If you are tired of staring at a blank screen or spending hours trying to churn out a quality article, this will show you a simple method that only takes 2 minutes at a time. You will use a step-by-step process around a metaphor based structure that helps you focus and brainstorm. Starting is as easy as writing down a pre-defined article structure - leaving room for notes. You then proceed to work section by section starting with the easiest. After a round of polishing you can end up with a good article within 25 minutes.
Writing has always been difficult for me. Tons of ideas are running through my head and it is nearly impossible to get them down on paper so they make sense to anyone else. I tried various methods and tools with little effectiveness. It then came to me one day while learning a game that board game instructions are some of the most concise and effective examples of getting information across - and they all follow a similar pattern: Summary, Background, Getting Started, Turn of Events, and Completion. Using this structure in writing will focus brainstorming on specific tasks and provide a complete document that can quickly be formatted and polished into a quality article.
Start by writing down the 5 basic sections on paper or computer with enough space to jot down notes.
- Summary section - a high level overview of the whole article.
- Background section - provides an introduction to the rest of the article.
- Getting Started section - define anything the reader may need to know up front before you get into the core part of your article.
- Turn of Events section - the core part of your article. If it is a how-to article it is the steps to take. If it is another type of article the section is where you write out the points of interest or information you were wanting to convey to the reader.
- Completion section - where you make any final conclusion, remarks, additional sources of information, and so on.
Once the sections are written down, start with the section that is easiest for you and write down in bullet points all the ideas you want to talk about in that section. Probably the Turn of Events section will be the easiest to start with because this is the core of the article and the part you already have some ideas about. Only spend 2 minutes on a section and then move on to another one. Don't worry if you don't feel you have everything you need down, you can add to it when you start to format your article.
When all of the sections are filled out go back and format each section into one or more paragraphs. Each bullet point can easily be a sentence. Start writing the paragraph from scratch while looking at the bullet points for reference and don't worry about facts at this point. When you have a place you are writing down a fact, put in a place holder and then make a note someplace that you need to go back and look up the fact to make it correct. This will allow you to keep up the flow of writing without interruption and still allow you to write accurate information. Try to keep around 2 minutes for each section although for a large article it could take you more.
You should now have a fairly decent looking article. Spend around 5 minutes polishing the article. Read it through start to finish several times. Remove any words that are not needed and try to shorten any sentence that is too wordy. Make sure your sentences don't all start with the same word, letter, or type of word. Introduce some variety by starting some sentences with prepositions and verbs. Lastly write in an active voice - have the reader doing the action and not reading about someone else doing the action.
During the polishing pass you should look up any facts you made a note about and make some notes about any additional sections you may want to add or any additional articles you could write as an offshoot of this article.
You should now have a good, well thought out article in about 25 minutes. If you made any additional notes in the polishing stage, you should go back now and add in the additional thoughts. This same method can be used for larger and smaller projects. You can divide chapters in a book into the same basic 5 sections. You can also divide a paragraph into the same basic sections with each sentence corresponding to one of the sections. The very first paragraph in this article is done that way.
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