You are in the middle of writing an article that has a specific word count requirement and you have run out of things to say. You want to get the article off your desk so you begin adding words, puffing up sentences and taking what was a concise piece and turn it into a mess. The pressure to meet the word count has distracted you from writing a relevant article that now has been sent back to you to be rewritten.
You can avoid pumping up your articles with unnecessary filler words by following a few guidelines while writing. The key to writing effective pieces that communicate your thoughts, are well written and meet your word requirements is organization. If you enter the process of writing focused on the story and organize your thoughts along a well outlined storyline, you should have no problem finding the right words that keep you on track and add value to the article.
Begin with the End in Mind
When writing, one way to stay on topic and eliminate the need for filler words is by beginning your article with the end in mind. You are telling a story and in so doing you want to be able to effectively and concisely tell it with as few words as possible. Get to the point – think about the topic you are writing about and ultimately what it is that you want the reader to come away with.
In order to build a house, most contractors start this process by laying a solid foundation or ground level. It is the foundation that holds the house up and gives it a firm base from which to stand. Next, are the interior and exterior walls, floors and finally, the roof. Each step in the building process compliments or leads to the next step in a sequential and logical way. Your writing should mimic the home building process. Build your story from a solid foundation followed by the supporting arguments and finished with a strong close. Do this and you will find all the words you need to construct a well written and though out article.
Organize your Thoughts in Outline Form
Before you begin writing, create an outline based on the topic. For an article of 500 to 600 words you need to have an introductory paragraph of about 100 words, a paragraph that defines the topic to the reader (100 to 150 words), a paragraph that presents an argument or contrasting view to the topic (100 to 150 words), and a concluding paragraph or two of 150 to 200 words that contains a takeaway for the reader.
Follow this type of organization when you begin the writing process and you will discover a more natural approach to creating the article. This approach keeps you focused on answering a series of questions, rather than concentrating on whether or not you have enough words. By the time you reach your concluding paragraph, you will find your problem won’t be not enough words but possibly too many because you stayed on task.
Make Your Point
If I am writing an article about the impact of NASA space exploration on the development of modern day technology, I would initially be at a loss because I am a writer, not a rocket scientist. I would begin by thinking about the topic and how I want to relate NASA efforts in the 1950s and 1960s to technologies we use today.
I talk about President Dwight Eisenhower’s signing of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, Kennedy’s pledge in 1961 to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, significant developments and innovations developed in space and how they were adapted to everyday use. I close by writing that the advances made through space exploration gave birth to the comforts we enjoy and take for granted daily.
Writing should allow you to explore any topic, think about it logically and make a point with words that relate to your topic and keep you on course, not detract from your writing objective.