Deadline writing

How to write faster and relieve deadline stress

Kevin Gault 

There will never be more than 24 hours in a day. Deadlines will always be tight. But there’s something you can do to relieve the pressure – write faster.

In his best-selling book, “Write Faster, Write Better,” former Writer’s Digest Editor-in-Chief David A. Fryxell says that writing faster has nothing to do with hurrying; it has everything to do with being organized.

“Organized writers have a plan, disorganized writers don’t,” Fryxell says in the book. “The plan may be painstakingly written on index cards, methodically entered into a computer program or merely held in the writer’s head. But organized writers know where they’re going and how they’ll get there.”!

To write faster and better, Fryxell says, find the main focus of your piece and manage your background material. To do these things well – especially for a long piece such as a white paper – you must have a map to guide you. That map is an outline.!

Do I Have to Do An Outline?

I know what you’re thinking: Creating outlines is time- consuming. It’s boring. What’s wrong with just winging it, typing out a rough first draft and fine-tuning it later?!

According to Fryxell, outlining is a must: “It’s so important because it begins the organizing, shaping and molding or your mass of material. Once your material is organized–first in your head and then on paper–the rest is just carpentry. The real art lies in developing the blueprint; the writing is mere craft.”!

Here are some tips from Fryxell on creating helpful outlines:!

1. Resist the temptation to skip outlining to save precious time. It’s precisely the process of outlining that will save you that precious time in the long run.!

2. Your outline should grow directly from the main focus of your piece-always keep your focus in mind.!

3. Don’t be afraid to get rid of material if it doesn’t help you make your main points.!

4. Use your outline to help you compress and distill your story, packing it with important information and examples.!

Keep It Moving

When you’re satisfied with your outline, it’s time to start writing. One thing that will slow you down, Fryxell warns, is being a perfectionist about every word you type. Find an approach that’s midway between agonizing over every syllable and throwing caution to the wind.!

“While you want to write as clean a first draft as you can, it’s important not to swing over to the opposite extreme and worry your words to death,” he says. “Take each chunk of the story as it comes. Write it straight through, then move on.”!

To keep your writing process moving, Fryxell recommends that after you complete your first draft, don’t slow your pace by “over-revising.”

“If you’re properly prepared,” he advises, “your first draft can be pretty close to your last draft. You should always go through it at least once more, for a light polish, but over- revising can put overworked prose in place of the freshness of your first draft.”!

To speed up your writing process, follow Fryxell’s advice. Take plenty of time before you write to create an outline. Try to write a great first draft, but don’t linger over it too long. And when your draft is finished, polish it just enough to make it a solid piece of writing, then send it along. !

Keep it moving – your deadline is coming up fast!!

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