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How to write articles on any subject
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So one answer to question one is: ‘Granite is an igneous rock
which has been formed deep under the earth;s crust. By natural
forces. It has been produced by massive forces of time and
pressure which have caused it to become a certain form’. These
are the plain facts of the matter.

But here is the WRITER’S INSIGHT – naturally occurring granite
is very old. It’s ancient. Granite, due to its process of creation,
is a part of the history of this – of our – planet. To call it
rock is to strip it of its story. It is not mere rock it is a
product of immeasurable forces. It’s hardness is like the cold
loneliness of the space between planets. It is pure, cold hard
nature. We will each live and die and granite will continue. It
is timeless.

This makes it interesting to me and, suddenly, my topic is one
that propels me to more investigation. I am dealing now with an
idea – and ideas interest me.

My next question is to ask questions of those issues which have
arisen from the first. So we know, provisionally, what granite
is – but what is ‘igneous;? Let’s go back to Wikipedia – and
this time I’m going to quote exactly: “igneous rock are rocks
formed by solidification of cooled magma (molten rock), with or
without crystallization, either below the surface as intrusive
(plutonic) rocks or on the surface as extrusive (volcanic) rocks.”

Do we rewrite that? No. We take that information and use it to
develop our own understanding of our topic.

Actually, what I do is I have a large A3 or A2 pad of layout
paper on which I create a mindmap (look up mindmap on google
if this is a new concept for you. Look up Tony buzan – the
creator of mindmaps): I start with the word ‘Granite’ and develop
from there. So, at present, I have ‘granite’ and I have the bones
of an explanation. For example, I have a line pointing to the
word ‘igneous’ then a brief explanation of that.

To cut to the chase here: I ask questions at every stage. I think
of each stage as keywords: What is the main keyword? It’s
‘granite’. What keywords come from that? – igneous, rock, magma,
crystallization, molten, intrusive, volcanic… etc.

No, these are not keywords in the sense that they are searchable
keywords that IM-ers will be looking for. These are the keywords
which, together, represent the main structural touchpoints for
this investigation. They are the main nouns of our topic. These
nouns, together with their definitions, are the bones of the
factual matter of our article – and my thought process from one
to the other is the character.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter what your prior understanding
or knowledge is of the topic at hand – what matters is the
structure with which you build your article and the thought
and consideration that you apply to this new knowledge and
information.

I really think of each article as beginning in a research
question which builds, quite naturally, a structure of knowledge
and understanding around its own creation.

It doesn’t have to be academic. It doesn’t have to be entirely
complete. Yes, it has to be rigorous, you cannot invent
information, but there are enough resources online for you to
ask and answer the series of questions which any article
represents.

Just as a recap here, lets look at a possible progression for
this article: The topic is Granite.

So, what is granite? ‘Granite is the product of processes of
compression which have occurred since almost the beginning of
time on earth. Granite results from the compression of rock
deep under ground and we find it because processes such as the
movement of glaciers expose it (my paraphrase).

How would such an article progress? In many ways. We could ask
what glaciers are. We could investigate – by questions – what
the processes of time really are, We could ask, and answer, what
is igneous rock. But also, we could reflect upon what we have
learnt already and add some authorial elements: what do we think
about this. What kind of metaphors occur to us in response to
such a process. What thoughts about time, about the earth, about
historic processes, occur to us which move so slowly as to make
our human evolution seem speedy.

Maybe you are getting bored of granite now? I must admit that
when I began I was also bored – but as I progressed I found
these increasingly interesting topics and was able to write not
one but ten different articles on different aspects of their
creation and evolution.

And, of course, we are writing about granite for a website which
wants to sell granite surface tops so perhaps the focus needs to
be more upon the material qualities of granite rather than its
geological history. But this is my take on the topic. Granite
has become an interesting material for me since I researched
these articles and came to these realisations about this
extraordinary rock. Next is the process by which it is
farmed. Polished, and cut. Delivered and crafted. Superficially
I found little to write about granite surfaces aside from their
qualities of hardness and cleanliness – which is not enough for
ten articles – so constantly referring to my developing knowledge
of their formation, production and crafting made these articles
interesting to write and, I believe, read.

My main lesson here is that to write an article using the process
I use you must take the main keywords of your topic – ie,
granite, granite surfaces, granite tops – and then investigate
or ask questions of each. This is not as difficult as it may seem.
I use the analogy of research and investigation but those are
simply descriptive terms. The actual process is one of definition.

Take a word and look it up. List the main defining terms and ask
questions of those, Define those.

Another process is forget about Wikipedia and look up the word in
a dictionary or encyclopedia: Answer the question – what is
granite in a very simple one or two sentence statement? Next –
what are the main keywords or defining terms which occur when
you answer question one? Eg, Igneous, glacier, molten, or
volcanic.

Imagine, now, your mindmap. You have Granite at the center and
from that you have words emanating such as Igneous, glacier,
molten, and volcanic. Now answer your question – what is granite?
And use these terms but extrapolate upon the new terms. What is
igneous? What is a glacier? What is molten? What is volcanic?

Ok, so maybe I am going into far too much detail here but the
process is true. And it’s the process I use – every time.

My point is – I reiterate – whatever your topic, investigate it.
Discover the main terms and define them with other terms. Take
those terms and define them. Use a mindmapping process. Create
your own understanding and write from that.

Does this appear to you as a long or unnecessary process? Maybe
you think so. But the reality is that if you are about to write
ten or more articles on a topic then this process might make the
first one or two, or even three articles, longer items to write
– but the reality is that following from that you will find that
the following ten or twenty or more articles become far easier.
Why? Because you have created within your own mind a structure
of understanding which will serve you.

And my point here is not that you will become an expert. It is
more that you will have AN UNDERSTANDING that will be particular
to you, due to your research. You will have created a point of
view. And through your explorative thinking you will have
developed a referenceable opinion. Not a rehashed nonsense
based upon the rewriting of other people’s knowledge. Not a
superficial joining up of the dots. What you will create this
way is a series of definitions which, done correctly, will give
you milestones upon which to base any future writing or opinion.

And one of the truths about article writing is not so much that
good articles represent some great truth: More that unique
articles represent unique understanding. And when you scour
the internet for articles and read one created this way, you’ll
feel relief – and so will others, and these articles will be
read.

If your research is honest. If it is rigorous. And methodical.
You will create a structure of understanding and knowledge about
your topic. And by doing so you will create within your own mind
and processes a proper and referenceable resource of understanding.

So what happened when I had to write articles on Granite Surfaces?
I did the same. What happened when I had to write articles on
Granite Tops? The same. Dog training? Playstations? Yoga? The
same, everytime – and as an article writer I didn’t have to
compete on price because everyone of my clients came back to me
and many said my articles were the best they had read.

Any article is, at its most basic level, a series of questions
and answers. When an article presents itself beyond this level
it offers opinion upon that question and offers analysis upon
that answer.

Perhaps you are reading this and thinking it is a long winded
and too detailed a methodology for the writing of simple articles.
I did point out that it was my process and no one else’s. But I
do also stress that it is a process that works for me and which
I have used for professional work –And for quick turnover of
difficult topics.

I guess my summary would be that whatever your topic you must
isolate main keywords then interrogate them. For each
interrogation you will produce further keyterms and those
should also be interrogated. This is the basis of investigation
and definition. And this interrogation and definition is the basis
of a good article.

If writing is difficult for you then do the exercise I described
earlier. Once you find you can write fluently then do the research
task as I outline it and between these two techniques you will
realise that you have quite a formidable set of tools with which
to write.

I hope you have found this useful

I do understand and accept that very many article writers out
there do not use a process which has anything near the detail of
this; yet they may well create a great deal of output and income.
My thoughts on that are as follows: when you rehash other people’s
articles or when you superficially reword PLR or other material
all you do is reword. You don’t create anything new and nor do
you invest your mind with understanding or knowledge.

It’s a dull and uninteresting process and more often than not
creates dull and uninteresting articles. And if you see articles
as containers of facts and information – and prefer them to be
of the format ’10 tips’ or ‘5 best’ then that’s fine – I just
don’t write that kind of article.

The essence of my process is that by researching your topic
properly you not only create original articles but you stir in
your own mind an interest in the investigation, and you produce,
as a by product, a store of new knowledge and information which
will help you in the future. And will keep you coming back to
writing rather than wishing it were already done.



 
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