Most budding journalists or authors thing that paper and publication is the only way to be a legitimate author, but I always counter with “why not a blog?” To that I often get furrowed brows and hazy looks. A Blog! That’s not writing!
I recall criticism of Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs and their practice of typing out stream of consciouness. One critic said “that’s not writing, its Typing!” I wonder what the beat authors would have done with blogs!
But blog or not, there are ways to write for any publication and topics that will always garner readers. Like Jennifer Garner? Bad pun.
There are as many methods or advice columns as there are disagreements, it seems, but suffice it to say that with the internet as the up-and-coming publication of the millennium, how to write a piece for an online publication is a safe place to start.
HOW to WRITE a SIMPLE ARTICLE
There are rules and competitive strategies for learning how to write a keyword-rich article, so I will save you the advanced details and possible advancement of a headache…and launch into how to write a simple article for an online database, one that accepts and offers its readership free articles, for example. In addition, I will focus solely on the genre or type of article that is typically most accessible, or useable/readable.
Every website (or almost every website) has a general theme—a connectedness of topic or concern. So imagine you are going to write for a kitchen cabinet design firm. The company needs ten articles to start. (Again, this is just a hypothetical scenario; most sites are looking at building a database of 300+ articles….) Just as many of us experienced in college classes where the numbers of students were auditorium-sized and the instructor therefore gave loose assignments to write, say, a ten-paged paper on anything to do with California history, the web master or mistress will ask for ten articles related to kitchen cabinets. This is where you get to be imaginative, or at least inventive.
Stand in your kitchen and stare at your kitchen cupboards. What are all the ways to say cabinet? What parts, tools, and techniques are involved in designing and crafting and installing this handy closed-in structure or component? What are all the kinds of materials used in building one? What is the oldest cabinet you have ever seen? (I saw one on Craigslist the other day that was an apothecary cabinet, circa the 1920’s, made of steel and glass.) So, for starters, you can see how to write a piece on cabinets, one would consider origin, materials, and designs/types/styles. That is, you can see how to write a few paragraphs in variation you might approach as follows:
*Use a/a number of Definition/s- define the terms used in cabinetry. A glossary is most informative and helpful to the potential buyer, user, or even beginning/apprentice carpenter.
*Try a Bulleted List- post specifics/details as a readable and easily scanned list of facts or trivia.
*Do a Survey of X – write an article that covers the history of the thing, concept, event, experience, person, or place….
*Cover Style/Type Variations – with many products or items comes a string of time periods (history), and with these come new movements, new styles.
Further, how to write a piece includes what this very article purports to do: show readers how to X—in the case of cabinets, how to choose, how to decorate, even how to build, install, clean, upgrade, etc. would work nicely.
In addition, here are a few more popular formats:
The Q and A – use existing questions and make up your own, then answer them.
The Narrative – people love stories.
Try Quotes and Trivia – if applicable, quotes are as interesting as tales and discussions of trials and tribulations and success—with, in this last case, cabinets.
This ought to give you a start with how to write a publishable/saleable article. You could start with your own web site and see what responses you get. Or you could create pages for a friend. Just get practicing…and have fun doing so.
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