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Why You Should Be Writing Articles

Writers, don’t underestimate the power of small works in your career.

By Diane HelentjarisPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

There are millions of non-fiction articles filling electronic devices everywhere and the paper publications of old school folks. Blogs, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, websites — all need fodder (or “content”) on a regular basis. Providing this kind of writing can benefit You, the Writer, in ways you may never have dreamed.

Quickly moves you to “published” status

Books take time to write. Articles, less. Achieving publication lends credibility and panache to your writing. You’ll feel more confident calling yourself a writer after your words have been put into print.

Photo by author.

Quickly creates a collection of work samples

This gets you over the hump of having no work to share with potential publishers and agents. In addition, you will demonstrate flexibility if you write articles in addition to your short stories, novels, or poems.

Offers small victories, but also smaller defeats

Articles are, by definition, short and usually evanescent. This makes the world of articles writing a rather forgiving area for errors.

Photo by author.

Getting assignments is straightforward

An email query, sometimes including proposed photographs and illustrations, gets the ball rolling. Other assignments might come by phone or in-person conversations. No need for an agent or a complicated proposal.

I’ve received a positive resonse to an email query within hours of hitting “Send” when the topic was a timely match to the publication’s needs.

After you publish a few articles, you may become an established contributor to a print publication or online site. Busy editors, trusting you, will often suggest several topics at once for future articles or ask you for a list of topics. They do not need nor want to see an outline or details — just the final copy, please. This lets you concentrate on your writing and not spend a lot of time chasing potential outlets for your talent.

Pays money — not a lot, but some

This money can be used to fund a portion of your writing expenses such as a research trip, professional membership fees, or at least an ink cartridge or two.

Photo by authro

Offers room to experiment

By writing for a variety of outlets, you learn to adapt your work to different audiences. Each publication has its own style. Article writers need to be flexible. Vocabulary, tone, literacy level, sentence structure, and even layouts vary. You can become a virtuoso.

Allows exploration

Maybe you are writing a novel about a World War II American pilot who crashed in Belgium. In researching your novel, you have learned about all sorts of things of which you knew nothing beforehand. Turn those topics into articles, and let your research do double duty. Write about Antwerp or 20th century Belgian lace. Have fun.

Gives marketing practice

Most social media sites, especially the “professional” ones, beg the users to promote material for a relatively low cost. These options can help you understand advertising’s potential impact. Promote an article and learn what it costs to get your material out in front of a thousand people. Then, use this knowledge when you do publish a book. For example, Facebook will promote a post for around $10 for 5 days. You’ll get stats on the results.

You can tailor the ad audience by interest and geographic location. Have you thought about that? Where are you targets living and what do they like? If you develop a niche for your article writing — a single topic you like to write about or publication you like to write for, you may also grow an audience which can translate into a platform for other work.

Can set the stage for a book

Putting together articles develops transferable skills. Learning to organize your materials, whether you use software or shoeboxes, is always important. Interviewing skills help in putting together a book just as well as an article. Ferreting out compelling copyright-free images is a skill well worth having.

Not only will you learn to work effectively with editors and readers, you also will get feedback. Article writing can be used to test the water for enticing ideas, styles, and topics before you commit to a larger work.

What resonates with readers may surprise you. Better to find out now, after devoting a few days to a subject for an article, than after a few years to a book.


About the Creator

Diane Helentjaris

Diane Helentjaris uncovers the overlooked. Her latest book Diaspora is a poetry chapbook of the aftermath of immigration.

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