Prolific Writing for Non-Writers

Prolific Writing for Non-WritersPhoto license

If you don’t want to be a writer but want to write more, there can be only one good reason. Either your work or your studies require some writing and it looks like it’s going to take up a lot of your time. This short article will show you how to minimize the stress while producing decent work.

I’ll assume you’re being asked to write something that’s 10 pages or less. Much longer than that and you really need to study how to write.

Writing Time

It’s tempting to try and get your 10 page assignment written all in one sitting. You could write a 10 page e-mail in a couple of hours. Why not an article? Because, an article must focus on a single topic and have a logical flow from beginning to end. We’ll get to that. First, you need to decide when to write.

Assigning yourself a big block of time to write once a week is less effective than writing for a half hour or hour every day. Much of that big time block would be wasted and it’s too stressful for a non-writer.

Choose a time of day when you will have time to work on writing without interruptions. What follows are the steps to take for each article or essay you’re required to write.

Multiple Draft Writing Hides Your Mistakes

Many non-writers believe that what writers do is sit down and write exactly what they want to say in one pass and send it off to their publisher. Very few writers can do that. Most published writing is the result of many revisions. You can use that method too.

Because you’re going to read through what you write several times before it’s done, you don’t need to worry about being a good writer. You only need to be a good editor. Right up until you print off the final version, everything can be changed, even the title and headings.

Step 1: The Outline

Choose an article title that you feel describes what you are going to write. Give the file that same name.

Now add headings to the document in bold type. These are the main topics you plan to write about. If you have no idea what your main points will be, you need to finish researching your paper. With the research done, any title that describes a section will do. “Something about light-wave interference”, for example, is an acceptable heading at this stage.

To complete the outline, write any main points you plan to make below each heading. Headings with no outline points are fine.

If there’s still some time left in your hour for today, continue to the next step. If not, it can wait until tomorrow. The outline tells you everything you’re going to write. Once your outline is done, forget about writing until the next session.

Step 2: The Rough Draft

Read through the outline version of your article and fill in what you know about each item. It doesn’t need to be good, only complete. Even writing “I need to look up the steps to this” counts. Your rough draft can be very rough. Nobody will ever see it but you. Don’t waste a lot of time on it. Just fill in the details as best you can.

If you run out of time before you finish the rough draft, it’s no big deal. You can find your place tomorrow because of all the extra text in the part that’s complete.

Step 3: The Second Draft

This is where multiple draft writing really gets it’s definition. For the second draft, you read through the first draft and fix things. You don’t need to fix every problem you see because you can re-read your article as many times as you need to.

At first, you will find there is a lot to be added. Write it quickly. Don’t let yourself get bogged down trying to get it perfect. That will only slow you down and stress you out.

This step is a lot like studying for an exam. Each time you read through your paper you will find different things to fix. You’ll find places where you need to add a bit. Sometimes you’ve said something twice and need to dump a sentence. Cutting unnecessary words and sentences always improves a paper.

When you read your article and it seems like it might be done, read it out loud and listen to yourself. Fix any problems you discover this way.

Step 4: The Final Draft

If it looks like a final draft and it sounds like a final draft, it’s a final draft. Print it and pass it on.

Maybe there were spelling errors, bad grammar or other problems that you didn’t know how to fix, so you didn’t. Does it really matter? If you got the mark you needed for your course or didn’t get fired, that’s all you really wanted. You never said you were a professional writer, so there’s no point in studying more than you need to about writing.

The small blocks of time trick is a great way to handle any kind of task you don’t enjoy doing. I use it for my bookkeeping. I go in, make the updates and get out. If it drags on for more than half an hour, I give up on it until the next day.

I love writing, but I can understand why some people would not. I hope this article helps make writing simple and painless. Maybe with practice you’ll come to like it.

Article by Ivan Izo.

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