Article Writing Tip – Let It Simmer!

"Gordon Bryan" "article writing tip"I’ve written many articles, over many years, and many of those many articles were about how to write articles! Here’s another tip that I find very useful…

That first sentence was me mucking around with words, really, and that’s all writing is basically – mucking around with words, pushing them around until they convey the message you want them to convey!

If that makes it sound simple, well, as a theory it *is* simple, and although there are things to consider about your target market, and the aim of the article, I do like to keep to simple structure and technique whenever I can.

In fact, today’s tip is a refinement of a technique I have used pretty much all the time. It’s one that I only move away from if I have to, and it’s one that seems natural to me, so what’s that technique..?

Keeping it natural!

Writing conversationally, in other words.

See, I’m doing it now! You can keep paragraphs short and sweet, between 1 and 3 sentences, which makes them easier to read, and you can use single lines of text and white space to create gaps that would appear in the spoken word.

It’s not something that comes easily to some people, who view writing as something they did at school, and feel they have to embark on an essay every time they start a new piece.

I would certainly recommend it, and I would also recommend the refinement that is the point of today’s article, which is to let it simmer!

Because I was happy with my conversational writing style, and people said they enjoyed reading it, I just carried on with that style, and also took another benefit from conversational writing, which is that you can write content very quickly. That’s because in effect you are simply writing down what you might say to someone over a coffee or on the phone.

I took pleasure in the fact that I could write an article, check for spelling mistakes, and pretty much publish it there and then, which is exactly what I did on a regular basis.

When I came across the idea of letting it simmer, it was in a post I read about editing. I had viewed editing as the simple spell checking previously mentioned, but since I like to try new things, I gave the simmer idea a go, and found some odd results…

Actually, the results weren’t odd at all, just odd to me! I found that if I stepped away from an article after I had written it, and then came back to it later, preferably the next day at a minimum, I found that I wanted to change things.

They might only be little things, but I might notice that I had used the same words too many times, or a sentence did not convey my point as well as I had thought. A little tweak here, or a little change there could really improve how I felt about the article.

I have found that this simmer technique can work even if you step away for as little as a few hours, but it just gives your brain the time to look at the article with fresh eyes.

As a tip, it isn’t exactly ground breaking, is it! I know that, and what I call ‘letting it simmer’ is basically ‘editing’, but hey, it’s a phrase that hits home for me, and it’s a technique that hits home for me.

I did say I like to keep it simple with article writing if I can, and this is certainly a tip which is simple to explain, but powerful when put into action, and hopefully you’ll get the same writing benefits as me from letting it simmer!

Do let me know what you think!

‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. Here’s one of those other articles about writing – Struggling To Turn That Article Idea Into Actual Content?
P.P.S. Don’t forget, you can get email updates of new posts via the sign up box at the top right of any page

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  • Thanks for a reminder of the obvious idea of letting it simmer. Now I’m laughing to myself though with this 30-day Ultimate Blog Challenge! Who has time to let it simmer when you’re writing one article a day and just jumped on board March 31 with no arsenal of already simmering pearls waiting to become fabulousness? LOL! I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts. Very clever and fun reading!

    • Thanks Deb,
      You make a good point about how this technique works when there are deadlines involved.
      Well, you can let an article simmer for a shorter while for the first article, then after you go back and take another look and finish it, make sure you write another article the same day.
      Then you can go back to that one the next day, and be one day ahead on a rolling basis.
      I’ve found that works well for me.

    • Hi Roy,
      I go through phases of writing articles in advance – but I always find that once I’ve written an article, I want to get it out there – this is why the simmer technique helps me, as it forces me to hold back for a while!

  • My problem: keeping it simple.
    I write conversationally, yes, but I say too much, too often and it isn’t very simple since that just all keeps happening. HAHA.

    This is a good approach. Take a break with it and then come back. Good idea!

    • Hi Mae,
      I also tend to have a cut off point length-wise. Nothing set in stone, but if I feel I am drifting too much away from the central point, I will divide up into different articles, or a series about the same point.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • I don’t like to read what I’ve just written, so if I just publish, then read it later on (days, weeks, heck even years, later) I find that there are typos that were missed by “spell check” and I become very upset by the poor quality of my work. If I write it, save it, and go back over it when I’m ready to read it, then I catch that, improve, and publish something worth publishing. So, I have a posted/unposted file and I just move things over once I’m satisfied with the quality of a piece, and have sent it where it belongs on the web. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Regina,
      We seem to be on the same wavelength with this one! I’m always so eager to publish, but find that the etxra time taken to go away and come back to look again really has improved my content. Well, in my view anyway!

  • I TOTALLY agree with this “let-it-simmer” idea, GreatG, theoretically. But I’m with Deb–it’s 5:34 p.m. and I’ve got to write tomorrow’s post before I make supper in an hour . . . unfortunately not a lot of time for simmering! Anyway, though, I think in general my writing can benefit from a bit of time on the back burner. Great post, and I really enjoy your “conversational” voice.

    • Thanks Amy,
      I know exactly what you’re saying, and it’s why I never used to bother with the simmer – write it, check it, publish it – that was my route.
      I did find that with the simmer I found the smallest tweaks making a big difference to my perception of my own article, it was always better, so although I still don’t always use it myself, I would say get a day ahead with your articles, this allows your simmer time.
      Write tomorrow’s post today for sure, then it can simmer overnight!
      Gordon (btw, I like *your* conversational style too!)

    • You’re spot on about busy lives (btw your Best Practice book has loads of good tips too!), but sometimes taking a long term view and rearranging the time we have is possible, to get the fruits of the incubation benefits,
      cheers as ever,