Writing a Short, yet Compelling Article

In Circle News, Divinely Inspired by Johnson Davis1 Comment

One way to write a short, yet compelling article is to use basic essay format, keep it focused and make it personal. Use the essay format because it works, giving you a framework that makes it much easier to fill that blank page. Keep it focused so you can fully address a subject in a useful way. And finally, make it personal so it will be unique out on the stormy sea of cloned content and blatant plagiarism that we call the internet.

What do you believe?

The essay format generally starts with a few sentences where you make a statement and say why you think it is true. We say something like “I believe this, because of that and the other”. Then there are paragraphs that expand on each of your arguments, in this case one for “that” and one for “the other”. Finally you have a conclusion paragraph where you both confirm your belief and apply it to the world. Something like “That’s why I believe this, and it has changed my life.” This format has evolved over about 500 years, so, trust the old ways.

Eensy Weensy Teeny Weeny Subject

A 500 word essay on “Ash Wood” would just be a long list.

Focus on something very specific that you can address in a short essay. For example, rather than trying to cover every aspect of some subject, focus in on just one so you can really do it justice. A 500 word essay on “Ash Wood” would be nothing but a long list. Instead, write an essay called “Ash, the Wood of the Poet”, and focus on how it is used to help with communication and writing. Leave the other hundred uses for other articles.

First Person, Only Person

Make it personal. Since everyone has access to Google and the Internet, the best way to keep your article unique is to make it personal. Write about your own feelings and experiences, limiting referenced facts to those truly needed to understand your idea. Something like,

“Mystics have used ash wood to remove mental blockages and to promote understanding for millennia. I use a small, thin ash cutting board as a mouse pad and it keeps me grounded, helping me focus on my writing.”


FInally, tie it all together and tell your reader how they might apply this in their own life, or where they might see it out in the world. You can give more examples of what you have done, or what you have seen others do. You might even suggest the reader expand beyond your point of focus. In the example of the ash tree, this might mean suggesting they research the mystical properties of other woods, or just other attributes of ash wood. So write a focused, personal essay, like the one you are reading now, and the result will be interesting, unique, and perhaps compelling.

Johnson Davis

Johnson DavisI'm a practical animist, so I believe everything has an inner life and our actions should be tempered by ethical thought. And take down all the guard rails. Weee!


  1. Pingback: Tell a Story in Earth Tones | Church of the Earth

Leave a Comment