Why Writing Takes So Long and What You Can Do about It (Guest Post)

Why Does Writing Take So Long?

Writing takes so long because most of us don’t really know what we want to say. We write and rewrite and write some more to figure out what we’re thinking.  Then we hone it, and we wonder if it is any good at all.

If you sit down at your computer and start writing, try crossing out the first three paragraphs. I call those three paragraphs, “Giving yourself permission to write.” Read your fourth paragraph. Betcha a dollar that what you really want to write about is somewhere in that paragraph.

Old typewriter

What You Can Do about It

Here’s one way to shorten the process. (Spoiler alert, I’m going to use the word “outline.” Don’t go running and shrieking from the room).

  1. Before you start to write, decide what your main point is. Make it catchy enough and this could be your title.
  2. Outline your thoughts. Pick three good reasons. Or describe a three-step process. Or tell me what happened before your big discovery, when you made your big discovery, and since you’ve made your big discovery. That’s called story.
  3. List each reason on its own line. Underneath, list the details you want to include under each statement. That’s called an outline.
  4. Review your outline. Have you included all of the details you wanted to? Have you stayed on topic? It’s possible you have included details that don’t relate closely enough to your main point. Set them aside for a future blog post. It’s much easier to edit at the outline stage of your writing.
  5. Finally, now that you have done your planning, write the daylights out of your content. Write as fast as you can. Get your ideas on paper so you can see them and edit them.

Now you have a legitimate first draft. But it’s not your final draft. Craft your words. Use details to create pictures in the minds of your readers. Use your words to challenge their senses. Set it aside for an hour. Then read it again. Do some more crafting. If you’re very brave, let someone else read it. Ask them what they think.

Hands down, the hardest part about writing is making decisions. Use the planning process to force yourself to make those decisions before you start to write. A little bit of planning can save tremendous time.

Guest Post by Anne Marie Winz

Anne Marie Winz has been on staff with Cru for a lot of years. She married a great guy, Mark Winz, a writer-editor-planner,  and together they raised two pretty incredible children. Anne Marie and Mark live in Orlando, but they will happily travel if there is a chance to train aspiring bloggers and writers. Her day job includes managing an e-newsletter and two online communities for the Women’s Resources team at Lake Hart (Cru headquarters).

Source: This photograph of the typewriter is by Daniel McCullough and is available on Unsplash.

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