Mastering The Lost Art Of Article Writing
By Steven W Johnson
There are 3 letters in the word "Article" that almost always get overlooked. A-R-T
Article writing, or perhaps a more appropriate phrase, article development, is a lost art. For a wide variety of reasons, todays articles represent a continuum of quality that is amazing. Thanks to cut and paste features in every operating system, software that "twists" and regurgitates other peoples articles at the touch of a mouse button, and entire business models built around making money from unique articles, the artist has faded away.
What skills are necessary to rise above the mediocrity that is rampant on the Internet? Mastering the English language is a good start. Words have morphed into mere marketing mechanisms. Spelling and grammar are often an afterthought. Here in the Pacific Northwest, my favorite example is the hardware store: Lumbermens - get the joke? How do you master English? Read! It helps to read someone who knows how to write. Stick with the classics. Go back a few years, or a few hundred. If something is still in print after all those years, it's probably because there was an artist at work.
To become a great article writer, you have to write from the heart. If you dont have an original thought in your mind, and you must rely on stealing other writers ideas in order to set something down on paper...or keyboard, it will always show up in your writing. Great writers are rarely born with the skill. You grow into it, over time. Your readers dont get to see the things you wrote in 5th grade, or high school, or the mess you made on that college turn paper. All they see is 20 or 30 or 40 years of writing practice; every last second of which is delivered solidly into the next word you write. How could you NOT improve?
Great writers read other great writers. They research. They write drafts. An article that goes from your brain to the submission box, with barely a trip past the spelling checker, is in serious trouble. Without a review of its structure, its purpose, its impact, it is destined to gather electronic dust. Become a craftsman. Treat your creation like a custom-made piece of furniture that will stand inside your house for all the world to admire. Articles can stick around, for better or worse, for a long, long time. Treat them with love. Treat them like they are your work of art. Your children. Send them forth to mix things up with the routers, the article directories, the electronic magazines, the web sites. They are your representatives. Remember that EVERY time you are ready to press the publish button!
Steve owns and operates a whole network of web-based mentoring communities including a home for aspiring article & bum marketers at http://articlemastery.net