So you’re writing your first post…

sharpie&paperYou found an article that really grabbed your attention and you cannot wait to share it. Great! So where do you begin? Start by choosing a specific idea, fact, or result and use it to focus your writing. Your enemy here is being overly broad and/or vague. Once you have a focus, prepare a list of 5-7 points/ideas/contexts/relationships/etc. that you may want to discuss. Do not concern yourself with order, length, or sentence structure as it is much more important to get your thoughts out of your head (I generally use a Sharpie and computation pad for this). Use your list to begin collecting appropriate references, links, images, etc. to support your argument(s). You may have to reframe your arguments in light of the information you collect. Use your research to rewrite each statement on your list into a clear and concise sentence. Consider these complete statements in the context of your topic and reorder (or eliminate) them in a coherent and logical sequence. Remember that there is not one correct way to arrange things – a little trial end error is warranted at this stage. Now that you have what amounts to a detailed outline, it is time to consider the length of your piece – is it a one paragraph summary, a five paragraph analysis, or should it be divided into a series? Once you have decided on length, use clear and concise language to layout and connect your statements/points; they should form a cohesive unit when combined. Construct strong and clear opening and closing statements to frame your work. Your reader may or may not continue reading on the basis of your opening statement so make it count. Review your piece as a whole and rewrite/edit as necessary. Reviewing and rewriting usually takes the most time and effort. You may want to consider having someone else read and comment on the work before submitting it for publication. When you are satisfied with your work, submit your post for review and publication, then sit back and bask in the accolades of a job well done!

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