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Writing Composing Efficiently

Composing Under Normal Circumstances


1. Gathering Information

The first step in any writing project is to gather as much information on your topic from as many sources as possible. There is never too much information because you can always get rid of what you don’t use. If you are having trouble finding information try to find a better topic to write on. This information can come from the library, newspaper, the Internet and any other source you can find.


2    Organize The Information

Once you have all the information you think you will need it is time to start sorting the information by several categories in order to make the information more manageable.

a.       Group similar ideas together

b.       Draw up a generalization about each grouping

c.       Make up in your mind or on paper a chart of all the information you have and decide if you will need more information.


3. Focus Your Thoughts

What you want to do next is read through your information and then step back for a few moments from all the data you have and try to imagine what information your audience would benefit most from hearing and also what information you think they would want to hear.  You can begin to focus your thoughts using one of the following five ways

a.       Imagine you were the reader skimming across what you are writing what is the absolute minimum they will need to understand what you are trying to get across

b.       Lay out your main ideas in a few sentences concentrating on major and minor ideas.

c.       Think about how you would teach the main ideas to someone.  How you would explain them etc.

d.       Imagine you had to teach your main idea to someone in 2 minutes. What would be the most important thing you would want them to know?

e.       Write with the top down.  In other words start with the main idea and build a foundation for it.


3. Draft the Document

Organizing and focusing the main ideas was the easy part.  Now comes the hard part for many people actually writing the paper. Here are some tips for you to follow when writing the rough draft.

a.       Don’t worry about what you are writing just keep writing. Creativity flows tension stops the flow.

b.       Compose the paper in any order you want to. If one sections is not working move on to the next.

c.       Avoiding editing.  Under no circumstance do you want to edit as you go this will only cause writers block so just keep writing.  Let go and let it flow.

d.       Once you are done print a hard copy for review later.  Do not start editing right away, but give it some time and go take a nap or a walk or a vacation. Whatever it takes to get you away form your paper for a while


4. Edit the Document

Editing is really a four step process so do not frustrate yourself by trying to do all your editing at once.

a.       Edit for Strategy.  Before you even begin to edit, think about your audience, who will be reading it and in what setting with the item be read, casual work environment etc.. Then edit the document accordingly

b.       Edit for the Main Points.  Look for the main points of the document and make them the beginning of each section of the paper. The rest of the papers will consist of supporting evidence for your key points.

c.       Edit for Supporting or Corroborating Evidence.  Now that you have your supporting evidence in place you will need to edit for the supporting evidence. This is the information that supports what you have just chose as the main points you want th reader to learn.

d.       Edit for everything else.  Now that you have a paper in place that you can live with it is time to edit for the small details like grammar and punctuation.

e.       Edit once again.  Edit again for readability. Now that you have you paper, make sure the paper is written so that the reader will get out of reading what you want them to. Does you paper flow from point to point or does it bog down somewhere in the middle or anywhere else?

f.         Once more just review you paper to make sure everything is as it should be.  A little advice to remember is that ten percent of your paper is inspirations the rest is editing.


Composing Under Special Circumstances

1.  Overcoming Writers Block

Writers block is the writer’s worst enemy. It is that inability to come up with anything to say. You sit there facing that blank space wondering where the words are going to come from or how you are ever going to think of that first sentence.  Virtually every writer has experienced writer’s block at one time or another.  The key is not worry about whether writers block will come but how to deal with it when it does.  If you get stuck in writers block it is always good to know how to get unstuck and to keep writing.  Here are a couple of tips or ticks to use to help you get unstuck and to move on.

a.        Change what you are writing.  I use this one a lot.  If you are having trouble writing one section a chapter, article or whatever it is move on to something else. Try to just free write: where you write down whatever comes to mind. Try to move onto another section of your paper draw up another idea chart, work on the headings, but don’t let your fingers stop typing or you hand to stop moving.  The more you keep writing instead of trying to think of what to wrote the better off you will be.

b.        Change what you are doing.  Get up and walk away from you are writing for a little while.  Go out and take a walk. Talk to some friends or relatives.  Discuss what you are writing with someone else sometimes talking about it will spark your creativity. Maybe read a book on the subject you are writing about to see how someone else deals with the topic. Remember looking at their ideas is ok just don’t take their words.

c.        Change the way you look at things. Throw out the rules of writing and just have at it.  Let those fingers move as they strike those keys. Try looking at the paper one section at a time. This is especially important when writing a long drawn out paper because sometimes the enormity of the task at hand causes writers block.  Another idea is not expect too much from you first draft.  In short do not fall in love with what you are writing because sooner or later it will need to be edited.

d.        Love what you write in order write what you love. 

A lot of times writers block comes from not really liking what you are writing.  If you’re just not into it is never going to work and you will find yourself staring at the blank page wondering where to go next. When writing try to pick topics that you like or love to write about.  Even if what you are writing for a business presentation the more joy you feel about your topic the better off you will be

e.        Change what you know.  Sometimes writer’s block occurs because we do not know enough about what we are trying to write. This means you should enough about your topic to write about it without too much trouble.

f.          Change your writing habits. Each of us has a certain time of the day where we just do not seem to have the desire to do anything.  If you have something to write make sure you schedule in a certain amount of time to write when you know that your thoughts will come freely and creatively.

g.        Change you writing habits. Do not procrastinate when it comes to writing this will only result in you having increase tension as well as writers block.  Another thing you can do is do not wrote only when you have to, but find time to just write because you can.  The more you write the easier it will become to write.


2.  Using Email

Email is one of those tools when used wisely can be a great asset to business communication, but when the used wrong way can become an inappropriate, impersonal tool that can break your companies reputation.  

Some drawbacks to the use of email:

a.       People don’t usually read them.  Think how many emails you have deleted in the last year.  Why didn’t you read them? When writing your emails try to overcome the same problems that caused you to delete emails form other people.

b.      Don’t make you emails to long winded.  What I mean to insure that the person you are sending the email to will read it make it “skim able”.  Do not use long paragraphs that drag on and on.  Write like you would for a web page with short detailed paragraphs.  Make sure to use headings so people can go right to the key points they want to read.  Also use as many lists as possible to again allow people to view and take in as much information in a short time as possible.

c.       Be careful with emails because people may not know what you mean.  One major drawback to emails is the lack of what we call non-verbal cues in communication.  These cues are important so people can get the hidden meaning or interpret what you are trying to saying. This makes email very impersonal and you do not if the joke you found funny offends someone else.  


All the rage are those email politeness markers i.e. J L.  These are great for communicating emotions and add to nonverbal communications but don’t overdo them because they can get rather annoying.

d.       Lack of Subject.   Do not start off any email without telling the person or persons you are writing to what you are writing about, be specific by saying what you are trying to say and by saying it so people will be drawn into your email.  As in any writing do not use you passive voice “Please Read My Email”.  Get their attention “Read my email or you may regret it later”.  Verbs jazz up any communication they are the engine that gives your sentence structure the get up and go, but use them wisely.

e.       Lack of Compose-ure.  An email is a written communication and like any written communication there are guidelines to follow when writing and composing your document.  Use those same guidelines when composing and email.

f.         Lack of editing.  This actually falls under composing but I thought it was such a drawback that I would mention it again.  Most people don’t edit their emails.  I see so many misspelled words, bad grammar and so on that it is scary.  So some advice edit, edit, edit.