So you’ve picked up an article – now what?
In the words of the great Douglas Adams, Don’t Panic! I approach almost every 200-800 word article in the same fashion and it seems to work pretty well for me. You can extend this framework for larger pieces, obviously, but I find after about 800 words or so, the piece suffers without a common linking thread running through it.
Step 1: Take the total number of words and subtract 100. Take the remaining amount of words and divide by 100. (e.g. for a 500 word piece, 500-100 = 400, divided by 100 gives you 4)
Step 2: Take that number (4, in our example) and come up with that many unique subheader titles/concepts on the subject you’re writing about.
Step 3: Use those initial 100 words we set aside and split them – 50 goes to the intro, 50 goes to the closing.
Step 4: Write your piece, using your subheaders as a guide, and come up with 100 words to go under each.
This is what the finished product will look like, more or less (please ignore the terrible grammar and completely unprofessional tone here, I’m just attempting to show structure):
This Article is about Cats! (< THIS IS THE TITLE)
It’s hard to deny that cats are pretty darn awesome. They are fluffy, pee in a glorified sandbox, and bring you mangled rodent halves to express their love. Words…. (< THIS IS THE INTRO)
Cats: Fastidious Felines (< THIS IS A SUBHEADER TITLE)
Cats clean themselves often and cover their own poop, making them a clear winner in the race for coolest companion. Words word words… This is 100 words here even though it really doesn’t look like it no really it truly is
The Marvelous Meow ( < OH HEY LOOK ANOTHER SUBHEADER)
Cats love vocalizing, especially at 3am and for no reason because hey, you didn’t really need sleep did you, silly human? This is another 100 words, believe it or not words words words…
In conclusion, cats are amazing, graceful creatures that can instantly have their dignity compromised with the addition of a laser pointer. Words… (< THIS IS THE CLOSER)
If you follow this rough outline, even tricky subjects can be navigated with ease. Concentrate on each step, one at a time, and don’t let the thought of THE WHOLE ARTICLE (dum dum dummmmm) overwhelm you. You can do it!