“You can’t edit a blank page.” — Jodi Picoult
Every writer opens their word processing software and faces the blinking cursor. The trick is to move past it quickly so you’ll have something to edit later.
You’ll hear plenty of writers give tips on using timers or putting on a specific soundtrack. There’s merit to these. I’ve done them too. But for many experienced writers, there’s a step before setting your timer for 25 minutes, and that’s having an article format.
What do I mean by an article format?
Simple… think back to the last article you read. Was it a list-based blog post? Or a business profile? Those are both popular article formats.
It turns out there are others too. There are Q&A-style interview posts where the questions and answers are printed verbatim. There’s a problem/solution structure where the writer defines the problem, shares why it’s a problem, and offers a solution(s).
Sometimes you’ll see these formats referenced in job listings. Such as “looking for a writer to write in-depth buyers guides.”
It actually took me several years into my writing career before I consciously thought about certain article types.
Though once I identified them, I realized this was a key to writing faster and better. It was something of a revelation when I realized I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel every time I opened the computer. I just needed to understand a few key formats and go from there.