7 writing workflow tips to double your writing speed

September 4, 2009 by Dean Rieck
Filed under: Productivity 

While copywriting always requires a certain amount of creativity and can’t be too regimented, every writing project should have a similar workflow.

The more structured your workflow, the more efficient you can be, the less time you’ll spend on busy work, and the faster you’ll be able to finish writing.

Here are some tips:

Set up your files. You can devise any system you like, but here’s what I do. First, I grab a manila folder, label it, and dump everything I have into it. Second, I insert a job sheet where I track time, work completed, contact information, and other relevant data. Third, I set up a project file on my computer with subfolders for copy documents and background information. The computer folder matches the label on the physical folder with a job number and job title.

If you’re a freelancer, there may be other items to file, such as an estimate, contract, non-disclosure form, etc.

Create a schedule. When someone says they need copy on, say, March 12, do they mean that’s the deadline for final copy? Is that when they want to see your first draft? Is that when it goes to the printer or designer? Often, people don’t think carefully about all the steps in a writing project, so you have to.

You should create a schedule that accounts for each step. Research, writing, delivery of first draft, time for review, delivery of second draft, more review, proofreading, final copy delivery, delivery to designer, etc. Consider every person who must see the copy and allot time for each step. Assign a date and time to each.

Gather information. Good copy starts with good information. So gather everything you need before you start writing. If you’ve set up your files, get the information into its proper place, whether that’s a physical folder, a computer folder, or an electronic document. This helps you avoid the disruption of looking for things when you’re in the middle of writing.

Brainstorm ideas. Everyone has a different way of working, but it’s usually helpful if you spend a little time thinking about headlines, main benefits, slogans, the call to action, and other important ideas before you start writing. Most important, figure out what your “big idea” is. This gives you a verbal road map to follow and keeps you from getting off track.

Write until you’re done. What I mean is, if you have a good idea about what you want to write, just write it. Don’t try to make every word perfect the first time through. Get it all down. Write long. When you hit a difficult spot, move on to another part of the project and keep writing. It may not seem so at first, but your writing will usually be faster and better if you separate writing from editing.

Edit and polish. After you have a bunch of copy written, take a break and let your mind clear. It’s nice if you have a day or so, but take what you can get. Then stop being a writer and start being an editor. Delete, edit, polish, and get your copy cleaned up.

Don’t be afraid to move things around. For example, if you find a chunk of copy that would work better as the headline, make it the headline. Don’t let yourself get too attached to your own prose. Often your best ideas emerge in the middle of your writing.

Follow a checklist. Every copy project has certain requirements: points to cover in the copy, visuals to include, testimonials, guarantee, production techniques, client requests, etc. Try to decide what you need and make a list. Use the list to make sure you do everything you set out to do. If you’ve done a similar project in the past, list the various elements, ideas, tactics, problems, and anything that went into the project and use that as your checklist. It saves time and helps you avoid errors and omissions.

Related posts:

  1. Double your reading speed with this odd little trick
  2. Dazzle Your Clients and Double Your Income

>>> Subscribe to blog by RSS or E-mail

Smart Comments

Comments are closed.