This article aims to point out the common mistakes people make when writing an article.
Stephen is a graduate of Chemical Engineering and was just dismissed from his beautiful job simply because he copied and pasted from the internet on an assignment he was given by his manager in his company. You would most certainly sympathize with Stephen when you see him because that’s a very sad one for him? The Turn in the application made it possible for the company to catch any form of plagiarized work. At one time or the other, you might be assigned to write a story, prepare a proposal for your company, write a personal statement as a prospective graduate student, put your curriculum vitae together, be given an assignment by your professor, or a cover or your project thesis. The point is, we will all write at one point or the other.
However, there are some who have decided to dedicate a part of their lives to providing contents either as a journalist or a freelancer interested in expressing self. Though there is really nothing like a good writer but you can be an effective writer. The internet has actually made matter worse like Stephen’s case, anyone can pick up a desktop, type anything on the word document and call it an article, so since we are bombarded with too many information, it has become very difficult to decipher between the good and bad ones. Good content is actually easy to create especially when you have sufficient knowledge of what you want to write about, however, the dilemma is usually getting a good technique, but constant practice can be the remedy.
Let us share in this article some common mistakes made when writing an article.
COMMON MISTAKES MADE WHEN WRITING AN ARTICLE
1. No Reference
Plagiarism is a very serious copyright offence that has led to the abrupt end of many career writers. Technology has proliferated this issue because just by a google search, we could get almost all we need, copy and paste on our blogs without a catch. This is very dangerous since you cannot control the number of people that visit your website or blog daily. No man is an island, so it is okay to get ideas from other sources, but they must be properly referenced. If you don’t do that, it is as good as “Stealing”. If you must use other people’s intellectual property, you must reference them properly. You do that by either putting their exact words in quotes or paraphrasing based on your understanding of what you’ve read, but you must state that you got it from somewhere or someone. Many have paid heavy fines and even gone as far as going to jail because of this simple but serious offence.
2. Not doing enough research
If you are an art student, but you are given the assignment to write on a business-related subject, it is not your fault that you do not have prior knowledge, hence you must do thorough research. Even if you are an authority over a subject, you must take it upon yourself do read deep and wide to get a thorough understanding of different views of your topic. Some writers don’t carry out enough research before writing an article and can lead to contents that are not factual, which can be boring and subjective. Another intelligent person can tell if your content is well researched or not. So if you have a blog or website with little or no traffic, maybe you check this point.
3. Boring Topics or headlines
One of the reasons why we buy newspapers in the newspaper stands is simply because they are headlines. They are usually so catchy that you just want to know the content of the article. So you should replicate in your articles. I have seen a couple of articles with no topic or even if there are articles they are long and not persuasive, hence I do not bother to open the article at all. Your headline or topic could be the last thing you should check after writing your article because as you were writing and researching, you could have gotten enough ideas that would eventually shape your topic. For inspiration look at magazines, newspapers and even television news, they use their catchy headlines to sell their contents.
4. Too long or too short Content-Length
It is important you know the type of audience and purpose of writing; this would guide your content length. Why too long or too short? If you are writing for a young audience, your article should be a brief and conversational as possible, the older ones might not bother about this factor, they want to know facts so they can be patient to read for a long period of time. Your article should not beat around the bush, even your introduction. It should be straight to the point and as concise as possible so as not to lose the interest of the reader. If your write-ups are uploaded on the internet, do not forget that your consumers are daily bombarded with different information and distraction, so make your job easy by writing concisely and reflect the demographic attribute of your readers.
5. Writing with passive voice
Most writers write with a passive voice which can be very unexciting and gives the article or sentence a weak and boring notion. Your writings should be in active voice because it adds impact to your writing. The active voice describes a sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb. It follows a clear subject + verb + object construct that is easy to read. While in the passive voice, the subject is acted upon by the verb. Here is an example
Active Voice: The school requires tutors to watch an educational video every quarter.
Passive Voice: The tutors are required by the school to watch an educational video every quarter.
Active Voice: Janet mopped the entire house.
Passive Voice: The entire house was mopped by Janet.
Noticed the difference?
6. Improper Conclusion
A writer’s conclusion should summarize all that has been said in the article from the introduction until the end of the body and not the beginning of another point. Most writers don’t conclude well and don’t use the conclusion that is realistic. You should watch for that! Kindly note also that your conclusion is not another paragraph for another point, as stated earlier it is the summary. You could mention the main points in the preceding paragraphs or you just give a point that reflects the entire paragraph, whichever method you choose, it should be very brief.
7. Typographic and punctuation errors
As an effective writer, your content must be devoid of errors especially as you hone your skills. Most writers don’t take note of their words when typing or punctuation such as apostrophe. A vivid example is the use of It’s instead of Its. You should know when to use them in your sentence. Your reader can pan off easily when they find too many errors in an article. Your readers trust you to get information on issues that concern them, so they expect the highest level of professionalism from you. It is actually their right or they look for somewhere else and you know that there are really a lot of them.
When you do not do appropriate research, you would be tempted to repeat your points using another set of words in order to meet the word count. Redundancy is a simple addition of extra components which are not necessary. Let us share some examples but note that the words in italics are the common redundancies, they should be discarded in our sentences
We collaborated together
Exactly the same
This and many more are some of the common mistakes in our articles. Your readers are smart people who are very intentional about what they consume! A lot of writers have lost their audience because of this. The remedy is to read broad and continue to improve your writing skills
9. No Proofreading
As a pro in writing, you must proofread your articles because no one is above mistakes. Get a friend or an English expert to read for you. If there is no luxury of time for that especially as a daily writer, ready it aloud and in your mind as many times as you can to pinpoint your errors
Finally, you must know your style and stick to it, understand the target audience, so you can deliver efficiently. You cannot write about anything and expect everyone to consume your content with satisfaction, so make sure you understand the subject you are writing about. It takes a lot of efforts to get there, but many can you can too. Just be patient and pay the price!
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Joeme is a biochemist by training and a SEO content writer by passion. He has been writing content for the past 4 years. He has expertise in career-related information, education and university admissions.
He is also a certified web publisher.