It’s a mantra freelancers know all too well. Although they say it tongue-in-cheek (kind of), it highlights a tension that’s inescapable for anyone who cranks out copy in a work context. It’s the tension between writing better and writing faster.
Always the optimist, I’d like to believe that given enough time, everyone is capable of crafting polished and powerful copy. Unlimited time is a fantasy, a pipe dream in a world where the quantity of work we produce is just as important as the quality of that work.
For most of us, it’s simply not enough to write well. For the sake of our companies, our clients, and even our own sense of professionalism, we need to become more adept at navigating the tension between quantity and quality in copy creation. Here’s how:
1. Know the assignment. The first step toward better, faster copywriting is to know the assignment. Before the first word ever appears on your smeared and smudgy laptop screen, you need to answer big questions about format (“What am I writing?”), audience (“For whom am I writing?”), and objective (“What am I trying to accomplish?”). To meet expectations (internal and external), you’ll also need to identify deadline and word count before you begin the writing process.