As a business owner you have lots of stuff to do on a daily basis and finding time to write seems impossible. But if you want to write an article that’s worth publishing, believe me – you can! It all comes down to organising yourself and your thoughts. Once you have a routine you’ll find that ideas just flow and once you start writing you’ll find it difficult to stop!
There’s always one day of the week that you’re less productive than any other. Now this might sound like contrary advice but pick this day as your ideas day. Whilst you sit there gazing out of the window, watching the world go by have a pen/pencil in your hand and let your mind wander. Pretty soon you’ll find it drifting towards blog posts, or it must be a ‘I wonder why xyz happens’. Jot it down, don’t do anything with it just yet, these are ideas that can be shaped (or thrown away) at a later day. Use the Ideas Worksheet to help you keep a track.
Keep an ideas notebook with you at all times (even at night)
Crucially important. Or if you’re not a notebook hoarder (I am, completely obsessed) use the recording function on your phone. It doesn’t matter how random they are, just keep a note. Richard Branson swears that some of his best ideas have happened this way.
Start the day with 100 words
Now I don’t know how your day starts, mine is pretty sedate. I get dressed and head to my gorgeous Shed. As soon as I sit down I open my draft blog posts and write 100 words. It doesn’t matter if I don’t use them that day, or if I change them later – I’ve written them and ticked off a goal. My day is off to a flying start. Goal accomplished and I’ve only been at my desk for 5 minutes. Of course it helps if the 100 words make sense or match up with something in my ideas notebook – don’t just write 100 random words, that’s a waste of time!
End the day with 100 words
Pretty much same as above, but I’ve found that if you write 100 words at the end of the day not only have you tricked yourself and written 200 words in one day but you’re also setting yourself up for the following morning – see above!
Plan ahead (know publication deadlines)
If you’re looking to get published in print, in a magazine such as Cosmopolitan or Stylist then you need to know they work as much as 6 months ahead. Local magazines tend to have shorter lead times, such a 6 – 8 weeks and newspapers are much shorter. If you’re not sure take a look at their website and look for Forward Features or the Media Pack as these tend to have the print deadlines included.
Put it in a draw for a week
Well done, you’ve written it. Now put it away. Yes, there, in the drawer. And no peeking for about a week! Why? Because you need to re-read it with a fresh pair of eyes, and distancing yourself from it for a while will allow you to do that.
Revise, review, reflect
THE most important part. Re-read it with a critical eye, read it outloud – how does it sound, does it make sense? Check the spelling and grammar. You want the editor to see you as a contributor whose work needs very little editing. Have you included facts and stats in your article? Double check the source for accuracy and include a citation if necessary. Do you intend to submit images? Have you given the photographer a name check? Have you included your contact details should the editorial team need to get hold of you at the last minute?
Don’t forget to download the Ideas Worksheet and start capturing those inspired ideas!
Good luck with your writing, don’t forget to let me know how you get on over on our Facebook Page.