The 5 W's of Writing

January 11, 2023

By: Amy Johnson, WNCC PAUMCS Newsletter Coordinator

I'm sure you remember the 5 W's of writing:  Who, What, When, Where, Why.

Now if you are like me, there has been a time or two when I have omitted a necessary "W" from an announcement.  I once posted a meeting notice, but failed to put in the time.  Another time, I failed to include the place of the meeting.  I knew the time and place in my mind, but failed to put them on paper.

How many of us have sat down to our computers and began to write an article, only to find ourselves deleting and starting over again?  I'm guilty of that!  One of the many workshops I attended when I was employed as a secretary at AT&T in the Technical Writing Division instructed us to do the following exercise before writing an article.   First you needed to draw a big circle on your paper and write in the circle the topic of your article.  Then draw lines outward from the circle and jot down different aspects of this topic.  Take all of the items listed surrounding your topic and begin organizing all of your thoughts into the article.  By beginning with jotting down your thoughts, it is easier to pull the article together.   Also, this process is not always accomplished in just a few minutes.  Sometimes it may take a few days to collect all of your thoughts on a certain topic.

The 5 W's are good reminders of what we need in order to publish a good article; however, the 5 W's are also good to use when beginning a new project or area of ministry.

Who do we want to help or reach?

What type of project or ministry is needed?  What is the purpose of this project?

When and Where will this project take place?   When can we begin and what is the projected completion date?

Most importantly - Why do we want to undertake this project or Why is this project needed?

I had chosen the topic of the 5 W's to write about a few days ago.  Then this morning, my morning devotional was about "living a stirring life."  "Each of us should lead a life stirring enough to start a movement.  We should yearn to change the world.  We should love unquenchably, dream unfalteringly, and work unceasingly."  (Max Lucado)   The projects our churches undertake may not change the world, but they may change the lives of those living in your community.  And, of course, through our apportionments and Advance Specials, we are helping to change the world one life at a time through our mission projects.  (Do some research and highlight some of those projects in a newsletter.  You can gain some information from and on giving. When people know their giving makes a difference, they are encouraged to give more.)

In addition to the 5 W's of Writing, I saw a post on Facebook from "The Horse Mafia" that listed The Five W's of Life.  They, too, should be remembered as we go through our daily tasks.

WHO you are is what makes you special.  Do not change for anyone.
WHAT lies ahead will always be a mystery. Do not be afraid to explore.

WHEN life pushes you over, you push back harder.

WHERE there are choices to make, make the one you won't regret.

WHY things happen will never be certain.  Take it in stride and move forward.

Let's put these 5 W's to work in our lives.   Sending blessings for a great week in administry.

Administration Lay Ministry Professionals Personal Reflections