The writing process

I spend a fair bit of time writing articles for this site, and while I’ve found a workflow that I’m reasonably happy with, I’m quite convinced that it isn’t the most efficient way of writing. So here’s a question for those of you who write articles, books, reviews, or tutorials: what does your writing workflow look like?

What word processing application (or applications) do you use? Is the process different if you’re writing something for your own site or if you’re contributing to a community site (Digital Web Magazine, A List Apart, evolt.org, Web-Graphics, etc) or a magazine? When and where do you write? How do you keep track of article ideas?

I’m not a professionally trained writer, so I’m just doing things the way that works for me, starting with an idea and ending with a published article. However, as in most other areas I’m always looking for ways to improve. My current workflow usually goes something like this:

Getting an idea

I get ideas for articles and tutorials when I read about something on the web, read a question on a mailing list, get a real life question from someone, run into a problem or issue at work, get an email from someone visiting my site, or (and this actually happens quite a lot) an idea pops into my head just as I’m falling asleep or if I wake up in the middle of the night.

Once I get an article idea, I scribble it down in a notebook (of the physical kind, made of paper, using a pen). Just a few words or a couple of sentences to help me remember what the main subject is.

Writing

Then comes the hardest part. The actual writing. An idea will often sit in my notebook for weeks before I’m in the right mood to write about it.

Many articles require research, some more than others. Unless I’m writing about something that’s just based on my opinion, I really want to get as many facts right as possible. This part can be pretty time consuming, but you can be sure that someone will find (and be quick to point out) any mistakes you make. That’s great for the most part, but sometimes it can lead to nitpicking that takes the focus away from the actual subject of the article, so I want to get the facts nailed down as best I can. Nobody is perfect though, so it’s nice knowing that any errors are very likely to be caught by my readers.

When I actually start writing, I tend to use the same application I use for coding (currently BBEdit). While I’m writing the article, I add any HTML elements needed for semantics (paragraphs, links, emphasis, lists, etc). It can be a bit awkward, and this is where I feel there must be smarter and more efficient ways of working with text.

Up until recently, I’d always sit at the desk in my living room while writing. I felt more and more restricted by being stuck there, so that’s the major reason I had for buying an iBook. Now I can just take my iBook G4 and write wherever I want unless I’m in the research phase of an article, which almost always requires Internet access. I’ve found plenty of open wireless access points around the city though, so that isn’t a huge problem.

Editing and publishing

When I’ve finished writing, I normally let the article “rest” a bit. A couple of days, sometimes a week. Then I read it again, make edits, have someone else read it, make more edits if necessary. I keep editing the article until I’m happy with it, or I can’t be bothered anymore and just want to get it out the door.

Once an article is finished, I wait for a good time to post it. I try to always have at least a couple of articles ready for publishing.

That’s about it. After publishing, I keep an eye on any comments and other feedback, and if necessary I’ll update the article. At this stage, the text has been entered into MovableType, so I’ll do any minor edits through the web browser interface.

I don’t know how different this process is from anyone else’s. It does feel a bit inefficient though, so if you have any good writing tips, please share.

Posted on January 26, 2005 in Writing

Comments

  1. I use Word for writing my articles. I like the auto spell check and grammar check of Word. I am a terrible typist because I don’t look at the screen when I type, so I often have spelling mistakes. Word helps me overcome that.

    Then I bring it into Dreamweaver to add HTML. Dreamweaver has a bunch of keyboard shortcuts that makes adding most HTML a snap.

    You may want to hop over to HotPepper.ca to enter in the wifi hotspots in your area. It would be a great place for you to keep track of and to help others find them in the future.

  2. I’m glad that there are other people whose writing process is so similar to mine. I also put HTML tags in the text during writing it and I agree that there must be some more effective way of publishing ideas. I’ll follow these comments to make the acquaintance of the others’ ideas.

  3. It’s interesting to look at how other people write, while I havent written alot yet im looking to do more. The stuff I have allready written also has html, so your not alone there.

  4. I’m working on my own weblog system at the moment, which will have features like WYSIWYG editting, which will put out valid (X)HTML so that writes comfortably. Then I also want to create a feature which saves a potential article as “draft”, so you can work on different times on articles in an easy way. And spell checking (complicate to write a good one by yourself) is done by the magnificent “Spellbound plugin” for Firefox which works the same as the spellcheck in Thunderbird. Very handy.

    And all these things would hopefuly make it as comfortable as - it could be - to write some nice articles with.

    By the way, idea’s for writing articles about; I just keep in mind when I get an idea. It’s all in the ;)

  5. Whoops, the last word should be <head />… :)

  6. If I’m not near a computer, I jot down article notes in a little pocket Rhodia pad. If I am at a computer, xPad keeps track of all my snippets of information, links, etc., until I can form them into something more cohesive. xPad is great because there’s no need to save, you can have hundreds of documents in the same place, and it has all the Cocoa/OS X text-formatting goodies built in.

    When I’m ready to actually write a post, I usually write it in xPad, using Textile syntax, and then copy it into the WordPress “new post” window. Of course, I usually try to write several drafts, wait at least a few hours, and then edit it one last time before actually posting.

  7. When I get ideas for any of the longer articles that I write, I create a draft in MovableType. Then I’ll put in any notes in rough draft form until I’m ready to actually write and fine tune the article. For that, I usually do it up in Dreamweaver since it can act like a word processor but keeps things in an HTML format that’s easy for cutting and pasting.

  8. I too use BBEdit, but I’ve made glossary items for the most-often used bits of code, and assigned keyboard shortcuts to them.

    I actually prefer to see the code rather than the effects of the code, probably because it gives me the the illusion of being in creative control. Sort of like a composer writing notes but hearing the music (or something).

    I’m impressed that you have the discipline to keep several articles in reserve. When I’m done writing I’m done writing, and out it goes.

    Finally: The main difference between freelance paid work and personal blog writing is that whenever I start to write something for my blog I have no idea where I will end. I think and learn through the process of writing. It’s the main reason I blog — it’s a creative process I can’t recreate any other way.

  9. I’ve started using the draft status in WordPress for my longer ‘articles’. Sometimes they can sit for weeks before I get back to them.

  10. When I get ideas for posts, I used to just remember them but I found I kept forgetting about the good ones. So, I made a todo list file where I just write the title of the post. It’s currently got about 7 listed.

    When I have time to write, I’ll usually pick the most interesting from the list and just sit down and take a few hours to write/research the whole thing. I often use word for this process to make use of the spell checking; though word’s a pain the a** for writing code samples, so I try to leave those till later.

    Editing takes anywhere from just a few hours to 2 or 3 days, depending on the size of the article, the number of facts and opinions that I need to get right and how clearly I wrote it the first time through.

    Then, if possible, I get it looked at by someone else to pick up grammatical errors and puncuation mistakes; though I’ve found the more I write, the better I get and the less I need to worry about that.

    During the editing process, I generally copy everything from word to dreamweaver which marks up paragraphs and headings for me automatically since I make use of the semantic styles available in word. As I’m reading through in dreamweaver, I apply inline markup, lists, pre and other sections that don’t work automatically. Lastly, I go through and add appropriate links where appropriate.

    I generally publish as soon as it’s all been edited and marked up. I usually don’t keep more than one article around that hasn’t been published. That’s basically because I can’t work on more than one thing at a time, so I have to finish and publish before I move onto the next.

  11. Good thoughts. I’ve been investigating this process as well. One of the things I’ve been guilty of far more than I’ll admit, is rushing into writing something up, only to have less quality and poor fact checking. I’d really like to improve my articles - and this is an excellent post for me, as it gives insight to how you and your readers deal with similar issues.

    Thank you!

  12. I start in DW in WYSIWYG mode. Write, spell check, go over my grammar, switch to code view, clean, post to WordPress.

    For short things (less than 4 paragraphs) it’s just written directly in WordPress - auto formatting is my friend.

  13. Interesting too read how everybody else does this.

    My workflow is very similar to the one described in the initial post. I get a ton of ideas. What I do is that I open a new Word document, write the headline + a few comments - then save it in my “article ideas” folder. I am currently overloaded as I got 211 articles waiting to be written.

    Turning one of these ideas into an article usually takes 2 hours to several days. When I feel the article is finished, important areas is emphasized, headlines is tweaked, and the article undergoes a general editing. But, I use the “track changes” feature in word to manage the editing process.

    Then it is left to itself for 24-48 hours, after which it is reopened for final editing. Meta tags, keywords, publication date, and end date is added (all articles beyond the end date is marked “out of date” - unless I re-release them.)

    Finally the article is turned into an XML file (manually), and added to the CMS system.

    I would like to be more efficient editing - and have the publishing part automated (and I am working on a solution using Word VBA).

  14. Hi Roger, My process is similar to yours:

    Capture -> Draft -> Revise -> Review -> Publish

    Capturing is most often done with the Scrapbook Extension for Firefox. I was finding that there were too many times I’d seen something online I wanted to write about, but I’d forget where it was 10 minutes later. Using Scrapbook I can capture full pages or selections of a web page to local folders that allow me to annotate the entries, organize them, and keep them avaialable in my sidebar. When an item is captured, Scrapbook also keeps the original URL so you can go back later. It has been a very valuable time-saver and keeps me from losing ideas in the ether. When I’m somewhere else and the mood strikes to write, I use the memo feature of my BlackBerry, which is then copied to my desktop machine when I next synchronize.

    The draft happens pretty quickly - its either created from the Scrapbook comments I’ve created (which can be exported as HTML), or straight in Textpad. All my drafts get stored in my @writing folder on the network share so I can work on them from any computer on the network (@ symbol so it is at the top of my folder list). Eventually when they are finished I clean them out and move them to the writing folder on the same share (note, no @ symbol). I usually have about 5 - 10 pieces drafted at any one time.

    As for revisions, I like to take time away from the pieces as well - anywhere from a day to 5 days, though some pieces haven’t ever been revised. Coming back to it with a fresh mind is key.

    I usually find that when revising I am often reordering things to make the most important bit appear at the top of the article. My goal is to help people decide in the first paragraph whether or not they should continue reading.

    My final revision comes when I’m marking up the article. Block elements first, then the inline stuff. I spend quite a bit of time changing wording at this stage in order to have links make sense out of context. I’ll rewrite entire paragraphs at this stage if I think the links will be better understood.

    Copy, paste in to the cms, a final run through for spelling and grammatical errors, and finally, publish.

  15. At the moment I am draft writing an article with someone from Sverige, I myself have chosen to start with RTF format for the first draft modules because it’s fast and easy.

    Albeit at some stage it will have to enter HTML since RTF won’t be suitable for the later more complex drafts.

    Then when it gets fully rolling we will be using (x)html then finally we’ll add the hooks and CSS and begin the final editing stage - hopefully.

  16. I use the draft status in Wordpress to collect subjects and titles for future articles. When it comes to writing something, I don’t trust technology enough to just write it straight into the Wordpress editing window (I know my browser would crash before I had saved it). I start in Metapad, and write until I’ve finished, putting in HTML elements and entities as and when it’s necessary. Then I’ll copy and paste the whole lot into Word for a quick spell-check, and then I’ll copy and paste that into Wordpress. I’ll then publish it, and proofread the live copy.

    The live proofing is, without question, a bad way of doing it, but I’m a creature of habit.

  17. January 27, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Thanks everybody for sharing some of your writing secrets ;-) It’s interesting to see that many of us use a similar workflow.

    I’ve started trying out xPad, mentioned by Feaverish in comment #6, and it does look pretty useful.

    I really need a standalone app to work in. Anything that’s browser based feels clunky, awkward and… unreliable. And it requires constant Internet access.

    I don’t have Word or DreamWeaver, so that rules them out. I could download tryouts, but both are a bit too expensive, so…

    Anyway, keep it coming. This is very interesting reading.

  18. What about iWork from Apple :)

  19. I find that more and more I’m doing all my writing in XStandard. I like that it already creates the code I want (images, links and so forth) and comes with a built in spellchecker (after I spent a hell of a long time trying to install the php extension)

    Otherwise, I usually edit in Editpad lite. No spellchecker, but meh.

    -Ryan

  20. I use MT and draft mode saves. If I am on the road I generally keep a scrap piece of paper (which I hope to replace with a Treo650) and I’ll draft those notes up later. I can’t work in one place. I have three workstations, two laptops, and a number of terminals. My information needs to stay centralized and viewable from different enviornments. Staying in your blogging software is generally good for that.

    What I have trouble with accepting is the die on the vine ideas. I’ll keep drafts and I’ll have half written articles that in time end up being too old to publish. I’m not sure how to keep myself more timely on things I want to write about, or somehow find a phrasing that allows me to reflect on ideas that have lost time-sync.

    Writing is just like any creative process and because of that its hard to find an end all be all tool to capture such a chaortic individualized mentality. We can only generalize and use what is available.

    -a

  21. I always write everything directly into the text field in my CMS. I have it set up with Textile and XMLGetRequest so that I can see a live preview of it. Once I am reasonably satisfied with the results I’ll copy and paste it into Word for spell check, then post it to the site.

    As for the actual writing, I do most of my best writing when I drive to work in the mornings and back home at night. Unfortunately I never actually get a chance to write any of that down and usually end up losing the topic by the time I’m near something I can record my thoughts on.

  22. At Digital Web Magazine we have a small editoral staff so it’s quite a bit different than just blogging. Blogging you go in, you write, you edit, you publish and you are done. With publishing in a ezine environment such as Digital Web Magazine (and also sites like A List Apart and Boxes and Arrows) the material must be reviewed by an editor, proofread by a copy editor, maybe even marked up by a technical editor. Sometimes this process involves only two people; the writer and the editor. Sometimes, like on Digital Web Magazine, it can be one person for each role, or a total of five people in our case.

    Why all the complicated workflow and why so many people involved? Well, first and formost when you publish as much as we do you have to evaluate any contributed works to ensure they meet the focus of your publication and help guide it in the right direction. As we all know, this isn’t always how it works out.. sometimes there are tagent articles, but for the most part the staff help guide the publication.

    The other thing is, no matter what you tell yourself, as the author of a piece of work, you can only notice so many errors, typos, and details about your piece. It’s always good to have more than one additional critical eye on the piece before you publish it. In fact, we make all of our authors proofread their work by someone other than themselves before they even send it to us.

    The other thing is, and this was talked about a lot at the Blog Business Summit, is schedule. If you plan to really maintain a strong readership you need to have some level of regularity in your publishing scheudle. Not only that, but it helps to plan things like double issues covering the same topic, etc. If you don’t have the schedule you might as well as count your site’s visitors as random hits rather than a dedicated readership.

    Lastly, I think the number one most important thing you can do is listen to your readers. Hear what they have to say about your writing and if they don’t say much, be more up front and ask them for advice. If you don’t, you’ll never know if you are simply building a readership one week, then replacing that readership the next week with a whole different set of readers based on the material you are publishing. Not to mention, you’ll never know what subjects the readers want to see more in-depth pieces on.

  23. January 27, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Thomas: iWork also looks interesting. I’d need to try it hands on before buying it though, and since Apple aren’t offering a tryout version, well, tough for them, they aren’t getting my money.

    Derek: I’ll take a look at the Scrapbook extension. Thanks for the tip.

    Nick: Thanks for describing the editorial process at Digital Web Magazine. I think it would be great to have the backing of a team like that. As you say, it’s easy to overlook something if you’re the only person proofreading your articles. I tend to catch most typos myself, and rarely make any spelling mistakes (one reason I have for not using a word processor), but for checking facts and getting the order of things and the general “feel” of an article right, an extra pair of eyes would be great.

    B: You’re not actually writing and driving at the same time, are you? ;-)

  24. Thanks for the article. I almost uses the same process too.

    • First I have bunch of ideas that have in my head. The ideas are mostly from reading other articles on the net and common problems I stumble on in my daily work.
    • Next I add the new articles in WP. I just add the heading for it. Maybe some words about it so I can recall what I was thinking. They can lay there for quite a while.
    • When I start writing I mostly start adding headings and subheadings, starting to group my content and ideas into a more structure. Sometimes I just add a few words, a sentence and sometimes a whole article. It all depends on time and mood.

    • As for html examples and such I make the examples in Dreamweaver and copy and paste it into the articles. I also uses the WP Markdown extension for marking up the content quickly.

    • When done, I also let it rest for a few days. This is something I have started with lately. In the beginning I was in such a rush to publish my articles. I think the quality is important so this is really a good way of working.
    • As English is not my mother language I really need to spell check my writing. I use the Spellbound extension in FF (this post is checked with this extension). It works fine but it is not as good as Word with the grammatical errors. The benefit is that I can write from any online computer.
    • After looking through the article in a few days and correcting whatever I found I publish it.
    • Sometimes when looking at older published articles I can find things that I think needs to be updated, either i write a new article or I update the old one.

    I just tried out the scrapbook extension and it seems to be great for keeping stuff but not as a bookmark.

  25. Of course I am writing and driving at the same time, I’m American.

  26. Stopping picking my brain Roger!

    • I tend to overwrite, then come back later and trim and refine.

    • When proofing, try reading it backwards. Not word for word, you get the idea.

    • Always let it rest. Always have at least 2 people proof it for you.

    This topic is one article in the series I mentioned to you in that email last week Roger. Writing is hard! It takes so much longer than coding. At least for me. I’m just about ready to release it, I’ll drop you another note when I do.

    Thanks, Doug

  27. I can’t beleive you don’t use Markdown and SmartyPants plugins for Movable Type.

    Or maybe you do? I can’t see it mentioned anywhere in the article.

    You can integrate them even in BBEdit when you write.

  28. January 30, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Douglas: Looking forward to seeing the finished versions of those articles!

    Sime: Several people have mentioned using Markdown while writing. I probably would too if I could figure out how to make my keyboard (Swedish, Mac) produce “backticks”, which are needed to markup inline code examples with Markdown.

  29. January 31, 2005 by huixing

    stevenbarlinjohnson.com has the article called Tool For Thought.
    http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/movabletype/archives/000230.html

  30. January 31, 2005 by Tommy

    Merlin at 43 Folders has me hooked on Ulysses. A tad expensive, but it is a wonderful product for those of us who write a lot.

  31. When I write, depending on what I’m writing, and what it’s intended end-use is (blogging, work-related writing, long essay/article-type pieces) I do a few different things.

    Typically, if there’s something long winded that I’m going to write about, I’ll put it all together in a word document or in a text tool like BBedit, flag text where I know I’ll want to include links, or firm up research sources. I’ll work with drafts in this format for quite some time, and then give it a rest, and a final run through before committing it to final copy and getting it ready to publish somewhere, somehow.

    For blogging purposes, though, I tend to dump links, titles, or small bits of information in my drafts file in wordpress. Any time I go back into wordpress to post, my list of drafts is right there, staring me in the face, which always prompts me to open them back up and review or add to them as necessary. When I’ve refined one or more to the point where I decide it’s “publishing” material, it’s a simple click of the publish button to send it on it’s merry way. I make a lot of good use of the preview tool in wordpress - it suits this purpose well.

    I’ve also started using ta-da lists (www.tadalist.com) by 37 signals to keep track of ideas, random links and thoughts. It’s super-simple and easy to create new lists based on subject categorization or time periods.

  32. Capturing and Organizing Ideas:

    I just started blogging yesterday… but I’ve written multiple books and hundreds of magazine articles, so I thought my input might be helpful. Here’s how I go about capuring ideas for magazine articles and books that I write:

    -On my Mac, I use Hog Bay Notepad to capture and organize my random article/book ideas. I have folders for books, magazine articles, web ideas, etc. Whenever I get an idea, I plop it in HogBay.

    -I also have a Tablet PC (HP tc1100) and use microsoft OneNote for the same which is far superior to any other note taking software I have ever seen (and the sole reason for my purchase of a PC). I take notes in my own handwriting (printing actually)… I can add sketches and other doodles and OneNote converts the handwriting to text behind the scenes so I can search my handwritten notes! I don’t even have the keyboard attached (I honestly haven’t used the keyboard for more than five minutes total)… so I use it as a slate style tablet all the time.

    I also have a rubberized case with shoulder strap that encloses all but the screen side of the tablet. I keep the tablet on my shoulder whenever I travel and I can start jotting notes in less than 5 seconds of getting one (the PC’s wake from from standby delay) and do it at anytime (on an esculator, waiting in line, etc.) It’s an absolutely amazing way to work… no sitting required (unlike a laptop)… you’d have to see it, then you’d get the idea within less than a second. I can convince myself to keep the tablet with me because I have other software that I find essentail when traveling (like Microsoft Streets & Trips, which along with a tiny GPS receiver can give you turn by turn directions while you drive).

    -I use my cell phone as my alarm clock so it’s always next to my bed at night (I travel extensively and that way I have a consistent alarm all the time). My phone (Audiovox 5600, I think) as a button on the side that I can hold to open the voice recording application. I record ideas as soon as they come to me. I also do this while I’m out and about doing errands or traveling. Those notes sync with Microsoft OneNote when I connect the phone to my Tablet. So I use my tablet when I’m away from my office… my phone when I’m away from my tablet and my Mac when I’m working in my office. I just wish it was easy to sync my mac to my pc (looking into a microsoft active sync server, which should do the trick).

    -Ben

    I’ll add additional detail and photos to this on my blog at the end of the day at http://whereisben.blogs.com/ I just started blogging yesterday.

  33. February 5, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Robyn: I’ll take another look at Ta-da Lists. I had a look when they were first announced, but didn’t “get it” then. Maybe I will next time ;-)

    Ben: Hog Bay Notebook looks pretty similar to xPad, which I’ve been trying for a while now. That tablet PC does sound interesting, as does using your phone as a recorder. I think I’ll stick to my paper notebook for now, but you never know.

  34. Forget iWork, I am disappointed to say, it’s nothing at all for writers. Not now. It’s exactly what it says it is: flyers, newsletters and such. The export to HTML is, apparently, completely worthless. I think we’ll have to give Steve this bid for the consumer’s attention. Haven’t seen a new app in a long while that offers nothing for web use.

    But it’s pretty.

  35. I use a simple editor and tinyspell on my windows laptop. My first pass is usually in an outline form, just to put all my thoughts together. I go back and refine each thought, or rearrange the order to make it flow. Then just post, or submit. Everything is in text form and I copy it all to my treo so my thoughts are always with me.

  36. February 14, 2005 by DavidC

    Check out MacJournal. Similar to XPad - html export etc, but includes seamless updating for blogger.com and livejournal.

  37. February 19, 2005 by Todhund

    When writing your first concern is to transfer thought to form, ideas to “paper”. To maximize your writing efficiency you should write straight through without concern for syntax, spelling or grammar and least of all for the way the information will be displayed. Simple text editors like BBEdit or Simple Text on the Mac or Notepad and Wordpad on Win (and my mind goes blank for Linux, emac?) will work fine. Read what you wrote, then refine it making corrections/changes the second time through. When you are satisfied with the language and writing style open it in a more advanced word processor to check your spelling, grammar and syntax. When all of this is done then you are free to use a markup language. Compose your thoughts before you compose the page. They are two different processes and trying to do both as one will slow you down and increase your error rate in both.

  38. February 22, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Todhund: Absolutely, the writing should come first. I try to just write when working on posts that are suitable for it, but when I’m writing more technical articles or tutorials I need to get at least some stuff in there that isn’t easy to just type.

  39. I’m another big fan of Markdown. I can write articles in plain text, using whatever tool suits me at the time - TextPad (or SlickEdit, if I’m in the middle of coding) on the PC, or VoodooPad or TextEdit or whatever on the Mac. I can even write articles on my Palm. And because all my work-in-progress is in plain text files, they can be edited easily on any platform.

    The formatting style of Markdown is very natural to me, as someone who’s been using plain-text email heavily for around 15 years. I hate the way raw HTML interrupts your flow if you try to insert it as you write, and I hate going through the whole article and marking it up with HTML later.

  40. All,

    I was pretty excited to see 39 comments posted in response to looking for ideas about the writing process.

    Most of these responses seem to be in terms of blogging. That’s easy enough to write what you are thinking and then begin to organize it a bit, review, spell check, and publish.

    But what if you want to write an article for your site? There is a formal writing process that addresses steps prior to ever beginning to develop your paragraphs.

    Make sure you have given things enough thought or done the research in order to come up with a position. It’s okay if this changes later, but with a starting point, you can keep focused.

    Here’s the gold, taken rightout of high school, and still used in colleges today: write an outline!

    If you aren’t sure how your paper will progress, start with the basic paper structure of:

    1. Introduction (titled with the subject, not ‘intro..’)
    2. Supporting point 1
    3. Supporting point 2
    4. Supporting point 3 (up to 5 max)
    5. Conclusion, if your supporting points are supposed to make a point
    6. Summary (review the 3-5 points above and restate your thesis.)

    Next start developing these sections with the ideas that have been swimming around in your head. This should be fun if your article has been begging you to write it!

    At the first point that you reach a pause or block or find yourself distracted, go back to any notes you might have captured (with all those cool tools people noted), AND/or do some of your own research. There are billions of resources online. Many are legitimate!

    • Find 3 sources that support your point. Plan to briefly quote these and cite your sources.
    • Find 1 source that contradicts it in order to reflect respect for the opposition and counter the point or accept it.

    Come up with an interesting and topical example. Or, take an example from your favorite flick or sitcom. Choose anything the masses can relate to. This will pepper up your article and keep reader interest.

    Now go back and do all the things suggested in the previous 39 comments!!

    Have a great day! Hope this helps. Kate Shorey Connecticut

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