I love to write. Always have. After writing 7 books, I learned some things along the way that I want to share with you. These are practical tips that may be helpful to you. My thanks for Dr. Miguel Angel Nunez, an Adventist author of more than 60 books, for the majority of the content in this post. He wrote a very good article, that I translated and added some content. His blog in Spanish can be accessed here:
1. Organize your ideas.
Before writing decide what you will write about and how you will do it. A good suggestion is to write a draft containing:
• In one sentence, a synthesis of the central idea that you aim to present in the article.
• In one sentence, the goal you have as you write the article.
• In a few words, the audience you want to reach.
• Subtitles or sections. Whenever possible, no more than four points. I prefer three.
The human mind works better in order. An outline of what you will write will help guide you.
It seems an obvious suggestion, but it is not. Many people get stuck thinking about how to write or want to, but never start. Think done over perfect. You can only correct something that is already written. So write. What is not written simply does not exist. No matter how great your idea, if it’s not put on paper, it’s worthless. Here are five periodicals you can write for, that take unsolicited manuscripts*, the email for the editor is next to the magazine name:
- Vibrant Life- email@example.com
- Message Magazine- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Adventist Review- Submit articles: email@example.com
- Ministry Magazine- firstname.lastname@example.org
*Writing does not guarantee publication. Get used to rejection. Don’t take it personal.
3. Hit the ground running.
Do not ask permission to write, when you start your article. That gives a sign that the writer is not sure about what he is writing. Start with:
•A catchy quote.
•A impactful statement.
•A short story.
You must catch them from the first line. If you can’t captivate the reader, they will not continue to read what you have written, however important you consider it to be.
In most Adventist periodicals, the limit is 2,500 words, and most prefer 450-650 words. Writing short articles is much more difficult than writing a long one. It requires more concentration and attention to detail. That involves taking out adjectives and other gadgets that adorn the text, but in the end just take up space.
5. Write an article not a lecture.
A popular article is not a homily. The language of exhortation or appeal in this case is useless. The reader is not required to read it, and for that reason, you have to be persuasive without being preachy. When the text has a homiletic character, most readers leave it unfinished.
Hope this was helpful. Let me know if it was. Next week we will touch on 5 more tips.