Op-ed writing tips

Op-ed writing tips

Everyone writes op-eds differently. Some scribble down their thoughts all at once, and later massage them into something coherent. Others start with detailed outlines. Some prefer marathon writing sessions, while others pen their work in short increments. No matter your style, here are some universal tips.

1. Know the points you want to make before you start.

Whether you write a detailed outline or not, it’s important to know the points you want to make in your argument. Before you put pen to paper, you should marshal your supporting evidence by doing some research. Your argument is guaranteed to flow more logically if you actually know what you’re going to say.

2. Word vomit is okay.

Sometimes, you’re staring at a page with a few paragraphs and it feels like there’s miles to go. That’s okay! When you hit a wall, just put ideas on the page, make your points, and streamline them later. Think of it as a rough draft of a rough draft.

3. Sleep on it or just take breaks.

Whether you spend four hours or 30 minutes at a time on a draft, it’s important to clear your head periodically. Take a walk, grab a coffee, or just give your eyes (and brain) a break from staring at the document. If you can, sleep on a draft for a night.

When you return, you’ll find the time away from the piece helped. You’ll make new insights that will improve the piece’s organizational flow, sentence structure, and word choice.

4. Review one last time.

Before you send a piece to an editor, review it one last time. Did you make all the points you started out with? Did you support those points with evidence? Are you happy with the organization? Are you satisfied with framing, sentence structure and word choice?

Micah Ezekiel