expert post | The Art of the Article

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today we have an post from one of my favorite ladies in biz: sam leader from flying solo. whether you already have a blog, would like to start one, or would like to submit articles as guest posts to other blogs, this is some awesome advice...

Writing articles and getting published is a powerful way to promote your expertise, and your little business. Here’s some advice on making your read a good one.

  1. Have ideas to expand on. This beats staring at a blank screen with a blank head. Be ready to scribble down dot points when inspiration strikes. The germ of some of my best work can be traced to the back of soggy beer mats.
  2. Don’t worry too much about structure at the start. This can come later. Just focus on getting it out of your head and onto the screen, or indeed the paper.
  3. An alternate theme may emerge in the course of writing. Go with it. I’ve lost count of the number of unedited articles I’ve read that have a headline almost totally unrelated to the content.
  4. Write the headline and intro last to overcome the above problem. What you’ve actually written will inform you of the appropriate headline and introduction. Always.
  5. Use your voice. If you’re a humorous person, write with wit. It’s better to write as you talk than to try and sound clever.
  6. Don’t underestimate your audience. There’s a school of thought that says you should use the simplest word available. I disagree. You should use the most fitting word. Still you should avoid plundering the Thesaurus just for the sake of it.
  7. Revisit, reread, edit and proofread. While we’ve lots of tips for self-editing on Flying Solo, my main advice is to remember that subtraction is iteration, too.
  8. When editing, cut from the start. A majority of the articles I’ve edited require most of their edits early on. Try to ensure your article doesn’t take too long to get going. 

As Editor of Flying Solo I’ve overseen over 1,400 articles from submission to publication and while I’m the first to admit I don’t know much, I reckon when it comes to understanding what makes a good short read, I know my potatoes.

Which brings me to my final point:

     9.  Know your potatoes.

I’d love you to share your thoughts on what makes a decent read.

Sam Leader is the Editor-in-Chief of Flying Solo, Australia's micro businesscommunity, and one of its three directors. She is also the co-author, with Robert Gerrish and Peter Crocker, of the business bestseller Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business. Sam's responsible "...for all the book's good bits."   Like most solo business owners, Sam wears a number of other hats. As Social Media Manager, she oversees Flying Solo's presence on Facebook and Twitter and she is also Mistress of Mojo, ensuring motivation stays high for everyone involved in Flying Solo.