Writing something can be a daunting task especially when you do not have a step by step procedure to follow. Whether you are writing an essay, a blog post or doing your college presentation, you must have at one point or another aimlessly wandered trying to get your work done.
There is nothing unusual about ‘aimlessly wandering’, it is quite normal for most people. This happens because people do not have a clear direction to take while trying to complete their work. Knowing what clear steps to take from starting to finishing and trying to get your work done with proper workflow can make a big difference.
Luckily, there is a clear 5 step process I employ while writing things. I have used this to write my project presentation, project reports, essays and now I am implementing the same for my blog posts. There are two things I love about this method.
- It’s universally applicable. That means whether you are trying to write a blog post, an essay, or a research paper. You are good to go.
- It’s easy to remember. Can you remember the word ‘POWER’? I am sure you can. I will get into the details down below.
What makes good writing?
Before we go deeper into the ‘How’ part of the question, it is important we answer the ‘What’ part. Unless you don’t know what makes a blog post or an essay classified ‘good’ and stands out among the rest, no step by step process will be fruitful. So let’s first discuss what makes good writing.
There are prominently six qualities for a well-written article. Each quality is important and a writer should make maximum effort to stress each quality in his work.
|Focus||A well-written article will have a central theme. That means each line and paragraph should have a clear point it is making about the theme.|
|Expansion||All lines, all paragraphs that are written in the article should assist the main subject. Illustrations are an important part of expanding the main topic. Avoid paragraphs and lines that do not contribute to the central theme.|
|Creativity||This should come across with no surprise. Creativity is a principal part of great content making. One of the easiest ways to be creative in your writing is to find analogies for your concepts. If you can connect your central theme to everyday activity, your reader will grasp it easily. The point of adding creativity to your writing should be to make things effortless to understand for your reader.|
|Organized||The entire content in your article should be well organized. Make sure it can be read smoothly. From top to bottom, everything should be logically connected and the reader should not be having any rough transitions. More about this down below.|
|Uniform||All paragraphs should have their own purpose. A paragraph is made for separating one idea from another. Do not make paragraphs based on a specific word count, but a specific idea. That way uniformity can be maintained throughout the article.|
|Grammar and style||One should try to make his writing error-free. It’s hard but not impossible. The writing style should be determined based on the type of article. A news article won’t be written the same way a product review article will.|
POWER writing method
Now that we are done discussing what makes a writing ‘good’, let’s reflect on the 5 step formula that can help you achieve it. It is called the ‘POWER’ method which is an acronym for Prepare, Organize, Write, Edit, and Review.
It is as simple as it sounds, easy to apply and remember. But to adopt each step can prove to be difficult for a new writer. So let’s get in-depth with each step of the method, shall we?
The first step is pretty basic but often overlooked. You must make sure that you do thorough research on the topics you plan to cover. Writers tend to research as they go. But that means you will have to spend time rewriting and reframing the entire article. You might have to end up writing from scratch if inconsistencies become severe. From a time point of view, that is a costly mistake.
This makes the first step ‘Prepare’ highly significant. Make sure you conduct thorough research before you even think about writing the article. Make sure you use credible sources. Make sure the number of sources you use is fixed. Do not go after new sources at the time of writing. Everything about ‘learning’ the topic should start and end in the first step.
Being well-organized is one of the fundamental qualities of an article. No matter how intense your research is or how well versed your paragraphs are if they are not organized properly, your readers will not appreciate it.
To make your article readable, all parts of it from top to bottom should be logically connected. Readers should not struggle to make meaning between your headings, subheading or paragraphs.
Now, getting organized is a difficult job. Especially after your first phase of research, you are probably overwhelmed and struggling to make sense. One of the easiest ways to get all your ideas organized is to draw a mind map.
I have a complete article on how to organize your thoughts and ideas. It describes an easy method to draw a mind map and start making logical connections between your ideas. If you have your way to organize things, you can do it. But if you have no clue or you are not confident about your ways, I urge you to read the article.
It is time that we start the actual writing process. The two steps above is a prerequisite for the flawless execution of this step. If you are well researched, you know what you are writing without having second thoughts. If you are well organized, you don’t have to worry about structuring your article. You already have a clear direction to take and a conclusion to reach.
You are no more stressed about what to write and how to do it. So take full freedom and start writing from the main heading to the conclusion. Do not worry about the choice of words, typos, complex sentences, style issues, etc.
This step is to write all the ideas out completely. Do not go back and fix even a single typo. Any distraction from the writing process will cost significant time and probably cause a lack of clarity in your presentation. If you are bothered about all the grammar issues in your article while you are writing, you will not be productive while doing so. It is important that you solely stick to expressing your ideas to congregate maximum creativity.
Okay, I know you are frustrated about the all red marks from your word processor. Now you can finally take care of them. If you are a newbie, I highly recommend you hire a professional proofreader for this purpose. But if you don’t have the money or resources, it is fine. You can do it yourself.
Now editing is a tedious task. You have to thoroughly read your article word by word and if possible, syllable by syllable. That way you make sure that your article does not have any grammar mistakes.
It is inevitable to create an article completely free of mistakes, but the goal is to make it as error-free as possible. Make sure there are no errors like typos and basic grammar mistakes. Make sure the words you chose are simple to understand has the same meaning in the context it is applied. Make sure there no complex sentences users have to deal with.
You can use tools like MS Word’s inbuilt spell and grammar checker or browser extensions like Grammarly to assist you in this process. Note that programs are programs and work on algorithms. It will never be good as an actual human being editing your work. Make sure you edit the complete article top to bottom and not just rely on algorithm-based grammar checkers.
This is the final step in the whole process. Once you are done writing and editing, your article is supposed to be complete. If you are a really good writer, this step is optional. But chances are you should review your article from scratch regardless.
During the review process, you should fundamentally check for the readability of the article. Try reading the article out loud. You should try to read the article as presenting in front of an audience. Imagine yourself giving a Ted talk. That way you know if the tone of the article resonates with an actual conversation. This will ensure that readers remain engaged throughout a lengthy article.
Note: Iterating between different steps are sometimes inevitable. No matter how well you researched, you might discover your knowledge gaps during the organizing and writing process. No matter how well you edit, you will probably find mistakes during the review process. Keep in mind that going back and forth is also part of the process.
Points to take away
- Aim for six qualities in your writing: Focus, Expansion, Creativity, Organized, Uniform, Grammar and style.
- Remember the word ‘POWER’: Prepare, Organize, Write, Edit, and Review.
A lot is going on in the writing industry. The Internet has made writing and sharing it more of an accessible option. Whether you are writing for a living or trying to complete the project work, keep in mind that it never has been easier to find resources to do so.
If you are struggling specifically with the writing process, the easiest way to do so is to just start writing even if it is gibberish —Of course, after you have done your proper research. Remember that you can always edit a bad page but not a blank one.