I’ve forgotten how to write.
ICYMI, I started work last week as a writer for this broadcasting network’s news website. I’ve finally found a job where I can use what I learned in college but right as I started, I realized I’ve forgotten how to write decently. I used to be an editor for my uni’s official student newspaper, for christ’s sake!
So, here are a few writing tips to refresh my memory. They’re mostly for myself but feel free to take these unsolicited advice because they can be used for almost any kind of writing
- Lead – this is the first sentence/paragraph of your article. Studies show that the human attention span is 8 seconds in average so your lead should be short but eye-catching. Otherwise, people would just scroll past it when they see it on their feed.
- The 5Ws and 1H – This tip is mostly for news articles. These stand for Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Most journalists put these in the lead as it’s all the information your reader needs but it could make it lengthy and we don’t want that so it’s best to keep these distributed in the first three paragraphs.
- Nutgraf – is the second paragraph of your article and should keep your readers’ attention. It also should contain the supporting information to your lead.
- The 3 Cs – Your article should be clear, concise, and correct.
- Clear – Firstly, it should be so simple that even grade-schoolers can read it. I’m not kidding, there’s actually a readability test that scores your writing and says what age group could read it. My blog could be easily read by 8 to 9-year-olds.
- Concise – As mentioned previously, your article shouldn’t be lengthy. Simply because, as kids nowadays say it, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
- Correct – Your article should be factual. Obviously, this is the number one rule in journalism. Don’t be a Kellyanne Conway and produce alternative facts. Do your research and include links for your readers.
- Use verbs, not adjectives – When people write feature articles, they often make the mistake that you should use adjectives in order for your writing to be visual. However, verbs make so much more impact than adjectives.
- Adjective: The President is the tallest man among his cabinet members.
- Verb: The President towered over his cabinet members.
- Be active – Use the active voice instead of passive as it shortens the sentence and goes straight to the point. In the words of George Orwell, “Never use the passive when you can use the active.”
- Active: The President announced Martial Law.
- Passive: Martial Law was announced by the President.
- The inverted pyramid – This form of writing is usually used for news articles. The most important information is placed at the top while the background is placed at the bottom because your readers will most likely only read the first two paragraphs There are also other kinds of shape/forms of articles but they’re escaping me right now.
And there you have it. These are the only ones I can think off the top of my head but I think I’ll post more in the future as I try to recall what I learned in college. Hopefully, these tips helped you as well!
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