Kaizen is a Japanese term that refers to increasing efficiency in every way possible. Even a step that saves only a few seconds an hour counts. You can kaizen your writing by carefully examining every step of your writing process. Here are some possibilities.
19 Ways To Kaizen Your Writing Efforts
1. Do you use the same template for several types of articles and edit the header when you create a new article? Consider unique templates for your most common article types.
2. Do you stop work on novels and books at the end of chapters? Continuing to write the start of the next chapter will have you already in progress when you return to it.
3. Do you write on paper or typewriter and transcribe it into your computer later? Find a way to get it in electronic format right from the start, even if it needs to be a text file or e-mail.
4. Do you start your day with a task other than writing? The early part of the day is when you’re most creative and productive. Write first. Do everything else later.
5. Do you create separate files for each draft of your writing – from scratch? Instead, give your files revision numbers and save as the next revision number. You can track your revision progress with a <bookmark> tag.
6. Have you learned to write first drafts quickly, with no internal editor? If not, it’s time. Create a junk file and practice a few minutes of terrible writing every day. Use it as a warm up, then get writing a horrible first draft. It won’t be as bad as you think.
7. Speaking of warm ups, do you have a warm up writing exercise to boot your writing day into high gear? There are several. Bad first draft writing. A journal or junk file. Typing exercises. Pulp fiction short stories. Anything you know you can write fast every time will work.
8. Are you spending a lot of time deciding on the correct headers for articles on the first draft? Save that step for later. Articles sometimes change. Create a rough header and re-write it as the article becomes clear.
9. Do you stop what you’re writing to open another file and enter an idea that suddenly popped up? Stop that. When an idea pops up in the middle of other writing, hit enter twice,
write the idea, hit enter twice more,
and continue what you were writing. If you want to be sure you can find the idea after you’re done with the current project, color or bold it.
10. When creating the outline for a new writing project, do you start by carefully working out the best logical order? Instead, begin by writing a rough overview of everything you know about the topic first. Break that into paragraphs, give them headings and sort that. You’ll be doing the article version of the synopsis and outline used for writing books.
11. Does every draft need to be perfect before you move on to the next one? That is a huge waste of time. Only the last draft needs to be perfect. All other drafts should follow the rule, “fix it and move on”. If you get stuck on a paragraph, write your complaint and move to the next.
12. Do you follow all of your revision plans slavishly? Learn to ignore what doesn’t matter. If an article is already long, skip the “add” revision. If an article is too short, maybe you should drop it entirely.
13. Know when you’re beat. If you feel like you’re blocked on a piece of writing, move on. There’s no such thing as writer’s block if you have enough writing projects.
14. Know when a project has failed. When a piece of writing just isn’t long enough and there’s no sensible path to make it longer, the project is dead. The best you can hope for is using it in a project one level higher. Short non-fiction may work as a section in a book. Short fiction can become a short story, a novella, or a side story in a novel.
15. Put auto-correct to work. Learn how to quickly set the auto-correct option for words you misspell often. Don’t set it when the incorrect word is an actual word.
16. Make it a regular habit to back up your work to USB or hard copy.
17. When researching, read quickly, make notes as you study, never copy any idea verbatim, get the references, and keep moving.
18. Learn to keep the momentum going in everything you write, both fiction and non-fiction.
19. When writing articles, write the introduction and conclusion last. You will know exactly what’s in the article instead of guessing its final content.
Those are just a few ways you can speed up your writing. If even only one of those are new to you, you can begin to kaizen your writing immediately.
Article by Ivan Izo.
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