and have made the world a better place. After you release your writing, go back and write another piece and yet another after it. This is the only way you ever get better at your craft.
Action: Publish that written piece today. We (the world) needs to see it.
First you begin with the idea, then you research and get it into a draft. After this you rewrite the draft and then edit. Then you’re ready to publish. Sounds like a plan right?
So next time an article idea comes to your mSure, you can thread a few sentences together to communicate your thoughts.