Are you writing to a deadline?
By developing a simple plan for your writing you will focus the mind on the task in hand, especially if your deadline is tight.
You will also be able to identify the precise tasks that will be involved in writing your piece. For example, you may not actually be doing the writing yourself and someone else is involved in the process in which case, sufficient time needs to be allowed for him/her to do whatever is necessary before you see the finished article.
Also, always build in some contingency time, if you can, because something will always go wrong when you’re least expecting it, so having some additional time will help to alleviate this. If you don’t use that time, that’s great but you would have regretted it if you needed it and it wasn’t there.
So, what tasks might you expect to include in your plan?
You may need some time to gather together all the necessary information you’re going to need to write your piece. Do you know where that information is and how easily accessible it is?
- Identify who will be responsible for doing the writing
Do you have the necessary time, knowledge or expertise, or will you get someone else to do the writing? Outsourcing or delegating to other people, like a copy/content writer, because they have the time, knowledge and expertise, can often help with reducing stress levels.
- Provide a comprehensive brief to a copy/content writer
You may need to include some time to prepare a brief so that the copy/content writer knows exactly what is expected of them. They need to understand your business and the tone/style of what you want to be written.
- Establish roles and responsibilities
If more than one person is involved in the process, make sure each person is clear as to their role and what they are responsible for and when they need to produce the final copy. this is especially pertinent when the deadline is short.
- Set interim deadline time and dates
If you know your final deadline time or date, always set some interim milestones so that you then know you’ve got sufficient time to complete subsequent tasks. These tasks must include time for checking/proofreading, printing and final publication so that you hit your deadline.
- Critical Path Analysis
This is a well-known planning tool that can help you to establish which tasks can be done simultaneously and which tasks rely on other tasks being completed first.
- Where will you write?
Think about the environment you need in order to do your writing. Do you need to book a quiet space in your office so you are away from interruptions, e.g. phone, emails or social media etc.?
This isn’t an exhaustive list but to some it may appear to be quite a long-winded process. It depends, of course, on what you’re writing. The more comprehensive and complex the document the more time you should allow especially at the back end of the process for checking, printing and publishing. Don’t leave it all to the last minute because, from my experience, the first thing that often goes out the window in a tight situation is the checking process and you end up publishing something that could be full of mistakes and then having to deal with the consequences at a later date.
Next up in this series – Create your Content.
- You are a small business owner;
- Your business writing is a challenge, for whatever reason;
- You could have a simple process plan to follow when you are writing something in your business that will help to alleviate your worries.
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