Bring out the writer in you

Aspiring writers wish to have their work published in print or digital media. As easy as it may sound, it requires planning and continuous learning. While anyone may think they can write, the question remains: is their writing good enough to appear in a print or digital publication?
The youth and adults, students and professionals, need to attune themselves to the basics of writing. Interestingly, this does not include writing, it involves non-writing actions. These are: reading, thinking, researching. As an aspiring writer, you need to read. The content you absorb becomes the thoughts and words you use to write. You need to think about what you have read for self-contemplation and self-analysis. It will help you ask questions that will facilitate research. In fact, research is akin to the writer’s soul. Even if writers are well aware of a topic, the research adds value to write-ups and blogs.
Reading, thinking, and researching comprise the pre-writing phase. This is where writers develop their knowledge about a topic, acquire insights, gather information, contemplate the angles of the topic and create a foundation before actually endeavoring to write. Consider information and vocabulary to be a writers’ weapon of choice. During the pre-writing phase, writers gather their arsenal.
The second stage is the writing phase which has three parts. Beginning, middle, and end. The ‘beginning’ refers to the introduction of the write-up that must have a hook to it. A hook is the first paragraph or in many cases the first few lines that grab the readers’ attention. It can either be a question, a quotation, a writer’s opinion, or a short story. Whatever the hook you may choose, it should connect directly with the topic and the content appearing in the preceding paragraphs.
The “middle” refers to the main body of the write-up. Writers share their opinion in this section while touching upon various angles of the topic and discussing them with examples or facts. The middle, comprising various paragraphs, explores the topic in detail. You should mention details and facts in chronological order or on the basis of their importance. Ideally, each paragraph should comprise one sub-topic with a relevant example, detail, fact, writers’ opinion. Discussing multiple messages in a paragraph will confuse the reader. These sub-topics must connect with the main topic. The “end” is where the writer concludes the write-up. Writers may add a suggestion, recommendation, or summarize facts with their opinion.
The third stage is the post-writing stage. Writers read their write-up and edit it for errors. There could be many errors such as grammatical, uneven sentence structures, spelling mistakes, irregular tenses, factual inaccuracies, missing punctuation marks, etc. This also includes changing sentences written in passive voice to active voice for more clarity; using synonyms to replace repetitive words, and using vocabulary appropriate to the write-up and for the readers.
Writers must edit the write-up for clarity and space. ‘Clarity’ is achieved through the following steps: by reducing the length of a sentence, dividing a long sentence into two shorter ones, omitting obvious statements, taking out irrelevant sentences, etc. Basically, the idea is to make the write-up as smooth as possible for the readers. ‘Space’ means that the write-up’s word count is according to what the print or digital media publication suggests. Writers must consider that a print publication has limited space. They must know the average word count of the sections of newspapers to plan their write-ups accordingly. While digital media publications have unlimited space, they do bound writers to a certain word count for editorial uniformity.
During the post-writing stage, writers focus on rechecking facts especially names of people, organizations, countries, along with details that are part of the write-up including nouns, proper nouns, etc. Readers do not like to read incorrect facts.
When sending an article to a publication, writers should write a brief cover letter that introduces themselves and the write-up. Writers need to know the publication, its policies, interests, and what topics it covers. They need to study past editions of the publication to know such insights. Writing is more about knowing about the topic, acquiring correct facts, and structuring sentences accordingly. It can be learned and developed through continuous practice.

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