1. Remove your restrictions
Reduce your topic to a single word, and then generate ideas around it. For instance, if you’re writing about “Study Skills,” consider “School” as well. Now, jot down everything that comes to mind when you consider School, and when you run out of ideas, ask yourself open-ended questions about the topic and record your responses.
What was my favorite part of school?
What terrified me?
What did I wish I had known on the first day?
This will help you re-enter the mindset of a student struggling with any school-related issue, and you will begin to understand their concerns and worries.
2. Refocus your attention
Once you have begun to comprehend the general emotions of your readers, you may return your attention to your original topic, Study Skills. From your new vantage point, what inquiries would you pose? What information would you seek? Is this truly a “Studying” problem, or is it more a matter of Time Management, the ability to work without distractions, or being paralyzed by the fear of failing?
3. Be your audience
Each question should be written on a separate sheet of paper; do not stop until you have at least ten, and preferably more, questions. Remain in the mindset of your readers until you feel you’ve addressed all of their most pressing concerns.
4. Retract a step
Set your question pile aside for a few hours, or, if possible, overnight. Don’t consciously consider them; carry on with your day as usual. Allow your subconscious to process these thoughts without further prompting. If new questions arise, jot them down in a secure location and then forget about them.
5. Take out your writing instrument.
When you are prepared, sit down with your pages of questions and begin answering them. Writing your responses by hand can provide access to ideas that may be missed when typing. Do not self-edit at this stage. Using software that converts speech to text or a digital recorder can also assist in bypassing the internal editor.
Consider someone sitting in front of you and asking for advice. Simply converse with them. Maintain a natural, conversational tone and the question-and-answer format.
6. Edit minimally
Believe your initial instincts. Proofread and correct any glaring errors, but refrain from major editing until your work has “sat” for a while. Even if your deadline doesn’t permit it, you should give yourself a break from it.
When you’re pressed for time, writing multiple articles in a single sitting may cause you to “forget” the one you’ve just completed.
7. Clean it up
If you have written brief articles in accordance with this guide, they are unlikely to require significant revision. They will already flow easily and naturally, and having each question and answer on a separate sheet will make it easier to select only the desired responses. It is now your responsibility to arrange them in a reasonably logical order, ensure they are understandable, and lead the reader smoothly from one question and answer to the next.
8. Start and end it
Create a brief introductory paragraph that serves as a “teaser” for the main body of the article. Many article directories now include the first paragraph of each article in RSS feeds, which are picked up by other websites; therefore, you should ensure that your two or three most important keywords appear at least once in this paragraph.
Write another brief paragraph summarizing the article’s key points and offering the reader suggestions for further reading. Use the format a href=”http://www.SubmitYourNewArticle.com”>SubmitYourNewArticle.com/a> for your link, so that when your article is converted to HTML, the link is automatically active.