Allan H. Mogensen was an industrial engineer who streamlined the complex processes of many different types of businesses. He was so capable that he earned the nickname “Father of Simplicity.” Though he never focused on the writing field, he did give some advice that can benefit you: work smarter, not harder! When mountains of work threaten your sanity, simplify the writing task with these five practices.
Why should you plan what you will write before you write it? First, prewriting will help you organize your thoughts. You save time when you eliminate ideas that don’t flow with the rest of your outline. Did you know that you are less likely to get writer’s block when you prewrite? If you can’t think of what to write next, all you have to do is consult the outline you prepared. Prewritten work tends to be more organized than manuscripts written on the fly.
When you write, try to let the ideas flow unimpeded. It’s okay to correct typos and obvious mistakes, but try to save any serious revisions until after you have completed the first draft. By letting your mind run free, you will be able to get your ideas on paper before you forget them. If you stop to revise, your creative juices may stop flowing!
Revisions are just one potential distraction. Perhaps your house needs dusting, or you notice that you have a few new emails in your inbox. Resist the temptation to deviate from your writing routine. If you scheduled an hour or two to write, stick to it. If you pause to handle “quick” nonwriting tasks, minutes may turn into hours. Before you know it, you lose your train of thought and valuable writing time. Instead, schedule brief breaks to eat, deal with emails, or just relax. But when it’s not break time, train yourself to keep typing!
Have you ever decided to delete a great sentence or paragraph from your writing because it doesn’t fit well with the rest of the article? Instead of discarding it totally, you might examine it for inspiration. Could you use it in a related article or a follow-up piece? If no idea immediately comes to mind, but you like what you wrote, save it in a computer document. Those little bits and pieces might come in handy one day.
Would I read it? Will my audience find it helpful or interesting? Ask yourself these questions during the prewriting and revision stage. Your honest answers will help you to elevate your writing.
Can you put these five guidelines into practice? If you do, you will see an improvement in your writing. By outlining what you will write in advance and resisting distractions, you will be able to accomplish more in less time and deadlines won’t be as intimidating. When you save ideas to inspire you and reflect on how your writing reads, you can improve its quality. Allan H. Mogensen wasn’t a writer himself, but he would be proud to see you writing so smartly!