Note: If you already have a main idea / topic for writing and simply need help getting started, skip to the last section: Do: GET STARTED NOW.
Do start with a purpose and stay focused on your topic!
Ask yourself: “What do I want my reader to learn and/or feel after reading my article?”
Write out your message as clearly and completely as you can right away. This does not have to begin your paper or article, but it will help you remain on topic.
Don’t use repetition.
It is a poor habit of many writers and good bloggers to repeat themselves. Remember to get an editors input on repeating thoughts. Even if you acknowledge it with ‘in other words’ repetition is often a waste of time for your audience. (I battle this habit myself.)
Do include proof or facts that support your message.
Have at least one or two supporting outside sources that prove your stance. If you need a little “fluff” you can add one or two facts that disprove another person’s argument. It’s completely acceptable to disagree with others, but it would be wise to get someone else’s opinion on whether you come across in earnest or just argumentative.
Don’t jump back and forth presenting both sides of an argument.
There is nothing more daunting than reading an article from an undecided author. While it is important to show both sides of an argument, it is more important (as the writer) to solidify your own firm stance for your readers.
Do use paragraphs to separate different views of an argument.
If you have sufficient details to support two or more different sides of an issue you should put each standpoint into its own separate paragraph. Check out Paragraph Dos and Don’ts for more on this.
Don’t let paragraphs get too long.
Paragraphs that take up a half or a whole page could probably be broken down into three or four paragraphs. You could even use headers, bullet points, graphs or even pictures to replace many globs of words!
Do – GET STARTED NOW
You may have come across this article because you were searching for the right rules and formats to get your message across to your reader as optimally as possible.
I am going to share some of the best advice I have ever gotten as far as writing. It was a time when I was to write a paper for a college class and I had unfortunately waited until the last minute to even begin. I called up a ADD coach I happened to be working for: Frank Coppola who still does coaching at ADDingPerspective.com.
I told him it was very important I started and finished it right away, but I had some sort of writer’s block. And he said these very simple golden words that I absolutely needed to hear.
“First” he said, “say what you’re going to say and then simply build on it from there.”
Then I realized I was making it too complicated. even though I technically knew what I wanted to say I was waiting for the perfect words. <- And that hidden habit of trying to make my first draft as perfect as possible was the reason I kept procrastinating. I had always felt it was a waste of time to write a second draft.
That's the beauty of writing on a computer, we no longer need to re-write anything. It isn't like we are writing with pen and paper and white-out anymore. The first, second, and final drafts are all on the computer screen now. We can copy and paste and rearrange our words so much easier now than we could in grade school when we were learning about the "process of writing".
So go ahead: Just say what you're going to say.
One Last Tip: For marketing or persuasive writing you may want to buy or borrow Hypnotic Writing by Joe Vitale.