Being able to say you wrote an article that’s been published is an incredible feeling. It’s an amazing way to set yourself apart, be seen as an expert in your field and it opens you up to additional opportunities, such as speaking engagements.
However, sitting down to actually write said article can seem like a daunting and insurmountable task. You may find yourself continuously pushing it off and procrastinating to the point that you never get around to actually doing it. But it doesn’t have to be a scary ordeal. I’ll show you how to break it down into manageable chunks so you can get it done once and for all.
Select a Topic
Keep a running list of all the topics that you could possibly want to write about. Then select a topic from that list that really interests you and focus on that. Avoid being too broad with your topic. Try to make it as specific as possible. That way you can get several articles out of that one general idea.
Define Your Audience
Who is this article meant to benefit? Who is the likely reader of it? Once you answer those questions, you can better tailor how to approach your article and decide how technical or informal your writing should be.
Make a List of Publications
Decide which publications you want to reach out to who will likely be interested in your article. Be sure to pay attention to any submission requirements.
Do a Brain Dump
Without even doing research, just start writing everything about the topic that you can think of. Getting all of your ideas out will make it that much easier to edit and make sense of later. The idea is just to start writing without putting too much pressure on yourself for it to be perfect.
Now that you’ve done your brain dump, you can start doing research to support your ideas. Keep a folder or running list of all the research you find, or feel free to add it in as you find it. Research can include a variety of different things, including, but not limited to:
Short, illustrative stories about yourself or sometime else
Quotes by well-known people, from popular books, or from people you've interviewed about the topic
References to other media (film, television, radio)
Fine-tune Your Draft
Now is the time to start perfecting your writing. Depending on what you’ve found in your research, you may decide to go a different direction, or you can better flush out your brain dump. Be sure to revert back to who your audience is and what you want them to get out of our article. Make sure your draft keeps them mind and is written in a tone that would be appealing to that audience.
Proofread and Revise
Re-read what you wrote and decide what if any changes need to be made. You may want to let it sit for a day or two and come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes and perspective. Let someone else who you trust take a look at it and give you feedback.
Shop it Around
Once you have a finished product, reach out to the publications that would likely be interested in the article and pitch them. Find out if there are any submission requirements and make sure you’ve met them all. If there are none, just reach out to whoever is in charge of the submissions and send them a brief paragraph about your article and attach it.