Make Your Writing More Productive

One of the most important skills in consulting, or in any profession for that matter, is penmanship.

A well written proposal wins you business. Convincing website and ad copy brings you leads and sales. A stand out press release gets you publicity.

The written word is immensely powerful. Now, you probably know all of that already. But I noticed something the other day, thinking back on how I used to write vs. how I do these days that I wanted to share with you.

This is part productivity tip and part writing strategy …

The Wrong Way to Write
I used to start writing … and then without fail at some point not too much later, maybe 5 minutes or 15 minutes from the time I started, I’d start to question what I was writing.

This sucked, because not only did I get distracted … I got nowhere with my writing.

More often than not, I’d put it aside and wait to ask somebody or send it off to them and wait back to hear their opinion on what I put together.

Almost every time I heard back from that person they’d grill my writing. Not only would they chop up everything I’d written, my style and personality disappeared from the words I wrote.

A Different Approach
Then I decided to try a new approach. I’d write a first draft. No matter how long it took, whether it was one chapter of a book, an article, advertisement, whatever…and I’d work on it until I got the that first draft done.

I wouldn’t stop. I wouldn’t question what I was writing or get overly concerned about my grammar or spelling. And I certainly wouldn’t show it to anyone until I was done. Guess what? Amazing things started to happen.

When I got that first draft done and did show it to people they came back with far more positive comments. There were fewer mistakes … and the writing had my personality weaved into every section of it.

Next time you start writing something … do whatever it takes to get everything in your head down on paper. Get away from any distractions, write down as much as you can … and only after you’re done your first draft, read through it a few times. Once you’ve done that … then you can put it in front of someone else’s eyes.

This approach will help you to write faster, increase your productivity and ultimately enjoy greater results.

Do you have any writing related tips and productivity hacks you can share? Let us know in the comments below…

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  • Mark Edwards

    Michael I have definitely come across this on more than one occaision. This post is a great reminder!

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  • Hi Michael

    I have had this too from the perspective of getting stuck and wondering the writing flows enough. However, I agree that you just need to get everything down and I have found that I have done my best work and been paid for what I have written by doing it one concentrated sitting. Breaking it up or not having enough time to complete what you want to say can slow you down. My suggestion is to set aside the right amount of time and do it in one sitting if you can.

  • Writing everything down before having a plan has its pitfalls.Often a lot of the content bears little relevance to the subject matter or final version.

    I try to map out a structure for the approach, headlines or bullet points that I want to hit.This in itself then begins to focus my brain on where I want to go.

    The detail will flow afterwards once you have set up these anchor points.

    This does not preclude changing the original structure as you tackle the writing but it gives you more meat to kick off the whole process.

    Finally ,by mapping out the document it ensures it is both relevant and focused on the subject matter. I have read many documents with superior prose,style etc but completely irrelevant or incomprehensible as to the subject matter.

  • Desmond – that's a good point that I failed to mention. I should have stated clearer that I was referring to writing with a plan in mind, not just a freestyle approach.