The more I read newspapers, magazines, and Web content, the more I’m realizing that great writing is quickly becoming a lost art form. One of the symptoms of this is the inability of many professional writers to lead readers through a reasoning process, from the beginning of the piece all the way through to the end. More and more I am seeing content that, after completing, leaves me with the question, “what did I just read?”
If you aspire to be a great writer you can do your readers a great service by learning what’s known as the “step-by-step” writing process. The step-by-step process is one that captures the reader’s attention, invites him to read the first two or three sentences, and then carries him through to the end of the article. It is a building process, so to speak, which not only compels the reader to continue reading, but also leaves him with some concrete thoughts when he’s done.
The step-by-step process begins with a title that encourages the reader to
look closer at your content. Your title should capture the reader’s interest by being intriguing, asking a common question, making a bold statement, etc. If your title can compel the reader to continue on, you have significantly increased the chances of him completing the article.
The next step is to prepare the reader for the body of your article. In the old days we used to call this the “opening” or “introductory” paragraph. It’s a short, two or three sentence paragraph which introduces the topic and gives the reader just a hint of the direction you’ll be taking. If done effectively, it encourages the reader to keep reading.
Next, you move onto the body of the text which spells out everything you want to say about your topic. Applying the step-by-step process to the article body means that you lay out one principal at a time, with examples and/or evidence, and then build the next principle on top. As an example, that’s exactly what I’ve done so far in this article.
Finally, your conclusion wraps up the entire discussion and pulls all of your previous points together. If a writer has effectively employed the step-by-step method his readers will reach his conclusion with full understanding of what he was talking about. In fact, if you’ve made it this far then I’ve proved my point!