Editing what should go in and what to leave out matters when you write an article, just as it does when you pack for a hike. Jenny Nicholson looks at how planning and writing an article mirrors the process of packing for a hike.
By JENNY NICHOLSON
1. Edit until it fits.
You’re packing for an overnight hike and you just know you will need everything you have laid out on the floor. But it won’t all fit. That’s when the hard part starts: do you really need those three t-shirts? What is essential? What can be left at home? Does your extra thick parka fit with the bikini and crop tops you’ve packed for your summer hike? If not, it’s got to be culled.
It’s the same with writing an article. Articles only have so many words.
Writing in your head you’ve planned this article and you have so much information. But there is a word limit.
You must cull/edit. It might hurt. You need wisdom to know what is necessary to make an article sing.
Edit. Edit. Edit. Is there a simpler way to say it? Is it sticking to the point of the article? Does it fit with the tone and style of your article?
20 Essential Editing Tips | The Writers College Times (writerscollegeblog.com)
2. Know where you are going.
Knowing your destination in tramping is vital for your survival. Pack accordingly.
Packing for the mountains in winter is different from the Abel Tasman track in summer. Crampons, ski trousers, maybe even an ice axe are added for those snowy slopes. You need to know where you are going, tell someone and stick to it.
It’s the same with writing an article for a particular publication, and a particular reader. Knowing your market is important.
- Study your market. Just as you pack for conditions, you need to know your market and write for them. Know what they want and stick to it.
- Tone – look at the tone of their articles.
- Viewpoint – look at the length of their pieces, and the viewpoint.
Do you need certain skills for the terrain? Is the market an area where certain knowledge is essential to write well? Do you have the skill and knowledge?
3. Freshness is key.
Freshness is important. Pack spare socks.
That moment you take off your boots and get a whiff of your wet socks is ‘pretty special’. But no-one else wants to share it. Take fresh socks!
In the same way, no one wants to read the same old stuff over and over. A fresh angle is imperative.
4. A logical flow
Logical flow when you pack leads to success.
Don’t put your raincoat at the bottom of your pack if you are tramping with black cloudy skies. Don’t pack your drink bottle inside your pack. Pack your camera near the top. Logic matters. Or you might find yourself wet and thirsty and missing capturing a fabulous moment.
Logical flow matters in journalism too.
Transitions are a tool in creating logical flow. They move the reader from one idea to another.
Create perfect logical flow in your writing | The Writers College Times (writerscollegeblog.com)
A fresh angle and how it helps you succeed.
- Angles give you the edge. You have more chance of being published if you have a fresh angle.
- Readers are engaged by an interesting angle, even on a subject that has been covered many times. How often do we see Princess Kate in magazine articles? Each time there is a fresh hook to pull readers in.
- Every word and sentence needs to fit the angle. The angle keeps you on track in your writing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenny Nicholson writes for her local newspaper, specialising in human interest stories. Out of work hours, she spends most of her time tramping, reading about tramping, looking at photos of tramps she’s been on or dreaming about her next tramp. Articles written by Jenny are at https://www.waimeaweekly.co.nz/author/jenny-nicholson/