While writing can be easy for some, it can be a very difficult endeavor for others. I don’t know how many times I have watched students and adults fret endlessly over a writing assignment. Here are a few rules for making it easier for those of you having a difficult time with writing assignments.
First, you have to understand the format. Every piece of writing should have an introduction, followed by the main body of the work and then a conclusion.
The introduction, in journalistic terms, the lead, should bring the reader in and “hook ’em,” so to speak. If you are writing a freelance article and want to collect a check for your work, this has to be strong. The person in whom you are setting the hook is the editor or the publisher. You have to pique their interest strongly enough to entice them to read all the way to the end of the article. If you are successful, they may offer you the assignment or pay you for the piece.
The body of your work will be the main part of the article or writing assignment. You have to write the main points of your argument logically—from the strongest points to the weaker, from what happened first to last, or from the most important to the least important. This is your opportunity to shine, or fall completely flat, as a writer.
If there is no logic to what you write, the editor is going to notice this. If you lose her or him in the process of arguing your point, they are not going to allow the same to happen to their readers. Consequently, they will not offer you the assignment or buy your piece if it is already finished.
There are a couple of ways to introduce and use logic in your writing. One is the old-fashioned outline. Another is to tie your thoughts together from one sentence to the next, from one paragraph to the subsequent ’graph. Here is something to keep in mind about the body of your piece: less is more.
By saying, less is more, this is the idea of keeping your writing simple and to the point. This is why I strive to keep my blogs somewhat condensed, using no more than 400 to 800 words per article. (Warning—unabashed self-boasting: Did you see how I tied the previous ’graph to this one by the phrase less is more?)
When you finish using your logic to tie your ideas together in the body, it is time for the conclusion. The last part of your writing should reinforce the main ideas of your argument. This should be no more than a couple of paragraphs.
Then if you want, you can put a single-sentence zinger at the end.
© 2011 J. Clark