The most important writing tip of all: Prepare before you start.
I have been advising and coaching writers for years now, and the best writing tip I know is to spend time on preparation before you start writing.
It doesn’t matter whether you are writing a report, an essay, an article, a white paper, a book or anything else…preparation is the key.
Writing preparation involves three simple stages.
Stage 1: Create a detailed outline of what you are going to write.
You can use the outlining function in MS Word, a mind-mapping tool or something as simple as index cards.
Whatever your tool of choice, break down the writing task into sections, step by step. These steps may fall into chapters, sections or even groups of paragraphs.
Just make sure that you write down each element in sequence. Make sure every element is included, and in the right place.
Now you can see your writing project from beginning to end. It’ all there, step by step.
Stage 2: Gather together any reference materials you might need.
The amount of research or reference materials you need will depend on the nature and length of the writing task you are going to be working on. Regardless, the key is to gather all this information together before you start writing.
Once you have that material, attach it to the correct elements of your outline. Now you know that when you get to a certain point in your writing, the reference material you need will be there, exactly when and where you need it.
Stage 3: Set specific blocks of time aside for your writing task.
Give yourself a start and finish time. If you’re writing an essay, this may be a single block of time on a single day. If you are writing a book, allocate that same block of time every day.
The idea behind this writing tip is to help you prepare yourself in advance of when you start writing.
Once you have everything prepared, the actual writing process flows naturally and quickly, without interruption or pause.
Prepare first, and then write.