I don't know about you, fellow writers, but I have a hard time with writing conclusions. By the time I get to wrapping up an article, my brain is fresh out of snappy prose. I recently scoured through old documents and lessons from the freshman writing class that I taught, and came up with this list of 17 kinds of conclusions. Bookmark this list, and keep it handy for next time your brain runs out of fresh copy!
1. Reiterate the Main Point
This is the most straightforward way to wrap things up. Simply reiterate your main point with slightly different verbiage. It may not be very creative, but it works.
2. Answer the "And...?" or "So What?" Question
Have you ever read anything, got to the end, and thought "And? So?" Answer that question! What is the "So What?" of your article?
3. Send the Reader in a New Direction
If your article, essay or blog post is pretty complete, and doesn't need a "so what?" or a reiteration, consider sending the reader in a new direction. This works well for blog posts. For example, I would end a blog post of this article by saying something along the lines of "Of course, your article is useless without a strong introduction. What are some of your best practices when it comes to introductions?"
4. Issue a Challenge
Spur your reader on by challenging them in some way. Invite them to prove or disprove your point, or to think about the information you presented in a new and innovative way.
5. Mention or Point to the Future
This one tends too be easy. For example, if you were writing an article about increasing your < href="http://freelancewrite.about.com/od/finances/a/Freelance-Writing-Rates-List.htm">freelance writing rates, you could ask the reader to consider the benefits of doing so: more savings, less work hours, etc.
6. Summarize Succinctly
Summarizing is different than reiterating. Instead of focusing on the main point, a summary would focus on two or three points that support of the main point.
7. Make a New Connection
Ask the reader to consider new information or a new connection brought on by your article.
8. Wrap Up a Scenario
If you opened with a scenario, revisit it. This works really well for many types of articles, and tends to personalize and add interest to heavy information.
9. End With a Quote
Many writers are partial to pithy quotes. If you can find one that supports your article or essay, feel free to use it- as long as you attribute it properly.
10. Present a Solution
If your article focuses on a problem, use your conclusion to point the reader to a good solution. This works well for political, sociological or similar rants (er, I mean op-eds).