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How To Write A Good Short Form Article


I hate writing long articles.

I used to think articles should be long, well-researched, and packed with a lot of helpful information. But that isn’t true.

When I started writing on Medium, I spent 7–8 hours researching and writing an article only to find that nobody was engaging with it.

Then on certain days, due to lack of time, I would write something offhand, and it would get a lot of engagement.

I realized that researched articles were not well-received because I didn’t sound authentic. They sounded more like academic papers, and people don’t engage with academic content.

I also realized that it is much easier to write from my right brain than from my left brain. This is because the right brain relies on personal experiences rather than researched material.

I wrote a 100-page book in seven days. I could do that because I was writing from my right brain.

I have been writing a short article a day on LinkedIn for the past 30 days in 10–20 minutes flat.

After writing 30+ posts, I realized I could cover a lot of ground, even short articles. 

Short articles are fast-paced, easy to write, and could be information-dense.

They are an excellent way to experiment with new topics and get you in the habit of writing every day. 

They could also be a lot of fun. 

I used to waffle in my articles but not anymore. I learned a lot from writing on LinkedIn.

A simple 5 step formula I am using to write short posts can also be applied to writing articles. 

Here is how it goes. 

Five steps to writing a good short form article.

  1. Punch line 

2. Old belief

3. Story 

4. New belief

5. Message. 

Punchline

Your first line is the first bite of an unknown dish. Medium readers are fickle eaters, and if your first sentence is chewy or bland, they’ll quickly look for better treats elsewhere. So, set the tone of your article with a punchy sentence with a promise of more tasty ones to come next. 

A punchline is a short snappy opening, preferably less than six words. It grabs the reader by the collar and says, pay attention.

The way to write a good punchline is to have it ooze out emotion. 

Here are some examples

  • I hate interviews.
  • Who am I to give your advice? 
  • I make writing mistakes every day.
  • Busyness in business isn’t a badge of honor.
  • Your boss “isn’t” your friend.
  • I don’t want to be a digital nomad anymore.

I have started this article with a punchline.

I hate long articles.

Old Belief

The second thing to do is to explain an old belief that should run counter to your current belief. In this article, I stated the old belief as follows.

I used to think articles should be well researched and packed with a lot of useful information. But that isn’t true.

Story

The third part is to tell a story that bridges the gap between your old belief to your new belief. I told my story in the next five short paragraphs

New belief

Following the story, I reinforced my new belief in a few short sentences.

Short articles are fast-paced, easy to write, and could be information-dense.

They are an excellent way to experiment with new topics and get you in the habit of writing every day.

They could also be a lot of fun.

Message

For a LinkedIn post, my message would be short. But for this article, I chose to share my 5 step formula to give you something concrete. 

That could be done in a line or two or a paragraph. In this article, I choose to give you my template to write short articles.

That’s it. 

Now you too can write short but helpful articles.


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