Tell a Friend  

About the Writer:

With a tender heart, a drive for learning and a gift for sharing, Margaret brings her years of experience as a licensed professional counselor and a woman of faith to all her writings. Her insights and biblical understanding bring home principles we all can use - no matter the circumstances we are in.


Writing Coach Corner

Writing Practice - Part 5
Writing for Readers of the
Next-Step-Of-Faith Website

By Margaret Cook, M.Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor, Life Coach


Practicing writing is a great way to build a cache of ideas and resources for publishing. Develop your writing skills just like you develop good eating habits, exercise, spiritual disciplines and healthy lifestyle choices.

Take a few moments and look over ten things you have written. This can involve letters, journal entries, poems or any writing you generated in your practice. Read the ten items in the morning and go about your day.

When you have a chance at the end of the day, re-read the ten pieces and ask yourself:

  1. Which one evokes the most emotion or energy?
  2. Is there one that I thought of periodically throughout the day?
  3. Am I excited about sharing one of these with someone, and if so who?

Ready, set, rank! Quickly number the pieces from one to ten in terms of the most interesting or vibrant.

Tomorrow you will read two articles on the Next-Step-of-Faith website and think about that audience. If you are planning to write something for another publication, read two articles in the target publication the next day. Take a few notes about the audience that will read your article based on what you read in the publication (age, gender, interests, lifestyle, etc.).

Begin revising your “top” piece for the publication you are targeting. Keep the audience in mind and remember that the emotional energy will draw the reader to your story. No one can tell your story like you can. But, tell your story in a way that the audience will relate to it and feel that they have a part in the story too.

Share what you have written with someone you know who is “like” the target audience and get their reaction. To get the most immediate feedback, it is best to do this in person if at all possible. Watch the person as they read. What emotions do they express? Sometimes they might express different emotions than you expect. There is an invitation to re-write if they do not have much of an emotional response.

Follow some basic tips for revising and proofreading your work. Follow the guidelines for writers carefully. Read your article for each aspect of the writers’ guidelines for that specific publication. Pay particular attention to length if writing for a periodical or for the internet.

Set a goal to submit an article for publication in your target publication within the next month. It will be great to see your article featured in the Next-Step-of-Faith newsletter.

Ten Tips for Good Writing

  1. Be specific – not general.
  2. Use Active voice.
  3. Avoid cliché’s.
  4. Have a point – and make every sentence work toward it.
  5. Use shorter sentences rather than longer phrasing.
  6. Make sure you clearly have a beginning, middle and end. Pay attention to the transitions from one sentence to the next and between paragraphs.
  7. Read your writing carefully to proof, set it aside for a while and read it again. Read it out loud and have someone else read it.
  8. USE the spell check and grammar check of your word processor. You have to proofread in addition to that to catch all of the possible errors.
  9. Know your sources for quotes and cite them accurately. (You may need to follow a particular style of doing this. Most publishers will have guidelines that indicate what style manual to use.)
  10. Think of your audience and make your writing interesting to the reader.

Look it up! If you need help with a few basics, here are free places to consult.

Team up with others if you need help editing and correcting common errors. You will learn how to spot your own weaknesses and you can learn to correct them. Consider forming a writers group, or using a coach.

Keep writing!

Writer’s Web Links

Easy to use place for a few of the basics.

A good starting point is the Table of Contents:

Look at this if you are wondering about writing in Active voice:

Schools are such a great internet resource. This website has a number of useful links.

You’ll love the name of this one and all of the information.

Have another web resource you use? Email it to us and we will keep a list for our writers!

Copyright © July, 2006 – Margaret Cook. All rights reserved.
Permission to use or duplicate this article is available by contacting the writer at

Back to Articles Main Page : : : : Back to Articles Sorted By Writer : : : : Back to Articles Sorted by Title

Copyright © 2009 - Next-Step-of Faith and its Content Providers. All Rights Reserved.
Website Design by Next-Step-Up Communications