Writing IS a process, but it’s all about getting started. So many people dread having to write, but often find that once they get started, their ideas start to flow. Here I’ll talk about some helpful tips that will help you get your next content piece off to a speedy start.
The most basic principle in writing is to know what you want to write about. Research your topic and be sure you have a wealth of information from which to pull ideas. Next it’s important to ask yourself several important questions:
• How much room or how many pages do I have to write?
• Who is my target audience? (Keep a certain age demographic in mind here.)
• What’s the purpose of my writing? (To inform? To persuade and sell? To entertain?)
• What ideas do I have the most information or knowledge on?
Now that you have these questions answered, begin to “map-out” your piece. This is most easily done by using (or creating) a graphic organizer. The two most commonly used organizers are lists and webs.
When making a list, it’s best to just get all of your ideas down first. Don’t worry about how they’ll flow together or which should come first. Think of it as a giant brain-storming session based on the research you’ve completed. After you feel that you have a nice-sized list of ideas, start eliminating based on how much information you actually have on each particular idea. Then begin organizing your list of ideas by numbering which should come first, second, third, and so on. Keep in mind that you want the ideas to flow smoothly together. Now that you have your list, jot down the keywords that best “fit” the ideas so that you can best optimize the content.
If you’re choosing to go with a web organizer, start by making a circle in the center of a piece of paper. Place your main topic here—let’s say you’re writing about party decorations. From that main circle, draw several lines branching out of it and draw another circle at the end of each line. These next circles each contain an idea that’s just a tad bit more specific than your main idea—backdrops, streamers, and balloons for example. Keep doing this until you feel that you’ve covered everything you need about your main topic. This organizer is very nice if you’re someone who struggles with paragraphing and trying to figure out when to start a new paragraph because each time you “change circles”, you start a new paragraph! Furthermore, the farther “out” your web goes the more supporting details you have to include in your piece.
Lastly, every strong writing piece begins with a powerful topic sentence in the introduction. You want to “hook” your reader and give them a taste of what they’ll be reading about later in the piece. The same goes for a content piece on your webpage. The top fields catch the most readers’ attention, so your topic sentence must dig into each reader to keep them reading. The longer your page keeps a reader’s attention, the more browsing he/she will do resulting in more sales for your company.
Now you’re equipped with some quick and easy tools to get you off to a speedy start on your next writing piece. Stay calm, have fun, let the ideas flow, and enjoy the process!