In college you learn to abide by AP style, write in neat paragraphs and an academic tone. In the traditional writing format, these rules transferred nicely. However, when it comes to modern mediums, otherwise known as web writing, these rules generally don’t apply. While grammar should still be pristine, it’s more about the content than anything else. As an editor, it’s important that you have an eye for these key differences.
If there’s one thing lacking in the publishing and journalism industries these days, it’s certainty. The world of writing and publishing is changing day-by-day, and no longer can you be a successful writer — whether your craft is journalism or novel writing, whether you’re writing for print or digital — merely by virtue of being talented. There are entirely new skill sets required for the modern successful writer, and whatever kind of writer you are, you’re going to find that these skills are a must. You want to be a 21st Century writer? Here are three hats you must wear [Read more…]
Success is going to happen. As a freelance writer, if you keep plugging away, success will happen for you. Sometimes it will hit all of the sudden. A deluge of articles, projects and client meetings suddenly appear in your email box. In between giddy high fives to yourself, you quickly say yes to everything and get to work. Other times it builds slowly, like a tide coming in and you suddenly find yourself surrounded by work. Soon you’re slogging away frantically trying to meet all your deadlines and while steak for dinner is nice, you don’t really get to enjoy [Read more…]
5. How do you write a great lede? The lede is one of the most important components of an article. It hooks the reader, tells them what the article is about and encourages them to continue reading. Before writing the lede, ask yourself “What is this article about?” Go through your research and find the information, statistic or anecdote that best represents the article’s information and formulate your lede around it. Also check out “Driving Rules for Getting to the Point with Your Lede” and “Lede On, Hook Your Readers Every Time” 4. What makes a good article? A good [Read more…]
The FWJ mailbag is always pretty full and there are a few questions that pop up regularly. Deb reposted her super popular Frequently Asked Questions and made me think about the most popular questions I receive over here at the Article Writing blog. So here they are in no particular order: 10. How do you write an article? It’s true, I get this one pretty often and it’s kind of like asking someone how to cook – there’s a lot to it. So in pretty general terms: start with a topic, research the topic and based on your research find [Read more…]
I’d been thinking about writing this post for next week, but today I was reading through Deb’s job posting for the day and came across an article she linked to: “Driving Rules for Getting to the Point with Your Lede” and thought, “Hmm, that’s a good topic, interesting headline, I wonder who in the network wrote that one…” I clicked the link and realized it was my work. Oops. Self-flattery aside, I realize I have fallen into a pattern of writing, editing, publishing and forgetting my work. When you first become a professional writer, once you get past the “Whoo [Read more…]
Is there anything more fun than typos that are both hilarious and ones you personally didn’t make? Huffpost has some doozies that I’d like to share with you: Regret the Error is another great sight site that’ll help you get you’re your editorial giggle on, but be careful – get two too cocky and you’re bound to end up on it yourself!
While creating an outline is an important part of the article writing process, it doesn’t have to be your 6th grade English version of an outline. Outlines can be made to fit your style including as many details as you’d like, however there are some parts of an outline that you must include in order for it to really work as a framework from which you can base your article: How it begins When outlining your article, it’s best to formulate your lede (lead) paragraph. The lede paragraph, depending on the type of article, can tell the readers what they’ll [Read more…]
We talk a lot about the importance of being professional, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t make some gaffes once in a while. I don’t think I’m alone, either. Plenty of freelance writers have unprofessional and even embarrassing moments. I’ll bet even some highly paid best sellers did a few things that don’t make them very proud. While they’re usually inadvertent errors, it doesn’t make them any less embarrassing. Can you relate to any of these? My Top 10 Most Embarrassing Freelance Writing Moments 10. Pretending I knew how to do something I couldn’t Several years ago, [Read more…]
Last week we talked about the first of five ways to enhance your writing skills with an editorial calendar: “5 Days, 5 Ways to Enhance Your Writing Skills.” Hopefully, everyone has either gotten one going or taken a second look at their current one with an eye on the details I pointed out, including using it consistently, as motivation and to plan more than due dates. Today it’s time to talk about becoming an editor to improve your writing skills. Editing the work of others gives writers invaluable perspective on the writing process and their own work. Learn about voice [Read more…]
Advice is a good thing, helpful advice is even better and advice that you can use and implement over a period of time is the best. I love gathering helpful writing tips and tricks from others in the field, however, if you’re like me you’ll come across a list that has several great things you want to start doing or using and in the end you find yourself on new method overload. So over the next five days I’m going to ease you into five ways to shine up your writing skills. Today’s tip: Editorial Calendar If you’ve been in [Read more…]
Freewriting. It sounds like a cool, pill induced experience, but it is actually a perfectly normal way to get all your ideas on paper without stopping to edit or organize. Freewriting is simply writing without stopping. This technique is actually a great way to start the writing process before you move on to outlines. It allows you to see everything all at once and this often leads to stand-out elements and angles for the article like ledes, quotes and important facts. Another great outcome of freewriting is it is actually freeing! Often writers get bogged down in the process of [Read more…]
I came across this: “10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling” from TheOatmeal.com and nearly busted a button laughing at the great illustrations. It got me thinking about what other bad habits writers should focus on eliminating in 2010. STOP: Ignoring the difference between lay, lie and laid There is a difference. It is important. If you need help, for Pete’s sake look it up! Here are a few resources that explain the difference in several different ways: Grammar Girl.com GrammarBook.com (a great little quiz to help you get it in your head) Miss-Ink.com STOP: Relying on spellcheck Spellcheck is [Read more…]