But I Don’t Know How to Write an Article!

No one does until they learn how—just like every other skill! Here’s a straightforward guide to get you started.

One Article, One Subject

When I first started writing articles, I crammed in as much information as possible. I cringe now when I look back, wondering why I ever thought readers would want to slog through such dense material. I was clueless about effective article writing. Though I had written poetry and short stories, crafting informative articles required a different skill set.

Learning from the Pros

I was fortunate to join a group of writers, both seasoned professionals and aspiring amateurs. Through them, I learned some key principles:

  1. Write in Plain English: Keep it simple and accessible.
  2. Target Specific Readers: Know your audience and write for them.
  3. Don’t Overcomplicate: Clarity is key.

These experienced writers were meticulous about research and fact-checking. If they expressed an opinion, they clearly labeled it as such.

A Step-by-Step Approach

For beginners, here’s a methodical approach to writing articles:

  1. Brainstorm with Bullet Points: Start by jotting down key points related to your main topic. Keep your focus narrow.
  2. Organize and Expand: Arrange your bullet points logically and expand on each one in a conversational style, as if explaining the subject to someone.
  3. Draft and Set Aside: Write a first draft and then put it aside. Don’t try to produce a finished article in one go. Work on another article or return to an earlier draft if you need to keep writing.
  4. Seek Feedback: Share your draft with someone else. Peer feedback is invaluable for refining your work. Help each other develop your material.
  5. Interview Yourself: Another effective approach is to have someone interview you about the topic. Use the questions and answers as the foundation for your draft.
  6. Dictate Your Thoughts: Dictate your words and transcribe them later. Tools like the speech-to-text function on your phone or software like Dragon Naturally Speaking can boost productivity.

Practice Makes Perfect

There are various approaches, but the methods above are simple and easy to start with. Remember, writers write—if you’re not putting words on paper, you’re not developing your skills.

Writing Opinion Pieces

When writing an opinion piece, you’re stating your own views. Do this only if you have the background and experience to be considered an authority. Offering an uninformed opinion can quickly ruin your reputation. If you’re not sure, ask questions instead.

The Importance of Peer Groups

Your peer group can significantly influence your writing journey. When TPSO Magazine first started, we received many requests to ‘name and shame’ various individuals and companies. However, TPSO’s policy is to engage positively with the industry. That doesn’t mean however shying away from bad news or avoiding sharing information that shows the security industry in poor light.

Avoid getting entangled in others’ conflicts. Serious writers will shun you if you don’t take your craft seriously. Writing carries weight, and readers rely on your expertise. It’s a responsibility you should approach with diligence and integrity.

Leveraging AI as a Writing Tool

Tools like ChatGPT can be a game-changer for writers. Many non-writers don’t realize the collaborative nature of professional writing—just open any book and look at the acknowledgements. The author generally thanks a long list of people for all their help in getting ‘their’ work finished!

Professional writing often involves input from editors, proofreaders, and colleagues – all of which costs money for professional services. ChatGPT and other AI programs can serve as virtual collaborators, helping you refine your work without the expense of hiring professional proofreaders and copywriters.

AI tools can assist with brainstorming, drafting, editing, and even polishing your final piece. They can provide instant feedback, suggest improvements, and help ensure your writing is clear and concise. However, it’s important to remember that while AI can enhance your work, the content must be your own to retain copyright. You cannot copyright a piece of work produced entirely by an AI program, but using AI to refine and develop your own writing means you maintain full ownership of your work.

By integrating AI tools like ChatGPT into your writing process, you can streamline your workflow, improve your writing quality, and significantly reduce costs. Embrace these technologies as valuable allies in your writing journey, and you’ll find yourself becoming a more effective, efficient and productive writer.

Happy writing!

About Michael O'Sullivan 25 Articles
Managing Director