Contribute to Australian Yoga Life

Before you begin writing, browse through previous issues of the magazine to get the feeling of the various styles of article, which have been published before. Although you may have already read many of the articles, now look at them more carefully to see how they are structured and why some of them are more appealing to you than others.

Ask yourself some questions about the articles you found most enjoyable or useful

  • How did that article get my attention?
  • How did it begin?   How far did I read before I became really interested?
  • What was the most interesting or memorable part? Or was it all really interesting?
  • How did it end?   How did I feel after I finished reading it? What impression did it leave?

Whilst writing your own article keep in mind these questions and how you answered them.

Getting started

Before you get stuck into the ‘real writing’, do a rough outline of your article. At the very least, jot down your main points and any sub-headings which occur to you. If you can do this in a linear point-by-point fashion (not everybody can), then you’ll find at the end that these points are the basis of your paragraphs and also give you headings to use in the article to highlight your main points. Make a note, too, of how you expect the article to end. Like the start, it might change, but at least thinking about it will help you to focus.

Then start by writing a few sentences which give an idea of the intention or purpose of the article. If you are dealing with a yogic concept which might not be familiar to all readers, especially beginning students, then it may be necessary or helpful also to give at the beginning a brief explanation of the idea or a definition of the Sanskrit word (examples are sadhana, sankalpa, mantra, karma). You might later change it or put it further on in the article, or even delete it; but put it there so that you keep it in mind.   Some indication of your background in yoga may be warranted, especially if you are coming from the point of view of having followed a particular guru or worked for a long time in one particular style of yoga.

Do not try to finalise or refine your opening paragraph at this stage. That is the last thing you do. Your actual intention and the main thrust of the article might change during the process of writing and then you’ll have to change the opening. When you are finished there should be a good fit between what you said in the introduction, what you say in the conclusion, and everything else between.

Writing . . . and RE-writing

If you’ve not written for publication before, then it will probably be more difficult than you expected and take longer than you planned. If you keep the following points in mind from the beginning, it should help you to produce a better article quicker; one which is easy to read and requires very little proofreading and editing on the part of the publishers.

  • Take note of the Notes for Writers, which AYL sends you, and follow their guidelines!
  • Maintain the flow of the article.   As you write, frequently re-read what you’ve written, even read it aloud, and check whether it reads easily. Bits in brackets, footnotes, and lots of dashes may be more nuisance than are worth. Even direct quotes, though they might add life and authenticity to your article, they can be disruptive if there are too many.
  • Keep referring back to your outline. Rehash it; add or delete points as you progress.
  • If in doubt, cut it out. When you find you’ve accidentally repeated the same point in several different places, or you’ve gone off on a tangent, or the quotes and explanations you’ve used really don’t contribute to the meaning of the article, then cut them out. You might lose some of your favourite quotes and some finely crafted sentences, but you’ll have a better article.
  • Write and re-write. Be prepared to go through several drafts to get it right. Work on it. Many people are going to read your article when it’s done and cannot ask questions!

When you have finished

Give it to one or two others to read. Make any last refinements that seem desirable in light of their comments. Do a last check to see that you have complied with all the requirements in the Notes for Writers, especially regarding references, captions for illustrations and the short bit about yourself.

Run spell check as a final making sure you have your English/Australian language loaded NOT American.