Want to boost your freelance writing career to a whole new level? You can, with the "article a day" technique. Just write an article a day, of around 400 to 800 words, every day for a week. Not only does this give you a swag of material you can sell, it also takes your writing skills to a new level.
I've been recommending this technique to my writing students for years, so I know it works. The primary reason it works is because writing is a skill that you get better at with practice, and writing consistently to a certain level builds your writing muscles. Writing requires the interaction of various parts of your brain. This interaction isn't developed without practice, nor does the interaction stay constant unless you consistently practice.
Try writing an "article a day" for seven days. At the end of the seven days you will be a better writer. You'll write much more easily too because this technique primes your idea pump. I guarantee that when you're working on one article, you'll get ideas for three others.
How long should your articles be?
Aim for a reasonable length: around 600 to 800 words is good, but shorty articles of 250 to 500 words work too.
If you want a quick formula to follow to write your articles, try the BEST formula.
The BEST formula
The BEST formula is an easy way to remember basic article structure. I discovered it in June Duncan Owen's book How To Write And Sell Articles, and I've been forever grateful, because it makes writing articles easy.
BEST is an acronym for:
B -- Bait
E -- Explanation
S -- Step
T --- Termination
The BAIT is also known as the hook. It's an intriguing beginning for your article. It can be a juicy fact, or an anecdote. Pick up six different magazines and look at the baits, the first couple of paragraphs, in each article in those six magazines. All the baits in the articles will be different.
Don't spend too long writing the bait for an article. I often write the bait after I've finished an article. When you're writing your seven articles for the next seven days -- and forever afterward -- don't be too enraptured or concerned with the bait paragraph or paragraphs. Your bait is important, but not so important that you stall over it, and never get around to writing the article.
This part of your article explains the article's subject, or thesis. If you're writing about a computer program, you can explain what the program does in a nutshell, or why the program is important. If you're writing a personality profile, the explanation tells the reader why he should read the profile.
Sometimes you won't need an explanation, it will be covered in the article's headline and the bait.
The Step (s)
The Steps are your argument. They can be individual anecdotes, or pieces of evidence. If you're writing about a computer program, the Steps could be various ways of using the program, or how to get started with the program. If you're writing a profile, the Steps could be your subject's career, his family life, the details of his run for office, or the details of how he won the tennis championship, what others say about him, and so on.
The ending of the article.
In the case of the article about the computer program, it could be how many people have bought the program, when the next version will be available, or where you can buy it. In your personality profile, the ending could be a final quote from the subject.
A circular ending, when you manage to refer to the bait or the explanation in the ending, is satisfying, and is an easy way to wrap the article up without working too hard. Although the BAIT formula seems like a simple formula, it will release your creativity. It gives you a structure, which is always the hardest task in writing an article.
So go ahead. Write an article a day for the next seven days. This simple exercise will do amazing things for your freelance writing career.
Copyright 2006 Angela Booth
About the author:
Angela Booth is a veteran freelance writer and copywriter. She also teaches writing. Visit Angela Booth's Writing Blog at http://copywriter.typepad.com/ for daily writing inspiration and motivation. Her new ebook, Writing For The Web at http://www.abmagic.com/Web_Write/Web_write.html shows you how to develop a successful freelance writing career for the Web.
By: Angela Booth