How To Write and Publish Your First Article
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
by Rachel Yeoh. |
Not gonna lie, it is intimidating.
Some time ago, I was an English teacher to a group of teens. Every time I gave them a writing assignment, I’ll hear a chorus of:
“Teacherrrrrrr, I dunno how to starrrrrt.”
“Teacherrrrrrr, why you give so difficult topic?”
“Teacherrrrrr, can write like this?”
I’d tell them to write whatever comes to mind, hoping to foster creative thinking. After a while, I realised that the problem isn’t that they don’t know what to write about, but how to write in a way that’s “perfect”. Perfect, meaning what I, as a teacher, want to read.
I am not the best writer or even a great writer - but I do write, despite. Today, I am going to teach you how to write your first article (after that, you can send it to CRUNCH!).
1. Find your voice
Huh? My writing got voice wan meh?
It is the way you present your string of words to the reader. It can be conversational, descriptive, or informational.
Try writing about a general topic you are interested in using the three general voices above. You’ll find that it is easier to do one of them as compared to the other two.
There are more ways to establish your voice in your work, but that takes some practice. In the meantime, start writing!
2. Fix a topic
Pick a topic that resonates with you. Appoint your passion, pet peeve, principles, or personality as the dictator of your piece.
Always remember, when you are writing on a topic for someone to read, you are seeking to inform your audience or put out an opinion to be considered. Therefore, you need to have sufficient knowledge or have experienced something you are writing about.
If you are looking to write for Crunch, they have a list of topics released every week. Screen through them and pick the one you feel you can write about.
3. Draft your skeleton
Don’t worry about how you are going to start just yet. Put down the foundation, the points that will give your reader insight, or keep them entertained. Remember, an article is not a blog post where you write the minute details of your life or your emotions. You are on a mission, and if you don’t know what that is, please refer to #1.
Note down the points you want people to take home. Unfortunately, many are lazy readers. They skim and scan the words and move on to the next thing that distracts them. Indexing (like what I have done here) helps your readers remember the key points of your message.
4. Dump the details
I like to fight the possibility of a writer's block before it blocks me. Therefore, it is encouraged to dump all ideas under each section of the skeleton before working on the piece.
Compile the 5 W’s and 1 H - the who, what, why, when, where, and how. Drop inspiration, information, personal story snippets that concern the topic or a funny note in your skeleton, so you won’t have interrupted writing once you start.
5. Start writing
Introduction: This is your opportunity to grab the attention of your readers. Start with a hook, a catchy sentence that will lure your readers to want to read more. It can be a joke, an OMG realisation, or anything that invokes or edifies an emotion (because humans are highly moved by emotion, not so much the intellectual facts)
Body: Having a skeleton will ease this process. Keep in mind to keep to the objective of the paragraph. You can have more than one paragraph for each section if you want, but it pays to be clear and concise to retain your readers.
Conclusion: Make it brief and summarise what you’ve written above in one or two sentences. Then give your readers something to “take back”, like a call-to-action, encouragement, or something to ponder on.
6. Get unstuck
Sometimes, you may get stuck. It is as if your brain cannot produce words that can work with what you are writing on, and that is normal!
All you have to do is try to continue writing.
The tip is to WRITE FIRST and EDIT LATER.
Just write what comes to your mind about the matter even though it may not make sense or fall nicely into your article. By keeping your brain juices flowing (squeeeeeezing it), you’ll pick up the rhythm soon enough.
If your brain seems fried, stop, take a walk, or consume other information through books or a YouTube video, you can always come back to your writing later.
But the priority is to write first, only if you can’t go on anymore do you take a break, or else, it might just take weeks for you to finish an article because you keep giving yourself excuses to take breaks.
Trust me; been there, done that!
You have now come to the end of a super simple guide on how to start writing your first article. Do not worry if you don’t think it is meh, it takes practice.
At the same time, don't be writing 50 articles and keep them for your eyes, only. Let them see the light of day!
Garner some courage to get your stuff published. If it does not make it to publication, chill! Ask how you can do better, and with time, you’ll get there.
Don’t be afraid to try, fam!
You can learn more about the writer on Instagram.