Help! I Have to Write a Draft and Just Can’t Get Started!
First, figure out what you want to say and how to organize it. This sounds fairly intuitive until you think of how many times you’ve read something with so much extra information that you get lost in the details, or where the most important points are buried at the end of the text.
Jot down notes that answer three key questions:
1. Who is your audience? What do they care about? What do they need?
Keeping your focus on your audience will help you determine how to capture their attention. It should guide your use of headlines and subheads. For instance, a news item on a college admissions site’s homepage titled “New Arts Center Brings Students the Latest Tools to Build Their Portfolios” will be more effective than one titled “New $2 Million Arts Center Opens.”
2. What’s your goal in writing this piece? What do you want your audience to do?
Having a clear goal in mind will help you decide what information your audience needs and how to conclude the piece. When you are rereading your draft, check that you have included a clear call to action.
3. What is most important for this audience to know so you can persuade or enable them to do what you want them to do?
Asking this question will help you gather the content, which will range from big-picture benefits to supporting details. Most critically, it will help you organize your information in order of importance and double-check that you’ve included everything the audience needs to know—and nothing extraneous. Be ruthless. If you’re describing your merit scholarships to potential donors as an example of what their gifts will support, there is no need to include each scholarship’s specific admissions criteria.
Write your first draft quickly, focusing on content rather than writing style. Then take a break before you go back to revise it. At that point, you can focus on how to make the writing more clear and direct.
Easy, right? No, writing is never easy, but it can be done and done well!
Written by Barb Ruppert, Copywriter at Creosote Affects
Even in this highly visual age, Creosote believes powerful, focused writing is essential.