[This is part of an ongoing ChurchMag series, A Dutch-Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Better Writer.]
There are many forms and sorts of writing: short stories, fiction books, newspaper stories, articles for magazines, blogs, you name it. And within those forms, the styles vary widely as well. It’s interesting to see for instance how much the Dutch newspaper style varies from the American approach.
No matter the form or style however, the best writers have one thing in common: they are purpose driven.
Purpose Driven Writing
They have a single point to make, a focused message. Every story they include, every quote they cite, every paragraph and even every word is aimed at driving that central message home.
Until purpose driven writing becomes an unconscious habit (and it will be over time, as I have discovered), there are steps you can take to help yourself find that message and focus on it.
Before you start writing, ask yourself:
- What do I want to say?
- What is the one thing I want people to remember after reading this?
That’s your purpose, your key message.
You’ll discover that this is not always easy. Sometimes I start with a vague idea and my key point doesn’t become clear until I’ve written a few paragraphs, or even more. I’ve discovered that I sometimes achieve clarity through the process of writing. In that case I start writing, find my key message and then revise whatever I need to completely focus on that point.
This brings my to the second step.
Once you have found your purpose, make sure everything you include centers around that message. Sure, if your goal is to entertain, you have more leeway in including funny anecdotes than with a more serious piece of prose. But the bottom line is that you should only include that, which drives your key point home. Anything else should go.
If you want to train yourself, grab some articles from experienced writers and journalists this week. Try to discover their message and what they used to get this point across.