Writing longer documents – 10 ways to finish
You can do it
1.) There is no need be afraid of writing longer documents – they are a series of well-written short documents. But use a theme, eg conveyed through the headings, to provide a coherent whole.
2.) And you don’t have to be a great writer to write a book – you are not aiming to write a literary work, or the biggest seller ever. If you have passion for your subject it will show through in your writing, and that will make it an interesting read.
… just be sure to plan
3.) Have a very clear idea of your work before you start writing – the content and format, what readers will gain, your goals etc. Use key cards, mind maps or whatever system you like to organise your thoughts. ONLY start writing when you have a clear plan.
4.) Start somewhere you feel confident – it doesn’t have to be the beginning. The beginning may be easier to write when you’re your writing is flowing – maybe even when you have finished.
Make yourself comfortable
5.) We tend to put writers on a pedestal, but there is no need to. Good writing is like spoken dialogue (sentences CAN start with ‘And’ and ‘But’.) And given we all talk more clearly than we write, your spoken word is all you have to copy. Indeed, you may want to use a voice recorder or one that converts voice to text.
6.) Choose the day, time, environment etc. that you like to work and write – if you feel natural at 3m in the morning, your writing will sound natural too.
7.) Give the job the attention it deserves. To make it easier, clear your desk, go for a walk beforehand to focus your mind, sort out or put aside any nagging jobs or worries, and try and prevent any interruptions. And set yourself a goal/target word count for each session.
Ways to finish the job
8.) Each time you go back to a piece of writing, make sure you have a clear plan for the content. It doesn’t need to be long and detailed, but it is essential for keeping your narrative flowing, and a logical and orderly structure for the reader.
9.) To make your writing flow, try and write ‘stories’ rather than subjects. Yes, even non-fiction can be written as stories. Here’s one story line: To achieve something, A needs B, … but C… possible solutions are Y and Z.
10.) Plan the overall job – making a date for the draft, and a date for completion. And to keep you going, remember the goal of what you are trying to achieve. You don’t need to be too regimented in your writing, but it helps – and you certainly can’t be too lax. And it will be easier to write over a relatively short period, rather than having to pick up and remember where you got to after gaps from writing of several weeks … or months.