This week, I want to give you a tool which I sometimes give to clients. It is a fun, creative way for working your way through a problem or issue which you might be facing in your life.
Imagine turning the problem into a news item for a newspaper.
The idea is adapted from a conversation I had many years ago with a journalist friend of mine. There are several guidelines, he told me, in writing for the press, all of which are really useful if you have something which is going round and round in your head. Using these guidelines helps you to get the information out of your head and written down in a way that other people can understand. It also helps you to take one step back from the issue. This can often help you find clarity for yourself.
Compile the facts: list all the facts and information which needs to be in the ‘article’.
Start with a one good sentence to grab the attention and which sets out the topic.
Give the important facts of the story: basically, answer all the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How questions.
Give any additional backup information which might help further clarify the story for the reader.
Double check the facts: is what you have written actually factually true? Or is it your interpretation of the situation?
And speaking of interpretation, try to keep the writing as unbiased as possible. Keep your writing from being over positive or negative.
Conclude the article with a good strong closing sentence. This can be a restatement of the opening sentence, or a statement of future developments.
When you approach your issue using this article writing idea, remember to think of the story from the point of view of someone else having to read and understand it (even though you may never show it to anyone else). And if you want to have a bit more fun with it, you could even try writing it in different styles, from broadsheet to tabloid!