Step 4: Formulate your core messages
The most difficult part for many people is the writing of the main part. After all, you do not have to start with the proverbial "white sheet of paper" because you already have your core messages. Incidentally, these do not necessarily have to be arranged chronologically - much more importantly, they follow a comprehensible logic and have an exciting structure.
5 Tips for Good Formulation
Given the nearly infinite variety of topics that can be written about, it is naturally difficult to give general recommendations for this step. Nevertheless, here are some tips:
- Explain what you have done or think about a specific topic.
- Always justify your statements.
- Remember, the more concrete you write and the more illustrative examples you give, the better your contribution will be.
- However, do not lose yourself in details and prevent content from "drowning" in the flood of information.
- Draw conclusions from your theses.
Graphic and examples
From my hands-on experience, I would like to add two more tips: Try placing a graphical element (figure, table, enumeration) on each page. Keep in mind, however, that illustrations that you have created in PowerPoint, for example, are not printed in books or magazines in a color or in a greatly reduced format.
Of course you have more options on the internet. And for both: be aware that articles, studies and books have a long "lifespan", but the examples mentioned in them often quickly become obsolete. So choose your examples wisely.
Step 5: Formulate the introduction
You may have wondered that you should begin immediately with the main body. This has the simple reason that you are usually much easier to write the introduction, if you know what comes after it.
The introduction introduces you to the topic, establishes the "tonality" (that is, determines in which tone you formulate from then on) and makes the reader weighed. However, this only applies to longer contributions. The rule of thumb is: The shorter an article, the sooner you should get straight to the point.
Step 6: Formulate the conclusion
From school, you'll probably know that an essay does not end abruptly, but has an end, however brief. What options do you have to finish an article? Draw a (short) conclusion and summarize your core messages.
- Explain what consequences the reader should draw from your article.
- Make a reference to the introduction.
- Give tips and hints on how the reader can benefit from your comments.
- Encourage your readers to take a specific action or make a comparison.
- Ask the reader to fill in a questionnaire on the internet or request further information material.
Again, what has already been said: The shorter the article, the tighter the final should be.
Step 7: Prepare a summary of the actual text
You will know this from newspaper articles: There the summary at the beginning of the text is called "Lead" and has the task to make the reader curious and to inform him about the most important contents.
It is similar with most specialist articles and sometimes with book contributions. In two or three sentences, answer the six most important "W questions", namely: "Who Does What When Where How and Why?"
Step 8: Complete the author information
For most (trade) magazines, it is customary that some information be given to the author or to the authors at the end. Always state your full name with academic titles, employer and position.
Occasionally there is also more space available - then you can call important stations of the CV as well as previous publications.
Step 9: Correct your contribution
Finally, check your text for correctness in terms of content, compliance with the format specifications, correct indication of the sources and literature used, spelling, punctuation and style.
Complete the number of characters
Then fill in the number of characters - that's quite easy in Word and other word processing programs with the function "Extras - Count words".
6 final tips
Finally, some additional hints to help you write articles and book contributions:
- Use technical terms as sparingly as possible unless you write to specialists only.
- Do not use abbreviations. Exception: If you use longer terms more frequently (such as "Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology"), then write the term out first and then name the abbreviation (BMWi).
- Avoid an advertising style, that is, no superlatives, exaggerations, and embellishments.
- For longer texts, use subheadings to visually divide your contribution.
- Avoid highlighting (fonts in the text, italics, right-justified or centered lines of text).
- Do not send preliminary or dissimilar versions of texts to editors - always the final ones.
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