Writing an article:
Have you ever been approached to write an article for a local newspaper, your school press, a journal of an organisation or an institution? Have you ever wondered if it is so easy to write your own articles for your own blog? If yes, then this tutorial is certainly for you. Here, we will take you through the best tips for writing good articles for whatever reason it is. Don’t expect anything new from us, it is still the same basic guidelines, but we will take you much more than that, with examples and detailed explanation of these basic rules bring the relevance of these rules to the fore like never before. So lest begin:
Theme: In writing an article for a journal or magazine or a newspaper, you will first have to identify the theme of the journal or magazine. Every journal or magazine has a theme around which it revolves and arounf which any writer feautured in that journal must operate. Sometimes it is not just a theme, it is a subject, course or discipline. You have to identify the theme of the journal, if your write would stand a chance and be considered and featured.
Topic: the theme is not the same as the topic of the write up. In fact, your topic operates under the theme. If your theme can be described as the tree, the topic(s) is one of the branches of that tree. Thus, while a theme may focus around the youth development in the 21st century, a specific topic could be on the Impact of Social Media on youths. When you have identified the theme of youyr journal or the editors choice of topics, choose a topic for your write up. At these stage, allow your mind the freedom of considering all topics. Write down every topic that comes to your mind around that theme. Example;
Theme: Democracy in Nigeria
Topics: Freedom of Press; An invaluable tool for Democratic Development in Nigeria
The Role of Multiparty System in the Advancement of Democracy in Nigeria
Insecurity and the Democratic Process
Democracy in the face of Poverty, Illiteracy and Unemployment
The Mantra of Democracy and the Recycling of Leadership
You may be surprised to know that these topics were just coming into my head once I decided on the theme. All developed minds work like this. We tend to do a form of mind mapping when we come across a topic or theme. So enjoy the freedom, don’t evaluate any topic.
YWF Trial 1: develop as many topics as you can for these two themes;
Developing Nigeria’s Education System
The Endangered African Future
After you have been able to raise as many topics as you can proceed. You will need to look at the topics thoroughly. Choose the topic you have the most points. Choose the topic you can easily access needed literature for( authorities) and necessary statistics. Don’t choose a topic you will end up writing an empty work or a work bereft of scholarly research. If you are not conversant with a topic, leave it and choose another one.
When you have chosen your topic, the next stage is to brainstorm. Start thinking about all the points possible for that topic. Brainstorm thoroughly and write down all your points. Do not evaluate your points yet.
After evaluating your points, grade them in order of their importance. Merge points that can be merged, use numerical values to link them together. Determine the number of points you will need to write, and determine the length of the exposition on each point. This will be determined by the length of the article. Some articles can be just one page, and others can run into 10-50 pages, especially articles to be published in academic journals.
Determine what you will need to establish each point. The kind of authorities you will need to cite, the kind of scholarly research that you will need to make mention in order to sound more convincing. You equally have to determine if you will need statistical evidence or authorities and from where? Government agencies, independent researchers etc? After you have mapped all these out, you now have your research queries, either for internet resources or traditional research resources like books, journals, magazines and other printed formats. This will help you make guarded research and optimize your results. After this, research on your topic generally on google. This will help you see what others have written concerning your topic, and you can decide to incorporate their ideas into your work, with effective referencing to them. Doing this at this stage is better, as it does not affect the originality of your work, nor impede your own intelligence and ability to generate ideas. If you do it at the first stage, you will find yourself thinking in line with what you have read, and unable to even develop independent ideas.
When your research is done, evaluate the result. Take what you need. Determine the credibility of your source and its appropriateness within your discipline and theme.
Begin to write your draft. Feel free to write and expand your points. Allow yourself to create everything you think about the topic. At this point, you are concerned about ideas, not grammar. Don’t bother technical rules of grammar. Just write. Incorporate your research work. Produce a complete draft.
From this point, edit your draft as many times as possible. Please do not tinker with the ideas. Just focus on the structure and grammar. If your article is too long, edit it for wordiness, verbosity, tautology especially in points.
Editing can go on for several hours, days, weeks or months, depending on the length of your work. after editing before you save or produce the final copy, read it thoroughly for the last time. After this, get someone else, who is good in use of English, to edit it for you.
Follow this link to see an example of a good article.