How to Find Ideas for Article Writing

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The writer must see his subjects from all angles. An important thing to remember in writing is, “Show it, instead of just saying it.”  Here are some tips that might help churn ideas into writing material:

Jot it down.

Keep a notebook or a pad handy in which you jot down anything that suggests even part of an idea to you—phrase, a character, a locality, a plot, a lyric, a tune, a scene, a title, etc.

Be curious.

Be intensely curious about anything that arouses wonder in you.  Childlike wonder and enthusiasm are some characteristics marks of a writer.

Open your senses.

Listen, look, taste, smell, feel, and be aware.  Only with all your senses working together can you hope to find the answer you must give to your reader’s constant question. Why?

Read.

Read as much as you can about anything in every field, since all the experiences of life are source materials for the writer.

Don’t let your critical sense cancel your creativity.

Don’t expect to find your subjects easily.  Remember, a subject is a set of facts activated by imagination.  So, don’t discard subjects just because it is outside of your comfort zone.  Patience, self-discipline, and observation are a writer’s greatest assets.

Know and care about the subject you’ve chosen to write about.  Ernest Hemingway said in essence, “If you can’t write the truth, don’t write.”

Don’t be dull.

Here’s a tip for writers of business communications.  In searching for materials to write about, you don’t have to treat technical materials in a manner that will make layman yawn as he plods through your writing.  Write with a positive undertone even if it is inevitable to take in a negative subject.

Don’t be afraid to use something colorful if it illustrates a fact.  An allusion or anecdote (within bounds of propriety) may make your statistic come to life.  Make your statistics come to life by picking dramatic highlights to emphasize them.  Confining your readers with bare, dry statistics will put them to sleep.

Find what interests you.

No one can tell the average writer where to find stories and articles.  Your own interest will be your best guide. The original impetus for writing is the result of two forces; natural interests of the writer and the stimulation of outside influences.

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The beginning

To start writing, begin with something important, something interesting, some good hard facts.  It may not survive the final draft, but it can propel you to the next thought, and the next.  Among good devices for starting, is to put down the word “The…” the moment you get to your keyboard.  Something is bound to follow soon.

Describe.

Another way to begin is by describing the things you see about you as you sit down to write.  Before you know it, you find yourself typing out words and sentences.  One way of writing an arresting opening is to select the most important, most dramatic and most interesting points and combine them at the top of your article.

The element of surprise

Anecdotes make good openings, too.  General opening statements, to be supported by facts in the body of the article, are popular with non-fiction writers, but these general statements should have novelty, shock, or interest value.

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