Five Ways to Increase Your Writing Speed
Writing reports can be a pain. Writing takes lab managers away from other work and isolates them behind a desk. Yet timely reports can be necessary, even essential in running a laboratory. So it is essential that laboratory managers write productivel
Writing reports can be a pain. Writing takes lab managers away from other work and isolates them behind a desk. Yet timely reports can be necessary, even essential in running a laboratory. So it is essential that laboratory managers write productively. There are strategies lab managers can use to increase the productivity of their writing time.
1. Schedule writing time
Writing isn't a task that you can just squeeze in when you have the time. You have to budget the time. Otherwise writing essential reports can get delayed. It's easy to procrastinate over writing long documents. So schedule time in your daily schedule for writing.
How much time should you schedule? The answer to this question varies from one individual to another. Many find that scheduling an hour and taking a break allows them to work most productively without neglecting their other job responsibilities. Scheudle the number of hours that will let you make good progress on the document and meet the report deadline.
2. Begin with a clear plan
One reason people, even professional writers, struggle to get something written is that they haven't completely decided what they're trying to say. Plan what you're going to write before writing it by preparing an outline.
Most people don't like preparing outlines. Yet writing from a previously prepared outline can greatly increase your productivity. Outlining can help you fit the pieces of your report together in an appropriate way so your finished document is more focused and reads more easily. For example, short as this blog is, I prepared what I planned to say using an outline. The outline was nothing elaborate, primarily a list of section headings that I shifted around into what I thought was the most logical order.
There are many ways to outline. Some writers create a detailed outline. Others make a simple list of points that become the major sections of their report. How detailed my own outlines are depends on the length of my report. For highly complex reports, I prefer mind-mapping because it helps me see the relationships between a large number of points. I often include mind maps in the introduction to long, complex documents so my readers can also see these relationships. We'll discuss mind-mapping more in a subsequent blog.
3. Prepare ahead of time
Assemble information and references you will need to write reports. Collect the needed data and organize it into tables that you prepare before writing the report. If you need illustrations, prepare these in advance or have them prepared by others. Then when you sit down to write, you'll stay put in front of your computer keyboard and focus on writing text rather than interrupting yourself to perform these tasks.4. Interruptions
Speaking of interruptions, don't allow others to distract or interrupt you. Establish a closed door policy – when you're writing keep your office door closed and make sure your staff members know that they are not to interrupt you when your door is closed.
Don't check email or answer the phone. Just write. Despite the many articles about multitasking, allowing interruptions can slash your writing productivity.
5. Don't let your editor in the room
Don't analyze and edit your writing as you compose your sentences and paragraphs. This means not worrying about sentence structure, word choice and unclear paragraphs. Just write steadily and try not to stop. Writing and editing are two very different activities that should be performed at different times. Allowing your internal editor in the room to "fix" poor writing can greatly reduce your writing productivity. Editing while you write can make the process of writing your report agonizingly slow. No wonder so many people hate writing! Only begin editing when you have completed the first draft of your report. Then edit, review, revise and polish your manuscript.