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Want to write fast? Slow down!

By on Sep 26, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Post by Scott VanVoorhis


I don’t care whether it’s a business memo, a marketing pitch or an article.

In order to write fast, and, even more importantly, to write effectively, you first need to take a step back and consider the landscape.

As a veteran newspaper reporter, I became known around the office as a fast writer. The compliment puzzled even as it pleased me – I am a barely passable keyboard monkey.

But my colleagues were paying attention to the number of stories I was producing, not how I clattered away on the keyboard.

My clumsy typing aside, I had to be an efficient writer to survive, with a highly competitive beat – real estate development, casino gambling, and sports business – that demanded two, three and sometimes four stories a day.

But I learned fast that when it comes to writing, planning and clear thinking always trump frenetic, frantic action.

As a freelance business writer, I follow the same simple rules today.

Here’s a cheat sheet.

• Clear your mind and jot down the subject and purpose of that memo or other masterwork you are considering.
• Draw up a simple plan for conveying that message, such as the four or five key points you want to cover. Do a short outline, nothing fancy, just No. 1, rising sales, No. 2, need for additional staff, and so forth.
• With that plan in place, now and only now is it time to start crafting your opening lines.
• Once the intro is in place, step back and reassess. If the intro sets the table for the larger discussion, move ahead into the meat of your argument. But if it feels muddled to you, then imagine how it is going to come across to your boss? Don’t panic, go back and rework – the time you spend now will more than pay for itself later.

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