Writing is tough. And writing for extended periods can be incredibly stressful, which is why these writing tactics are needed. Most people cannot just dive into multi-hour writing sessions with ease. Any new or experienced writer can get distracted by the chaos of a regular day or unexpected emergency.
Many of us are lucky to find even one uninterrupted hour each day where we are still competent enough to write after the obligations of work, family, and society have taken their toll. By that time, most people just want to unwind or go to bed and prepare for the toils of the following day, not turn their brains inside out looking for verbal gold.
That’s why you should try to improve your writing process as much as possible with this writing techniques list.
3 Best Writing Tactics
There are many ways to jumpstart or shortcut the laborious process of manually drafting your content. The efficient communicator uses the right tools for the job to wring as much output as possible from every calorie of input.
1. Reusing Prewritten Material
Once your outline is done, take stock of all the writing you have done on the subject of your book. Use this writing to cross-reference with what your outline requires. You have a tentative list of chapters and key points to work with. Use these as a rubric by which to organize what you have written.
Keep everything even if the pieces seem irrelevant or out of context at first. You may decide to use them down the road. Determine which chapters or subsections you could fit at least some passages from your old work into. Nothing is stopping you from slicing up your writing and reorganizing the various paragraphs into the new structure of your book outline.
If you’re a blogger, you’ve probably already categorized your posts according to distinct tags and topics. Now it’s time to sort through the old and decide where you can plug it into the new. Pick out the appropriate paragraphs and paste them (or manually type them) into your book outline under the right heading.
Don’t worry about expanding on your old content right away. Getting it all organized will make it far easier to finalize for publication. So long as the seed of the idea is captured, your writing load will become much lighter because of these writing tactics.
You may see that you already have tens of thousands of words, making up half or more of the total desired length of your book (or even several books’ worth of material). You’ll now need to perform extensive organization, shortening, and expansion of your content, according to the needs of the book.
Editing your existing work should be easier than crafting new content. You will already be familiar with the train of thought.
2. Selective Ghostwriting
With a thorough outline, you can use one or more competent ghostwriters to produce the first pass of your book’s content. This will give you the opportunity to edit and arrange what your ghostwriters create.
You need to make sure the book holds true to your original message and your authentic voice. As long as you are the one making creative decisions and guiding the pen of your ghostwriters, your book will remain in line with your vision.
You’ll need to give your ghostwriters detailed, accurate instructions about what you want them to do. You can’t just tell them to write a few chapters about your book’s subject. Provide them with samples of your writing so they can understand the tone you want. Include details about the target audience and the purpose of the book. You should also tell them the approximate word count you want for each section they work on.
Some sections of your book will be easier to farm out to hired help than others. Single out the portions that rely on information that can be researched by anyone with internet access and common knowledge.
The parts of your manuscript that depend on your personal experience, opinion, or specialized expertise will be more difficult to delegate. These should be the parts you focus on writing yourself.
You will finish the book faster by having more than one writer working on different chapters concurrently. This is one of the writing tactics favored by authors with managerial experience. Managers will need to bring their team’s respective works together, editing and rearranging them as necessary to unite their message in the finished draft of the book.
3. Spoken-Word Transcription
Another way to lower your writing burden is to talk instead of type. Most people are better speakers than they are writers. An average writer types about 40 words per minute. An average person speaks more than three times as fast at a rate of 130 words per minute (almost 10,000 words per hour if uninterrupted). If you struggle to get words on paper through writing, dictating at least part of your book out loud may be one of the types of writing strategies to use.
The transcribed text will require a fair amount of editing to be useful in your draft. The way we speak is different than the way we write. What works for one does not always work for the other. Ordinary people talk in sentence fragments. They don’t conjugate verbs consistently. They insert unnecessary filler words when they can’t think of exactly what to say.
The simplest way to proceed with dictation is to look over every point made in your outline and record yourself talking as much as you can about each of those things.
You can cover many thousands of words with only the minor effort of reiterating conversations you’ve likely already had many times in your life. You may choose to partner with someone interested in (but not necessarily familiar with) your subject to interview you during the dictation process.
Do whatever it takes to get your words out. Drafting is just the first step. These words will then need to be revised and arranged, again and again, until they begin to give you the best possible version of your message.
Want even more writing tactics tips? Check out these articles:
- Participial Phrases Explained with Examples of Great Writing
- Show Don’t Tell Explained: Examples of Turning Bad Writing into Great Writing
- 11 Writing Tips for Improving Readability and Communicating Better
Gregory Diehl is the author of the new book, The Influential Author: How and Why to Write, Publish, and Sell Nonfiction Books that Matter. The book takes a unique and in-depth look at all aspects of book planning, writing, editing, and promoting for self-publishers. Check out The Influential Author on Amazon at: www.amzn.to/2RGTYDE. Learn more about Gregory’s work at: www.identitypublications.com.