A few tools and tips for writing great articles:
1. Making A Scene
You won’t always have a vilain, a hero, or a damsel in distress. Sometimes the story is just about a journey to a new place, or the story of a first date (girl meets new software feature. Why not?).
“The first eight drafts are terrible”
2. Unstuck Yourself
Keep a Thesaurus open in the next tab.
The Power Thesaurus is also a good tool, if the one mentioned above feels too confusing to look at.
Use it any time you get stuck, click on lots of suggested words. Read all the suggestions.
Open your mind to words and ideas.
“You can fix anything but a blank page.”
3. The Ten Edits
On a piece of paper draw 10 tally marks to represent editing rounds like so –
and make sure you cross each, during your text editing process.
The algorithms are your co-workers:
These apps will offer some editing that takes out the awkwardness, the passive voices, the overuse of adverbs, etc.
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
Ernest Hemingway, The Wild Years
4. Before You Hit PUBLISH
Set document View at 150%, or better yet –
print it out in 14pt size font and go over the page in another room.
5. Email Yourself The Article
I know it sounds like too much already, but… Before you finally do hit PUBLISH, copy, paste, send yourself via email.
Then go away from your desk and read your article (in your inbox) on your mobile.
Because anyway, over 50% of your readers will read it on mobile.
Above is a picture of a page from Marcel Proust‘s notebook.
Sometimes drafts are so bad, one needs to delete the entire page – like Proust did very often (=this means entire books written by hand, and a lot of time, was lost).