Five Successful Writing Strategies for Non-Fiction
Five Strategies to Write Reports, Essays, & Non-Fiction
Many people cannot get started writing because they do not know where to start. In this brief article, I share insight from years of teaching students and professionals of all ages how to prepare professional work.
Which one of the following applies to your struggle with writing?
- Beginning to write;
- Finding a unique angle for your next writing project or
- Discovering a path through the writing process?
The great news is that guidance for all of these concerns are included in this one brief article.
Strategy 1: Research.
Regardless if one is writing fiction or nonfiction, the author must do sufficient research to provide substantial background for the work ahead. This research can take many forms, depending on the type of writing, but it is absolutely necessary to have deep, broad information to provide full detail and accuracy in the account.
Strategy 2: Determine Your Angle.
Once you, the author, have the information, it is critical to determine your unique perspective or angle to approach the topic. How will you introduce your reader to this portrayal in unique way which will sustain his attention through a compelling account? Developing such an approach is a vital starting point.
Strategy 3. Discovering Your Concept Maps.
In order to determine your unique approach, it may be helpful to write key points of information on paper or digital note cards. Examine the information and look for trends, patterns, and groupings of themes or topics. See if you can envision ways the information can be arranged to present it clearly and fully to the readers. In this manner, you may discover your unique angle, and certainly a good start on Strategy 4.
Strategy 4. Organize Your Work; Outline is not a nasty word!
Our fourth grade teachers taught us to use outlines for our writing, but we all try to find a shortcut. After about 5 books and over 100 published articles and papers, I finally gave in and realized my teachers were right. Before I start writing in earnest, I now create a tentative outline that will morph with my work. It provides indispensable guidance and framing of my many hours of work. Colleagues I have worked with have found this approach equally as beneficial, and I expect you will as well.
Strategy 5. Cyclical Writing.
The strategy of cyclical writing is a surprise to many professionals and students. Many people believe they must write documents from beginning to end in their entirety. Instead, I have found it very successful and rewarding to work through the outline in a cyclical manner. The first time through, I do a few sentences for each outline point; then maybe the next time through, I write a paragraph on each point. Finally, I begin settling down to write in different areas. By approaching the writing process in his manner, it keeps me focused on the big picture, the entire flow of the piece. Otherwise, the sections might become disjointed if 2 months are spent on one chapter before finally moving to the next. By working through all of the chapters and points repeatedly (iteratively) authors can weave together the style, voice, and flow of the content, details, and the plot or message.
More To Come….
In future articles we will continue to provide suggestions for success in writing, career success and distance learning. In the meantime, enjoy this and Dr. King’s prior articles.
Dr. Kathleen P. King (EdD)
Certified Coach, Author, Keynote Speaker, Professor of Education
About Dr. Kathy King
Dr. King is an award winning author of 17 books (3 more in process at this time) and a dynamic, interactive keynoter, and author who invigorates audiences on a variety of professional topics. From developing a publishing agenda and writing skills, to coping with changes in the workplace, to navigating organizational demands, developing leadership, meeting the needs of 21st century learners, and distance learning, she is always “Helping Professionals Reach Their Dreams.” Kathy is an active member of several professional groups related to professional writing and speaking in addition to her research communities: American Society of Journalists and Authors, Textbook and Academic Authors, American Society of Training and Development and National Speakers Association. Contact Kathy to discuss speaking engagements, coaching and consulting services.
Portrait Photography by Joe Henson