When writing any article, no matter the topic, length or audience, it is important to stick to the point. For obvious reasons, going off on a tangent and writing down irrelevant information is not good at all.
Firstly, it is highly possible for the reader to lose interest. Readers will often get annoyed by information they deem unnecessary getting in the way of their reading. Furthermore, rambling during an article can make it much longer than it needs to be, another quality which is likely to deter readers. Many people have a fairly short attention span, and because of this, your article should always be fairly succinct.
Secondly, as a freelancer it is important to comply with the client’s request. Therefore, delivering a high-quality article that meets the criteria they asked for is essential. Going off task and fluffing out the piece with boring information is likely to earn you a lower rating in the freelance world. Reputation matters!
How to Avoid Writing Off Task
Before you ever start writing an article, a bare minimum that you should have is an idea of what you want to put into it. Ideally, you should have a plan. This plan will help you to stay on task by reminding you what the important bits are and where to include them. Think of it as a map: the plan helps you to navigate your way through the piece and link all the pieces together without distraction.
People prefer to plan in different ways, and it’s important that you find a way that works best for you and your mental processes. If you have no idea where to start, below is a brief outline to follow:
- Introduction: this should be a very brief summary of the content of the article. Do not go into detail here, just write about the topic.
- Main body: this relies a lot on the type of article you want to write. Generally, it should be split up into separate paragraphs. In the plan, include the subheadings you may want to use and describe in brief what you will discuss in that paragraph. For other types of articles, you may just want to write small reminders about what to include, such as links to other websites and things you need to remember.
- Conclusion: some articles come to a conclusion naturally, but if you are including one then again, make it brief and just summarise everything you have written.
As you can see, the main body is the most vital part of the plan and will take up the majority of planning. The plan does not need to be detailed, but it should encompass the general points. Using bullet points in the plan is a good idea.
Checking Your Work
Of course, even the best of us get distracted at times. If you have a specific word count to stick to, it can be easier to avoid going off task – if you exceed the word limit, you are forced to cut certain bits out.
However, even without a word count, you should always read back over your work and be harsh with yourself. Is all the information relevant? If not, cut it out.
With these tips in mind, it should be fairly easy to stay on task. And if you’re ever in doubt, ask a friend to read over your work and give you some feedback. Happy writing!