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Thursday 01 November 2012

How to Write an Article in 30 Minutes

This is a step by step guide to writing articles in under 30 minutes. This will be particularly useful to those of you needing to generate original content for your websites. The more original content on your website, the more it will be found by people online.

Before you begin the process of writing an article you should have a clear idea of what you want to write about and what you want to impart to your reader. Knowing what you are writing about and having a clear direction will really help you stay focused.

The first step is to prepare yourself. You sole objective for the next 30 minutes is to write an article. That means removing all distractions from your environment so you can focus on the task in hand. Finish any drinks you might have on your desk, go to the bathroom, switch your mobile phone onto silent and close your e-mail.

Secondly just a quick note on skills. If writing articles is something you will need to do regularly, learn to touch type and to speed read. The investment in time spent learning these skills will be repaid tenfold over the course of your life.

Creating an original article is a three step process: research, writing and editing. For the entire task of creating the article to be completed in 30 minutes each of these steps need to be restricted to a time-scale. You should spend 15 minutes on research, 10 minutes typing the article then five minutes editing the article. This brings to light the first tool for the task: a timer (a domestic kitchen time will be just fine). Using a timer creates a self imposed deadline. You will find yourself more focused and working harder whilst the timer is ticking down.

So first and foremost is the research and for this you should turn to the internet. Specifically use search engines to find sources for your research. The most popular search engine at the time of writing is Google. However most people do not know about Google's advanced search feature (see our article Advanced Google Search). The advanced search will help you greatly in finding specific information that you want to include in your article.

There are some really useful tools you can use to help you capture any information you find that you want to include in your article. Begin by using the web browser Firefox, which can be downloaded for free online (download Firefox here). The Firefox web browser allows you to install add-ons and there are two that are particularly useful: “Textise” and “Copy Pure Text”. Textise allows you to view a web page as text only, removing all images and styling (download Textise here). This can make reading much easier. Copy Pure Text allows you to copy any text from a web page without including formatting such as bold and italicised styling (download Copy Pure Text here).

When you find information that you would like to include in your article, copy it and paste it into a word processing document. Word processing applications are freely available to download online and when writing your article it is very important to use one. See our article on the Top 5 Free Software Applications for advice on a free word processing application. The information you are gathering at this stage should not be directly included in your article. As such the research for your article should be contained in a separate document to your actual article.

Using the advice and recommended tools, you should be able to gather a good amount of information to base your article on within 15 minutes.

The next stage is writing a draft of your article. It is important to approach this with the right attitude – you are writing a draft and it wont be perfect or polished. That is what the editing stage is for. This stage is about fleshing out the bulk of your article and getting thoughts on paper. Write without hitting the delete key, leave spelling mistakes to be corrected in editing, just let your creativity flow.

Your article should take the following format: introduction, body, conclusion. You should aim for a minimum of five paragraphs: one for the introduction, three for the body and one for the conclusion. This should result in an article of between 400-500 words.

Before you actually start writing it is important to make sure you are using the correct tool for the job – a word processing application. For spell checking alone this in invaluable. Word processing applications are available for free online.

In your introduction tell the reader what the article is about and the benefit they will get by reading it. The point of your introduction is to tempt your reader to read the rest of your article.

In each of your body paragraphs, explain in detail one of the points you want to convey to the reader. This will really help you keep the article on topic.

In your conclusion simply summarise the information you have conveyed in your body paragraphs.

The final stage of the process of writing your article is to edit it. Start by correcting any spelling. Using a word processing application this should be very quick and easy. Next read your article from start to finish, correcting any grammatical errors as you go. Only once you have read it through completely should you then alter sentence structure and flow. As you have just written the article this should be quite quick and only take you five minutes. Once you are finished editing you have your finished article and all in under 30 minutes.

So to write an article in 30 minutes use the correct tools for the task, time yourself, know what you want to write about, remove any distractions from your writing environment, focus your research, write a structured draft without editing and finally invest in your skills if this is something you will be doing regularly.


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