It happens to the best of us. You have a deadline for an article, and you know there is no way you are going to be able to produce the work. Maybe you had a busy week with your family, and couldn’t find the time. Maybe you procrastinated, or maybe you simply have too many articles to write and not enough hours in the day. Whatever the reason, the fact is you have a deadline to meet, and you need to crank out an article in a hurry. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to speedily write your next article by following a few simple tips.
1. Eliminate distractions. You can write the article in half of your usual time if you turn off the TV, close the door, send the kids off to play at a friend’s house, and give yourself the peace and quiet you need to focus. Sign out of instant messenger, turn your phone off, and create a space where you can work without distractions. If you tend to write in public places like a coffee shop, try writing at home in your own space. If home is simply not an option, try a library. Most libraries have isolated study carrels where you can work in peace.
2. Do your research. See what other people have written on the same subject. The Internet is your friend. Know your subject intimately, and you will be able to write about it with ease. Don’t be tempted to plagiarize. In addition to making you feel lousy, you could lose your job.
3. Have a snack. When you are hungry, it can be incredibly hard to concentrate. Take five minutes to make yourself a small plate of cheese and crackers. Try to eat before you begin writing. If you snack while writing, you’ll find it takes you much longer to finish your article. Be careful not to eat a very heavy meal, though, or you might find yourself asleep at your keyboard.
4. Try listening to music. Having a rhythm to work to will be incredibly helpful in terms of keeping your WPM at a steady pace. Your own personal taste will determine what music is most helpful for you. Generally speaking, something with a steady rhythm is best. Avoid music that has lyrics you know very well, as this will be distracting. Heavy Metal generally is too loud and distracting, and New Age music can be overly soothing. Try music sung in a language that you do not speak. My power mix of writing music in college was composed of a blend of Japanese and Russian pop music.
5. Make an outline. Whether its a bulleted list or a stream of consciousness sentence, have some sort of plan as to what you want to make sure you include in the article. This helps you to organize your thoughts, and will help you when you get writer’s block. You’ll find that by writing with an outline, you’ve done 90% of the work before you even start writing. Outlines take the pain out of writing. Once you have the skeleton in place, you can focus on great writing instead of on the nuts and bolts of the article.