Faster writing – How structure and planning help
Structuring your writing, in advance, can save you so much time. Several hours’ work, several drafts, and several sleepless nights.
It’s not just me saying this.
This month I ran two training courses in writing skills for clients in London – in ‘Report Writing’ and ‘Everything You Need to Know about Copywriting’. As in all my training courses, at the end of the day I asked delegates what were the most useful things they had learnt, and/or that they would implement once back at work.
‘Realising the benefits to be had from structuring my writing beforehand’, said several delegates on each course.
It was my life as a journalist – a feature writer for national newspapers – that taught me the gains to be had from planning and structuring ideas before starting to write.
With only 800–1500 words to get my point across (in a newspaper or magazine article, for example), I absolutely HAD to plan ahead, to decide who I was going to talk to, what I was going to include – and, more importantly, who and what I WASN’T.
FAILING to structure your work beforehand can result in any of the following – lack of clarity in your writing, more time required for editing, missed deadlines … and knock-on consequences on others in terms of delays in production, annoyed colleagues, you name it.
Yes, even if you are writing something short (a letter or email), a few notes will help organise your thoughts, and decide how much space to give to each point. And for longer documents (e.g. reports and books), structuring each section in detail is a must.
Remember what our teachers said (or mine did) in the run up to exams.
“Plan your essay beforehand.” How right they were.