Some of us work well under pressure, some of us thrive on it, and some of us absolutely hate it. I tend to thrive on it, and the reason for this is really unknown. Perhaps it is my source of motivation to get things done. Regardless, a deadline is a deadline, and it must be met. This means shifting into overdrive.
Some of you might never experience what it feels like to be a writer for a large publishing machine. It can be exciting and stressful all at the same time. However, if you do get put in a situation where you just have to get a blog post done quickly, here are some tips to get it done without wasting time:
Settle on an Idea Already
The idea for the article in question, in most cases, should already be known. However, if you are writing a news article or are asked to come up with something on the fly, this is where creativity and common sense come into play. Too often in life we are afraid to just go with what we have to work with, this is where it is time to just go for it. This will lead to the preparation stage of an article, but be sure that the idea makes sense.
Create the Outline
The most important thing you can do to save time and headaches down the road is to create an outline for your content. I can not stress the importance of this quite enough. It is important to note that this is even more true if you are under pressure to complete your article—you have such little time to change and edit content once you get started. Even five minutes of preparation will payoff in the end, but some people completely skip this part of the writing process.
Research on the Go
Research is something that, for me, takes up the most time in the grand scheme of things. I would never suggest starting an article before doing any research, but if you got to get something done fast, then you have to improvise. You should have the resources you use to perform research (like Wikipedia and Google) already accessible so that if you need to look up something, it can be done quickly. Find what you need and get back to writing, but ensure you have your facts straight. Use this time to add links and various media to your content as well.
Get It Write Now
If you have your outline prepared, you should already know what you are going to write about, and this means you can jump right in as usual. You should start with the content or introduction first, and then work from there. Depending on how knowledgeable you are on the topic in question, the amount of research required can be adjusted to compensate. However, be sure to take your time to get things right as editing a rushed post might be even more time consuming.
Editing can be a time consuming task, so you should make your best effort to reduce the amount of times you need to fix up your work. I previously touched on this subject, but there is no getting around this part of the blogging process. If you skip this part, you risk making yourself look unprofessional. It is where you patch things up and post the finished product.
If you made it this far, then hopefully your article will be complete. It might not be your best work, but it will hopefully get the point across. Time to move on to bigger and better things.
If you have any tips for getting things done during crunch time, be sure to let us all know.
Great points Markus
Barbara, I only wish I had the ability to take my time blogging. Life would be so much easier. 😀
@James: Great summary. Sounds exactly as if you are describing the way I blog.
Research on the go: Don’t hesitate to paste snippets into your article. Usually I also have a ‘Links & Bookmarks’ paragraph at the very end which sums up the resources.
A little bit off-topic: If I stumble across some subject I normally write down an immediate note/outline and post or save it as draft. Doing so always gives you some subjects in the pipeline which can be presented very fast under pressure. Compared to good old print I would name it ‘standing form’.
When it comes to blogging, it’s one of the reasons why an application like Dark Room is so useful. I’ve found it’s massively improved my ability to concentrate on what I’m writing by removing all the visual clutter that pretty much every other writing application has.
It’s often only when you remove all the distractions that you realise how much of an impact they have on your concentration.
I often find that if I focus solely on the job at task and forbid myself to consider the massively paralyzing time crunch factor, my blogging ends up much much easier. It’s surprising how much mental activities are really tied into blogging.