How to Write An Article That Others Will Want to Read

How to Write An Article That Others Will Want to Read
How to Write An Article That Others Will Want to Read

For many of us, fortunate or cursed, as we may be, writing is like breathing, in that it’s something we just can’t do without. I believe that the truly great writers have a physical and emotional need to write - it’s as simple and as complicated as that.

However, even with the greatest fervor imaginable, we all have those days when the words just won’t flow and the bloom of our creativity is stifled by the weeds of our own procrastination. We need something outside of ourselves to motivate us; to turn on the 'switch ' again and so, all too often, we begin surfing the net for those much-needed words of wisdom and inspiration.

Wisdom aside, in an attempt to give you a generous dose of inspiration, I thought that I’d purvey my own thoughts with regards to what makes a good article that people will remember and, perhaps, even return to again and again.

CHOOSE A TOPIC YOU'RE PASSIONATE ABOUT

I can’t stress the importance of writing about something that pushes your emotional buttons, as our emotions are what ultimately come across to our readers. Writing about a subject that, quite frankly, ‘bores the pants off you’, will never make a good read, so think about what gets you excited, angry, frustrated or even sad but, most importantly, make it real.

EXPOSE YOURSELF EMOTIONALLY

Don’t be afraid to self-disclose in your work. Your personality should shine through in each of your articles and make them a relatable part of who you are. Even a sombre piece needn’t, and shouldn’t, be one dimensional. On the contrary, paint your monochrome dialogue with a rainbow of your despair and lift it to another level of excellence.

ANSWER QUESTIONS WHENEVER POSSIBLE

The majority of us read an article because we want to expand our knowledge about a particular subject or area of our lives. Knowledge is power and, with this in mind, most of us subconsciously have a need to build our own personal power through expanding our awareness and our understanding of those things that matter to us. We all have questions that need answering or, if not answering, then at least addressed and exposed in a way that makes us feel we are not alone. So share yourself through your writing by focusing on those aspects of your chosen subject that might be questioned or misunderstood by your readers. Wherever possible, try to relay some answers to the most common questions, or at least some speculation for further discussion and, perhaps, even a follow-up article.

KNOW WHEN TO STOP

Arthur William Radford once said, “Half of art is knowing when to stop ”.

In article writing particularly, it’s so important to know when ‘enough is enough’ and to draw your piece to a close. Despite your passion, sometimes the reader really can have ‘too much of a good thing’ so, as a guideline, try to keep your articles between 400 and 650 words whenever possible. This will hopefully result in an article that’s easy to find the time to enjoy and to pass on to others. If your subject is one that simply cannot be covered in an article of this length, then consider breaking it down into several smaller articles.

REMEMBER TO FORGET

Most importantly of all, when you’re finally writing with creative abandon, remember to forget the rules, to forget the keywords and to forget the length of your piece until it has ended. Let the creativity flow first and then edit it afterwards; hopefully with a big smile of satisfaction on your face at your final draft. After all, whether you need to earn the extra income that comes from utilizing the 'pay per click' facility of your online publisher (and let’s face it, most of us writers are in need of extra income!) or just want to voice a cry for help in the midst of the despair that is your life today, then do it; but do it with all the passion and drive of those of us who need words like oxygen. Do it because you love it and your article will undoubtedly succeed.

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Comments 29 comments

G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

wow this was a great hub for me to read...I am no writer but do try and this gave me some good ideas...Thank you sweetie, I needed that...G-Ma :o) hugs


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 8 years ago from London

I loved this hub. Really inspirational, and it's easy to tell that you're passionate about your subject!


drgratton profile image

drgratton 8 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Thank you so much for your kind words. It's great to have the support of my fellow writers on Hubpages.


Denny Lyon profile image

Denny Lyon 8 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

A wonderful article! Thank you!


rcbonay profile image

rcbonay 8 years ago

Informative and poetic - full of insight and emotion - very inspiring - shades of Anne Lamott.


Reynolds_Writing profile image

Reynolds_Writing 8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Great Read.. Concise, Intresting and Usable Advice


mhei profile image

mhei 8 years ago from Philippines

i just love this hub. this is such a big help, not just for me but the rest of the hubbers. thanks :)


wltrallen2 profile image

wltrallen2 8 years ago from San Diego, CA

Nicely put. As a new hubber, I hope that I can take this advise to heart. Thank you for sharing. :)


drgratton profile image

drgratton 8 years ago from United Kingdom Author

The key is to enjoy it and embrace it and to just be yourself. If you do that then everything else will follow.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

You get my vote of confidence on this one. Great article and sure to help many including myself. Thumbs up.


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 8 years ago

GREAT Hub Sarah!!

Thank you for the gentle reminders of why we write . . . Because not to write would just be too painful!!

Blessings always, Earth Angel!!


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA

Yep, Yep, and yep. esp. the rainbow. :)


ajcor profile image

ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

wisdom and inspiration all in one hub! thanks drgratton. cheers.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

Good stuff. Except I have to say, I think the idea of a word limit should be taken very, very loosely. The old saying that "a story takes as long to tell as it takes to tell" must weigh in a little here. It assumes proper editing, technique and concise language, but, those assumed, word length is pretty squishy really. If the article is passionate and well written, and incorporates these other things, I submit that people will read as much as the writing and subject matter compells them to. I will concede in advance that the HP audience is large (and assume you meant for this hub to refer primarily to HubPages), and therefore there are going to people who automatically bail as soon as they see "too many words" but I reckon good writing will hold anyone who shows up actually looking for something to enjoy. However I will say once an "article" starts getting into the 2500 word mark, it's beginning to become more of a feature or short story, and well, that readership may be poorly represented amongst the HP crowd. I guess my point is that I think the "word limit" might be wider... 400-ish at the short end, and 2500-ish at the long.

Good tips and very well written. Thanks. Thumbs up.


j cervantes 8 years ago

Good stuff. I certainly will consider these tips in my writing.

Much success.


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 8 years ago from California

Good inspiration. The key to writing is more writing.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Great article and I love especially your last paragraph on "Remembering to Forget".


MasonsMom profile image

MasonsMom 8 years ago from U.S.A.

Nice One!;)


AEvans profile image

AEvans 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

I am inspired to continue writing , this is what I had to see as sometime frustration sets in, hoever with perserverance I will succeed. :)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

Just the right recipe for a great article - great read, thanks!


MorganaMontgomery profile image

MorganaMontgomery 8 years ago from Concord, CA, USA

NICE article! Worth the Read, and thanks for the tips. I completely identify with the troublesome hidden muse at times as well. Your straight forward advice is inpiring, and I may visit this article again in the future.

Keep It UP!! :)


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

Ah! I found this just in time! This is a wonderfully written hub that reflects many ideas of my own. In fact, I'm in the process of writing a very similar hub, and I would like to make a reference to this one because you make points that I'm not touching on at all. Like...

Knowing when to stop can be difficult, and it can be just as difficult to know where to add extra meat.

I made the horrible mistake of having my brother proof one of my first hubs, and he kept telling me to condense it, shorten it, take out all the fluff, and I now think it was a mistake. Oh well, live and learn. :)


drgratton profile image

drgratton 8 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Thank you so much for your comments Pam and for referencing this hub in your latest work. You are so right in that, ultimately, you really do have to listen to your own creative intuition when it comes to editing. Sometimes that so called 'fluff' can be the very thing that make our articles so human - so us! Thanks again and warmest wishes, Sarah.


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

Your words are truly words of wisdom and have taken to heart.

I do tend to ramble and I like inserting lots of historical effects. If you get bored with Frank you can read about the history. It might be more fascinating.

Thank you for some great wisdom


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

You're welcome Sarah. :) Now that I'm done, my hub has turned into something totally different than I had originally intended, but it's still about writing, and your hub still fits it nicely, so I've added your link.

You're right about the fluff! I do feel the same, and I should have told my brother to go take something to lengthen his attention span just a tad. ;) lol!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

I agree with everything that's been said. A nice reminder that writing is an essential function of our beings. Love the comparison to Ann Lamott -- so true! And agree it's every effective to personalize your hubs. That makes it easier for your passion to shine through your rainbow:-)


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

I agree reading and writing is a way for me to relax(also exercize my right brain). Since I work in a software industry have deal too much with my Left brain....hehe


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Great read about writing, thanks for this!

I'm not entirely comfortable with the word limit :-) I think this would be somewhat dependent on the forum and hence the intended audience but, ultimately, it would have to be dependent on the message. I think a LOT can be conveyed with a very little amount of words (I practice with 100 word compositions, just to prove myself that very point), I just don't think it necessarily needs to be said with a limit.  I think high word count is only a "problem" when the content iterates and beats around the bush senselessly.  High word count may also be a "problem" if one sets out to read something that doesn't really hold any personal interest –it could withstand to be read if short, but not when too wordy.  Oh well, to each what works for them, I guess :-)


Jlbowden profile image

Jlbowden 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

Hello DR

Enjoyed your read about article writing so much that I voted it up, as well as awesome. Tend to have to agree with you that writing to me and other writer's; is like breathing in oxygen every day. I also find myself having a difficult time keeping my articles under 500 words. However writing a few articles for the Yahoo Contributor Network, has helped me keep my articles to the minimum. Besides picking up a few extra pointers from this article you have written. I always try to entertain my readers when I compose a hub or article. I also try to do this by writing within a variety of different niches. In the future will try to concentrate on a topic that interests me the most. Again thank you for sharing this inspirational information with your fellow writers here on hubpages.

Jl

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