Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Article Writing Basics to Help You Get Started

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

People are often surprised when I say I love to write articles. “Articles?” they say. “How did you learn to do that? Doesn’t that take a lot of time? How do you know what to write?”

I almost don’t know how to respond to that. Why wouldn’t you want to write articles? Articles are fun. Articles are short. Articles are a great way to make a little extra money while building your platform, establishing yourself as an expert in a field, and marketing your newest book. 

7 Things to Know Before You Begin Writing Articles 
  • 1. Ideas are everywhere! Begin to keep an idea journal. Jot down ideas as they come to you with just enough notes to remind yourself what your thoughts were.
  • 2. Almost every publication has guidelines (many on their websites) that can tell you what you need to know about writing for their magazine. Themes, word count, special departments and more are available for you if you will read the guidelines. Guidelines are not the same for every magazine so be sure to read ones for the specific magazine you are targeting. Market guides are an abbreviated way to acquaint yourself with the needs of many magazines.
  • 3. Make sure you know proper article format. What style book does the magazine adhere to? If it is a faith-based publication, what version of the Bible do they prefer?
  • 4. Just because articles are short and require many less words than a book doesn’t mean you shouldn’t choose every word carefully. Actually, you have less of your reader’s time so you want to make sure you communicate your point clearly and accurately.
  • 5. Articles can be slanted in different ways so you can repurpose your material. Don’t throw out words you don’t think you need. Save them to include in a later version of the article.
  • 6. Writing articles gives you a solid way to build “clips” that will help you create your portfolio. This will give you a good sampling of your work that you can share with new editors as they explore whether or not your writing is a good fit for their publications.
  • 7. Articles connect you to many different sources. Keep good records of your research and any interviews you do. Make notes of new ideas that come to mind as your write articles so you will have your next project firmly in your mind. 

Once you complete an article and hit the send button, don’t constantly check your email for a response. Begin writing your next article and searching for the publication that is the best fit. Keep the article writing ball rolling and pretty soon you will see the checks and credits ball rolling as well.


Linda Gilden is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, certified writing and speaking coach, and personality consultant. Her passion is helping others discover the joy of writing. Linda’s book, Articles, Articles, Articles! can give you more information about articles. She is the author of over two thousand magazine articles and 35 books including the new LINKED Quick Guides for Personalities series. As Director of the Carolina Christian Writers Conference, Linda helps many writers take the next step in reaching their writing goals. Linda’s favorite activity (other than eating folded potato chips) is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing grandchildren—a great source of writing material!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Linda for sharing your wisdom with us!