One comment I’ve had about my blog since starting it just a couple of months ago is how the subscriber enjoys that it’s for writers who “have” to write as well as for those who do it for the sheer enjoyment of it. If you’ve noticed my tag line, it reads, “Encouraging and equipping those who love to write. Rescuing those who don’t.” Consider this post a rescue post.
More and more, as companies cut back on their work force and try to do more with less, people who never had to write on their jobs are now finding that they have to. And for those who have been promoted into management positions, they suddenly find themselves staring down deadlines for reports, company memos, and executive-level communications on a regular basis.
One of the biggest problems is the lack of time. How do you now make time for the on-the-job writing that’s required of you and still squeeze all your “normal” work functions in? Here are a few tips that may help:
• Just as I always encourage the at-home novelists, block off your writing time. This is obviously harder at work, when you have meetings to get to and fires to put out, but as best as you can, schedule in an hour a day (more if you need to) where you do nothing but write. It’s a lot easier to write effectively and efficiently for a continuous period of time than to keep having to start back up after you’ve been interrupted with other tasks.
• Capitalize on downtime. This could take the form of commute time, lunch time, or while you’re waiting on others to arrive for a meeting. Begin looking for opportunities to write, or at least, jot down ideas related to what you need to write. Always be prepared to write, as you never know when the perfect opening statement for your sales letter may hit you.
• Work with your supervisors to carve out the time needed for your writing projects. Be realistic as you discuss with them how long it takes to properly prepare a sales report or write a compelling letter to a potential client. Review the process and time line with them and see what kind of daily time you can negotiate into your schedule strictly for writing.
• Train others to help you. With some correspondence, you can almost use a template and simply change the names and dates involved. For such documents, construct an appropriate original and then train someone else to tweak the writing to fit the situation at hand. You will have to review it, of course, before it goes out, but at least it will save you some valuable writing time.
• Take writing classes. This may not seem like a good solution for saving time, but in the long run it will. The more you learn about how to write properly, the easier writing will come to you, and therefore, the less time it will take you to write effectively. Writing classes are available at community colleges, through workforce seminars, and online. Choose those that are specific to your needs so you can zero in on trouble spots. You might even be able to talk your company into picking up the tab! I’m hoping to have some online writing courses available through this blog during 2010, so keep your eyes open for that!
Don’t forget to stop back next Monday, January 25, for Part 2 of Monica Cane’s guest blog post.