What is good writing? It’s writing that effectively and clearly communicates a specific message. The best writers out there have mastered how to say something important and say it in a way that makes people not only listen, but understand.
As a freelancer, you want to write well, but you also have A LOT of work to do. You’re likely getting paid by the word, not the hour (not always the case, but it’s a common scenario). So naturally, you want to be able to write a lot, and make it good, in as little time as possible.
It takes practice, but it can be done. Here’s how to write well … fast.
Do your research first
When writing articles, it isn’t always the writing itself that takes the longest. A lot of the time it’s the research you have to do as you’re writing the article. That’s the big difference between random blogs and legitimate content sites: research. If you make a point, you always need to back it up. Credibility is everything when you’re freelancing.
Once you know what you’re writing about, start with your research. Look into what information is already out there and think about how you can expand upon it and use it as good support. Good writing involves a lot of support, so you don’t want to skip this step. When you put it first, and have all the links you need, you can actually focus on what you sat down to do: write a high-quality article as quickly as possible.
Outline your main points (seriously)
Often what keeps us from getting more good writing done in a short amount of time is allowing ourselves to “break the flow” of writing. You might write a few really great paragraphs about one subtopic, only to have to stop and think about which subtopic you want to cover next. It’s much more effective to outline – yes, outline – your main points before you actually start writing.
Many of you do not like outlining when you’re writing, and considering the way they
force teach you to do it in school makes this a completely valid stance. We’re not talking about that kind of outline, though. Once you do your research, simply list out your subheadings, otherwise known as the most important points you are going to cover in your article. This keeps you focused and makes it so you don’t have to break your flow once you actually start writing.
Follow a problem, solution, challenge format
Why do people read articles (rather, why do they scan subheadings)? Because, in general, they have a problem. They want to know if there is a solution, and how they can make that solution work for them personally. Following this article structure is not only effective in terms of readership; it also makes the writing process itself go a whole lot quicker.
Start each section by introducing the problem. Then give any credible backup info that explains the validity of that problem, its affects, etcetera. Then go into specific actions the reader can take in order to solve their problem, and/or challenge them to take action. You can pretty much never fail with this method. It’s fast and it actually works.
Next Thursday we’ll cover how to write well, fast, when writing fiction. Until then, check out other articles in this series and subscribe to our weekly enewsletter for more writing inspiration and resources.
Image courtesy of zahrauae.com.