Freelance writer Lawrence Ineno, who blogs at Mighty Prose, asked for some tips on writing efficiently.
Freelance writers need to write efficiently if they are to earn well.
These days I’m a pretty efficient writer – I should be, I’ve been practicing for years! More than I care to admit, actually.
Practice is certainly one of the secrets to writing productivity – the more you write the better you’ll get at it.
Here are some other ways you can get lots of writing done:
Create a writing schedule. I suspect creating and sticking to a writing schedule actually helps your brain switch into writing mode more easily. Sure, when, for example, I write at some other time and place, that can also spark creativity, but my brain and body know they will start writing about 7 am every morning.
Eliminate distractions. Turn off the radio, stop reading email, ignore youtube and the television. Shut the door on your family and friends, explaining you’re working – yes, really working. In coffee shops, wear ear phones that block the distraction of everyone talking and eating. I know I write more efficiently when I’m really paying attention and it’s easiest for me to pay real attention in silence.
Develop a niche or two. The advantage of having a niche is you don’t have to reinvent yourself and your writing with every assignment. For example, I’ve been writing about freelance writing for many years. Although I still do research about writing, I don’t have to do as much as I did in the beginning. I’m more efficient or productive writing about writing than any other subject I can think of.
Learn to type. Seriously, if you’re trying to write efficiently using just a couple of fingers, it’s worth learning how to type with all 10. There are a ton of sites that will help you learn for free. Just google learn to type.
Be willing for your draft to be really rough. Don’t get stuck editing before you’ve created a rough draft. Get those thoughts down first, then edit them ruthlessly. Your first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect.
Work for cleaner drafts. Once you get good at getting rough drafts down, you can begin to work at making those drafts cleaner. I think the best way to do that is to slow down just a bit. Be really present with your writing, letter by letter, word by word, sentence by sentence. This skill comes with practice, which is where we started.
No matter what kind of writing you’re doing, from creative through corporate, learning to be efficient is a matter of patience, practice and willingness.
How have you learned to write more efficiently?