Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Margin

You have a deadline coming up. Are you the type of writer who procrastinates all week and starts the piece the night before?

And if you start two days before your deadline, do you feel like you're way ahead of the game?

Do yourself a favor and give yourself more margin. Start your draft now. And I mean now--stop reading this post. Instead, jot down a few phrases and ideas for your draft, or outline a few steps of your argument. Spend half an hour on it now, and then spend another half an hour on it tomorrow.

Just half an hour. Who can't sit down and pick away at a writing task for 30 minutes?

Here's what you'll find: You'll make a tremendous dent in this project in just those two sessions. Better still, once this project starts marinating in your mind over those two days, you could be just a couple half hour sessions from finishing it entirely.

One more point. Starting a writing project several days (or weeks) ahead of schedule gives you time to let your writing rest. You'll be able to return to it with fresh eyes and a clear head, which helps you root out mistakes, oversights and weak phrasing that you'd otherwise miss under stiff deadline pressure.

These first few preliminary writing sessions give you margin. They protect you--and your readers--from bad writing. Which means you'll earn more readers.

And you'll never miss a deadline again.

This post was inspired by Margin by Richard A. Swenson, MD