How do I start writing articles that people want to read and bookmark?

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Answered by: Darshi, An Expert in the How to Write Well Category
Writing is a simple skill of translating thoughts to words. But writing articles that people want to read has several ingredients.

What matters to the reader is HOW the thought has been translated to words. And more importantly, what "feeling" does the writer evoke into the reader's senses when she reads the piece. Since the end-product of a writer's work is a combination of thoughts, the key is to grab and hold the attention of the reader at all times.

The reader's mind is a wandering bee. The first goal of writing well is to hook the reader. This brings us to the two fundamentals of a masterpiece blog article: (1) The Title, and (2) The Body

(1) Title:

Design the title of your article such that the reader feels an urge, curiosity, or need to click on your article or scroll down and read further. But if you know this already, let's figure how to do it.

The simple way to do this well is by using combination of words that evoke a specific feeling in the reader's mind. While the feeling of "curiosity" works very well, it is the emotion of "fear" that dominates all others.

The title could evoke fear, albeit in a subtle way. You don't want to be a writer who makes it obvious that you are trying to instil fear.

This means that a title should make the reader feel "fear of missing out on an amazing piece of information". The fear of missing out. The fear of not knowing when you can know it all in the next few seconds by reading the article. This is the secret to be able to capture readers and make them want to read what you write. It takes practice to craft the perfect title that your readers would absolutely want to explore.

(2) The Body:

Once you've achieved the first goal of hooking the reader through your title, you now want to play on the hook. The hook can last for a few seconds, so introduce the subject, or what you want to say, but not with an incredibly long sentence. The moment a reader on the web sees a long sentence, the interest starts diminishing, unless you've crafted the sentence with real thought and sophisticated guile.

Easier way is to keep sentences short, to 13-18 words. Then mix them up with shorter sentences of 3-8 words. Like this one. This maintains the flow of the article and wants the reader to go to the next sentence. The worst 'writer crime' is to break the flow.

It is recommended that you write the entire article without thinking much about the flow. That's because your own thoughts should first be captured in the raw form first. But once you're done, read the article, and make changes to:

a) sentence structures for length of sentence and the meaning,

b) deleting words that are not required,

c) Mixing up long and short sentences well,

d) Grammar and word usage.

Some of the best writers revise their work repeatedly.

Revise your first draft 1,2,3,n times till you get your message absolutely concise and spot on. A good example of this is E.B White who wrote a paragraph on the first moon walk. His 1st draft was 310 words, while his 6th draft was 213 words (Link to his drafts is at the bottom of this article). That's a difference of almost 100 words! If you can convey the same message by chopping some words, then you should not be having those words in the final draft.

This is called "brevity".

A final tip for writing articles that people want to read, is to stand in your reader's shoes. If I write this "this way", and then write the next thought "here, this way", would the reader be disinterested? I'm the writer, I find it interesting. But does the reader, too? It doesn't matter what you find interesting. If you're writing for the audience, then indeed, write FOR the audience. Keep them engaged throughout the body of article.

Practise these and feel the difference in the comments on your blog/social media platform or wherever you're writing!

Remember: Writing is a simple translation of thoughts, but writing well is writing once, revising several times. Writing masterpieces is writing with Applied Psychology.

Link to EB White's revised drafts:

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