10 tactics for more efficient writing

Choose an angle, identify what to leave out, work in short bursts, and embrace your clunky (perhaps even unusable) first draft.

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“How can I write more quickly and efficiently?”

It’s by far the question people ask me most often.

Here are 10 tips for getting better at getting your ideas out of your head and onto the page:

1. Don’t try to say everything. (Your reader will thank you.)

Don’t feel you have to write everything you know about a topic.

Before you start writing, think about what you’re going to leave out. It won’t just make your life easier; it’ll also create a much more satisfying and enjoyable read for everyone else.

A student recently told me how helpful she found my suggestion to jot down all the things her reader didn’t need to know before starting. It gave her much needed clarity about what they did need to know.

2. Take a tip from time-pressed journalists by finding your angle.

Professional journalists are used to banging out writing on deadline. One way they save time is by approaching their topic from a single point of view—what they call “finding an angle.”

Drill down into the most interesting, compelling or surprising bits of your subject, and make that your angle.

3. Have a research strategy.

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