It sounds like advice you’d hear from a passionate English teacher. You’d be surprised to find out that it actually comes from addiction specialist and Expert Author Sheryl Letzgus McGinnis, who is also the subject of today’s Expert Author Showcase and an advocate of the idea that any good writer should also be an attentive reader.

Sheryl uses article writing as a way to raise awareness for a variety of topics related to addiction, as well as her published books.

She has writing credits for three books about addiction. Plus, more recently, she has explored writing fiction in the romance category and has one book of short stories.

Impact of Addiction

Sheryl hopes that each article she writes can have a positive impact on peoples’ lives. She says, “Sadly, the drug/addiction pandemic afflicts us all in one way or another. One merely has to go online, turn the TV and radio on or pick up the newspaper, and there is usually always something in the news about this problem.”

The trouble is that it’s difficult for those suffering from addiction to be open and honest. She says, “Addiction is not something that everyone wants to talk about but so many people clamor to learn more about it. I try to deliver timely and truthful information to help others who are caught in the addiction web.”

Article writing is one of the primary ways Sheryl’s offers her support. Several online radio shows and local television stations have tapped her to provide her expertise on-air, based on articles she wrote.

The Power of Reading

No matter what niche you write in, Sheryl recommends reading as the absolute best way to prepare for your next article. She says, “Read. This is something that my husband and I have championed ever since our own boys were little. You’ll learn so much and then you can pass your knowledge along to others.”

Because of the vast knowledge she acquires through reading and research, Sheryl rarely ever struggles to come up with content in her articles. So many thoughts pop into her head while she’s writing that she actually sets many of them aside to address in later articles. Usually a few words are enough to hold the thought for later.

Here are the other highlights from our interview:

    READ, but also WRITE and STUDY – The English language is a living language and constantly changing, so a good writer must keep up with new words, changes to old words and know how to spell and use proper grammar. Bad spelling grammar can cause the reader to lose stock in what you have to say.
    
    Real Spell Check – Keep a good dictionary or thesaurus on your desk and refer to it often. Or, you can even use an online dictionary. Don’t depend on spell check. Any writer knows that spell check can really trip you up if you depend on it solely. It can help, but it can also steer you wrong.
    
    Be Comfortable With Your Topic – Don’t start out writing about topics you don’t know anything about. That’ll put you on a fast track to frustration. Instead, draw from experience and focus on the topics that you know well.
    
    Ask “What Do Others Want?” – If you’re stuck for a topic, just ask yourself a simple question: “What would other people want to know about my particular niche?” The answers will spill forth and then it’ll be a tough decision to pick out the topic from there.
    
    Review and Revise – Once you get to writing, let it flow and don’t let other things distract you. Then, put the article aside for a while before you review and revise it. Most articles could use a fresh eye before they are submitted.

Now that you’ve had a chance to meet Sheryl, take a minute to leave a question or comment for her.

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