The hardest thing you’ll ever have to do is to ‘start’. When you want to travel, the hardest part is to just ‘go ahead and go’. But once you start, everything follows. The same goes with writing. I don’t know about you, but when I write, the first sentence in the article gets erased five times before one becomes permanent. But once you get through the first sentence, writing the whole article will be a breeze.
There are actually a lot of ways by which you could begin your article. You could start it with a quotation, a question, an anecdote, or you could go straight to the point. There is no exact formula for starting. You can start your article with any sentence, as long as it suits your purpose.
What’s the Purpose of the Article?
So think about why you’re writing that article. What is your purpose? Is it to entertain, to inspire, to persuade, or simply to inform? If you want to entertain, then a funny anecdote might do well. If you want to inspire, then a famous quote may do. If you want to persuade, then maybe you could start with a question. If you want to inform, then you could go straight to the point.
Let me give you a concrete example. Let’s say that your aim is to persuade people to buy your product. I mentioned that if you want to persuade, starting the article with a question might do the trick. Let’s say that your product is a water bed. Maybe you could start your article with a question like, “Have you ever had a night when you couldn’t sleep because of your lumpy mattress?” or “When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep?” This is a good strategy because you’re automatically creating a bond with your reader. If your reader answers “yes” to your question, he will be able to relate, and if he is able to relate, then he will be interested.
The First Line
But asking a question isn’t the only way to start an article. If you can make it work, then an anecdote might be perfect for your article. Maybe you could tell a story about a friend of yours who didn’t want to buy the bed at first but was persuaded to do so after a bit of prodding. And then give them a punch line. It has to be funny, or at the very least, unexpected. Maybe you could end your anecdote by saying that your friend went to your office, fuming. He kept on glaring at you so you asked him what was wrong. And then he answered, “I got into trouble at work because of your bed”. And so you ask him why and he answers that he woke up late because the bed was so comfortable. You’ll have showcased how comfortable your bed is and entertained your readers at the same time.
Again, there’s no exact formula for starting to write an article, just let your imagination run wild.