Posted in On Writing, Research

About Writing Articles

I love reading a good article about writing. In fact nothing gives me more pleasure than learning more about my craft. However through my years of reading online articles, I’ve found some problems in using them for research.

Finding The Article

After reading the article and closing the browser, you may find you want to reference the article at a later date. If you have a good memory, you may be able to find the article or at least find the site with the article. But what do you do if you can’t remember the name of the article or the website where you found it?

The simple answer is to save the address of the article. I have a list of links that I like to check constantly for new content as well as to re-read older articles.

Deleted Articles

There have been a few times in the past when I’ve been looking for an article that I wanted to reference again but found the site deleted. Sometimes it’s not the site that has been taken down but a specific article.

Unfortunately, there’s not much that you can do in the case of a deleted article. If the article’s creator is okay with copying it for personal use, then copy the article to keep on your computer.

However, as the internet makes plagiarism easy, many authors prefer readers not to copy their articles. In this case, I make notes about the main points of the article and keep a copy of where I took the notes from. This way, if the article is deleted, I still have the relevant information.

Using the Articles

There are two ways in which I use writing articles. The first way is in a practical sense to improve my writing. This could be in terms of characterization, grammar, or plotting. I use the articles to allow me to grow my writing style so that readers might better understand my works.

The second way I use the articles is when I write about the craft of writing. I can link to other articles about the same topic or share information that I’ve found useful.

What do you think about writing articles? Are they useful or could you do without them? Are you a hoarder of articles or do you read them once and forget about them?


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8 thoughts on “About Writing Articles

  1. I don’t think it’s bad to copy articles for your own personal use/reference (I do that all the time, mostly because, as you say, they end up disappearing from the Internet), but copying them and using them on your own site without permission is definitely wrong.


    1. Normally I would agree with you; however, I have been to a few sites where the author has disabled right click or the ability to selection the text because they don’t want anyone copying their work for any reason. In those cases I follow their wishes and just make my own personal notes.


  2. If you’re not sure it will be there later, perhaps print it at the time — making sure to include the URL or author information so you can try to contact them later. Of course, then what do you do with printed copy? Perhaps keep a file of related articles to compare and contrast later.


    1. That’s good advice but I have a feeling I would amass several books of writing articles. I think I may have a hoarding problem when it comes to writing information. I would be worried if they didn’t make me so happy. πŸ™‚


  3. I think articles on writing are like articles on parenting: You should view them as ideas to enrich who you already are in that aspect of your life. If reading articles on writing inspires you to try new techniques, I’m all for it. If, instead, you find yourself simply trying to copy that writer’s suggestions without intending to incorporate them into your own voice, then I think you should leave them for a bit. I’m not saying you have to find your voice before you can read advice. But make sure you can hear it every once in awhile, reminding you that it exists and that it can’t wait to grow.



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