By Allena Tapia
Freelance Writing Expert
Sure, in general, we prefer good writing to fast writing, but sometimes it’s in your best interest to write quickly, whether you’re working for a "content mill," trying to capture an idea, or simply belting out a really rough draft for some first round edits. So how do you get that text down in “fast-and-furious” style? Here are some tips and tricks.
Although I've seen a lot of advice to skip the intro and conclusion in favor of focusing on the body, I’ll often slap down an intro so that I know (for myself) the point of the piece. This helps me to focus my writing and shape the body of an article.
Outlining works especially well for web-friendly pieces like “5 Ways to…” or “The 3 Things You Should Know About…” because you can nail down those numbered pieces of advice quickly. Now, when I talk about outlines, I’m not talking about study-friendly roman numerals with several levels that go on and on—that’s not fast. I’m talking about your three or five top ideas, on their own lines, with some hasty notes scribbled underneath.
From that, you can usually go back to the top (or, to the intro) and flesh out the rest of the composition.
As a work-at-home mommy, I have too much potential down time, when I’m not really producing anything, and therefore not filling up my bank account. That annoys me, especially because I have only six hours per day to produce eight hours of work and income. Use the time life gives you when your mind is wandering to pre-think your pieces. There’s something so much easier about fleshing out your piece when you’re already daydreaming in the school pick-up line, than trying to do it at your desk with a full email box and a to-do pile of paperwork at your elbow. Do yourself the favor of learning to use a couple note-taking apps on your smart phone, so that you’re always in a place to capture those thoughts.
Scribble Now, Organize Later
Don’t be a perfectionist! Once you are at your laptop with the blinking cursor and blank page, just let your thoughts go. Get them down! Once your document seems to be taking shape, you can then return and organize your text/thoughts a little better.
Engage in Your Practice
Spend the time when you’re not producing content or researching articles keeping up on your writing practice by reading or keeping a journal. Constantly lubricating the brain “muscles” that support your composition means they’ll respond that much better when you call on them for your career.
Remember, although quality counts, the successful freelance writer will need to be a proactive time manager, too. Getting your thoughts down in a somewhat orderly fashion sets you up for successful editing in the future, and protects your most precious commodity: your work hours.