When I started as a freelance writer, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. A company asked me to write about a condition for a laboring mother, and I did it. I had a pretty good structure, but not a writing process.
It took me forever to write, and I thought that was okay.
When you have the right writing process, a workflow, or a system, the work just works for you. To be efficient is to complete the process. So, it’s time to make a process in your writing business…to write faster, and gain more income.
The biggest roadblock for many writers is multitasking. And trust me, as a mother of two, business owner, a nurse in OB, research nurse, and educator nurse, as well as a wife, friend, sister, aunt etc, I am a multitasker.
Every time you try to do something while you’re working on something else, you now have made your brain change. You have to now focus on something different, which is mentally draining.
Did you know that multitaskers experience a 40% drop in productivity, take 50% longer to accomplish a task, and commit up to 50% more errors (thanks Neil for that statistic
I relate tackling multi-tasking with monotasking to Dave Ramsey’s snowball debt solution tool he uses. Many listeners of his podcast and his followers try to tackle their debt by paying minimum payments and hoping that the debt will go away.
I used to do that when I had debt.
I learned to focus, just like with the writing process, on one thing (debt) at a time, throwing as much as you can at it. When you are done, move to something different.
I also use this method when planning my day, utilizing my Full Focus Planner. The strategy in that is to only plan for 3 things to do that day. After those three are completely accomplished, you can move to the next.
You have to stop doing it, but how?
It’s time to develop a process in writing
I hope you adopt this technique in your work process. I use a process called batching as well with these steps. I separate my weeks in a month and add the steps into each week. I make sure my slower weeks include the steps that have extra time in them.
Step #1 Prioritize my A
The first thing in my writing process is to prioritize my assignments. When I sit down to write blog posts or even assigned work for a client, I prioritize. For example, this blog post was number 2 of the two I was drafting today. I don’t EVER do an entire blog or writing process in one day. I always catch mistakes later (you’ll see).
Step #2 Research
When I gather my data for this post, I found that multitasking statistic above. Some writing you have to find a lot more, but for a simple post like this, that was it.
The more you research, the better for any topic, but I also find that 3 priority top research sources help me the best when I am going to write.
Step #3 Outline
Another important part of the writing process is to outline an article. I make bullet points and use my Blog Structure template so I always cover the needed areas for the reader to read best. When I write a client article, I utilize their style guide when I create an outline.
Step #4 Draft Your Article
I have learned over time to try to make a first draft, your only draft. Sure, you can edit it anytime, but writing down all the thoughts onto paper is a big step and takes the most amount of time. So, I set all my writing process in one day, utilizing the Pomodoro Technique (see below).
Step #5 Edit Your Article
You can’t have an efficient writing process when you skip this step. Four words I live by when I write…write first, edit later. Later is always a couple of days for me. I have to let it simmer and sometimes I go back to the article and think, “what was I talking about?” When you edit, you eliminate wordiness, grammatical errors, and readability. I often read my articles aloud to hear how it sounds. Oftentimes, I catch many errors that way.
Step #6 Final Draft
Of course, before you complete the entire writing process, make sure you have the final draft. If it is a blog post I am writing, this is when I add in the keywords, pictures, upload it to WordPress, create formatting, and social media sharing for the article. This step takes time as well to be the best it can be.
Other tools I use
This is a technique I heard of years ago and adopted as my own. You also hear it used as my Hour of Power because I can focus for a longer period of time. Though, for an explanation of the Pomodoro technique, here is what you do.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes
- Take 5 min break after every 25-minute sprint
- Take a longer break when you complete 4 25 minutes
Other tips for a Seamless Writing Process
- Eliminate your distractions, log out of social media, airplane mode for phone calls,
- Google voice – a great tool when you want to write without words
- Grammarly – a great editing tool almost every writer I know uses.
This article was meant to teach you how to take one of your areas of work and create a process from it. You can put these tips for creating the right writing process into your own life into a morning routine, evening routine, or other areas of work, be creative.
Like what you’re reading? Take a listen to our podcast called The Savvy Scribe Podcast!
Interested in taking your health writing business further? Join us in the Savvy Scribe Growth Lab!