New York’s popular news station 1010 WINS or “ten ten wins” has a famous saying, “you give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world.” I can beat this station by two minutes to crank out an article that absolutely rocks. It isn’t a goal I set for myself with every article, but it certainly covers those pieces that don’t require extensive research or attribution.
Instead, my 20-minute articles offer tangible proof that when the pressure is on, a strong 500-word article can be written, edited and published immediately. These articles aren’t mindless drivel, rather they represent a concoction of ideas that have been stewing in the deepest recesses of my brain for some time.
You can write a strong article in 20 minutes or so yourself, the right kind of article you need when you want to put together a story quickly. Read on to learn how I have mastered this approach.
1. An ideas bank — My next story idea is in my head and is soon put on paper. If I don’t have time to write the article immediately, I jot down the article idea in my personal planner and get to it as soon as I can. My ideas range the entire gamut of my writing capabilities and include automotive, business, college and career, and other topics I am most familiar with.
2. A three-point story — You can get your idea across by writing a three-point story. Those points are the meat of your article and comprise three or more paragraphs to get your point across. I always start off with an interesting introduction for without this my readers won’t keep reading. I end my story with a concluding paragraph, a wrap up that may sum things up or include a call to action.
3. Break it down in bits — Shorter paragraphs are easier to read, especially those designed for the web. Throw conventional wisdom to the side by mixing things up.
This can include writing a single-sentence paragraph to get the attention of your readers such as this one.
Writing purists frown upon rule-breaking, but this can be perfectly acceptable for online writing. Besides, your quick articles aren’t literary masterpieces, rather these works represent solid ideas in an easily digestible format.
4. Brevity and clarity — In addition to keeping your 20-minute articles short, you’ll want to get to the point right away. No fluff, no muss. Use short paragraphs and highlight your key points with bullet points.
5. Edit as you go — Typically, I give my articles two round of edits. Three, for long-form articles. The two-rounder should include edits as you are writing with a comprehensive edit when you are done. You’ll whip your article into shape in no time!
Of course, if you’re putting extensive time into an article, by including quotes, citing sources and doing extensive research, then this format won’t work for you. Your short articles are those ideas that have been stewing in your mind for some time, tidbits of wisdom that you want to quickly share with your readers.