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Write. Edit. Repeat.

There are plenty of people who don’t enjoy writing. That’s okay. Actually, it’s good for people like me. Here are tips to get you through your next writing assignment if you can’t hire a word nerd like me.

  1. Think about what you have to write. Who is your audience? Is there a purpose or call to action? How long should your piece be? What are the main points to cover?
  2. Outline. Jot a quick outline of your main points. The outline will help you establish structure and get the information in logical sequence. In the outline stage, you may find there’s not room for everything. That’s good. Base all of your content and editing choices on what’s important to the reader.
  3. Write. In theory, once the outline gets going, writing’s already happening. Don’t be afraid to work out of order. You can always write “Thrilling intro here” and head straight to the meat. Editing is for smoothing out the rough edges and creating transitions from one idea to another. Adjusting beginnings and ends is clean up work.
  4. Edit. Invest time here. If you can say it in three words rather than 13, go for three. Don’t use five-dollar words when dollar words will do. There’s an ongoing joke that no one reads anymore. Sadly, it’s true. But if writing is easy to follow and interesting, people will read through it without realizing they are reading.
  5. Repeat. Always go through your work one more time with fresh eyes or give it to someone else for a read-through. Look for typos, missing words and edit what doesn’t make sense. And remember the typo is always in the headline so pay extra attention there.

Nothing’s more scary to a non-writer than a blank piece of paper. It’s a lot of pressure and stress for being nothing more than emptiness. That’s why I suggest getting some words or thoughts on it quickly. The words may not make it into the final draft, but they’ll get your brain working. And that’s the first step in any writing project!

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