Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Writing How-To Articles—A Great Place to Start

by Linda Gilden 

Harriet had been in my writers group for years. She had tried and tried to get her children’s book published and still no success. She began a second children’s book. Harriet worked really hard and wanted so badly to see her words in print.

At one meeting we were encouraging Harriet to try something different. I suggested she keep working on her children’s books but try to write an article.

“But, what would I write about?” she asked. “I’ve never even thought about writing articles.”

“What about your African violets? You bring beautiful African violets to us. And you talk about attending your African violet society meetings. You know a lot about growing African violets.”

Harriet’s face lit up. “I hadn’t thought about that.”

Harriet promised to think about writing an article for the African Violet Magazine.

At the next meeting Harriet was the first to speak up when we talked about successes. “Y’all encouraged me to write an article about my African violets. I did that and sent a query to the magazine. They loved my idea and asked for my article. It has already been accepted!”

Harriet opened up another area by writing about something she already knew how to do. She continued to work on her children’s books but in the meantime received encouragement and validation through her acceptance at the African Violet Magazine.

What about you? Are there things in which you are an expert that you could share information with others?

When you first start writing, one of the pieces of advice you hear often is “Write what you know.” Good advice. A good place to jump-start your writing is with how-to articles—writing about something you know and are passionate about.

Here’s where to start.
  • Identify your strongest interests and passions and research related publications. That should be easy because you probably read those publications already. In other words, find your market.
  • Identify the need you will meet. (This will probably become your article hook.) What are you going to teach your audience?
  • Establish your credibility.
  • Outline the necessary steps to learn how to do what you are teaching.
  • Think of stories or anecdotes that will illustrate your steps.
  • Write a query to your prospective magazine telling what your article will accomplish and how you are going to do that.
  • Write your article while waiting for a query response.
  • Research additional markets in case you receive a rejection.

Do you have a lull in your writing calendar? Are you finding no success with your book idea? Take a few moments to think about your expertise. You can help others by “writing what you know.”

Stuck for an idea? Try #writing what you know with how-to articles - @LindaGilden (Click to Tweet)

Writing How-To Articles, A Great Place to Start When Your #Writing is Stopped - @LindaGilden (Click to Tweet)

Linda Gilden is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She loves to take one subject and create multiple articles from that information. Linda finds great joy (and lots of writing material) in time spend with her family. Her favorite activity is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing children!

To find out more about Linda, her writing, and her ministry, visit You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. What a great post filled with sage advice, Linda! Thanks so much for inspiring me to try several things that have been on my heart for some time. Guess I just needed your article to push me forward!

    1. Thanks, Cynthia. I love writing articles and the search for the perfect home for them! Happy Writing!