A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better
than no inspiration at all
Rita Mae Brown
1944 - American author
Writing under deadline
Don't panic: organize!
Whether you are meeting a publication deadline, over-booked, or
Step 1: Get in the zone
- Think about it
Mentally organize and think about developing your
Turn off the cell phone when driving, walking, waiting, etc.
- Keep a notebook to jot down
thoughts on development and good
- Talk about the topic
Your approach can benefit from having a live
person react to your "story" or project
If the feedback is unclear, ask for
Don't get defensive, don't argue--make a note and move on
(you don't have time to debate: it's a writing project!)
- Designate a distraction-free area to help you write
- Organize all you will need
to avoid hunting and disrupting your
- Make a rough schedule working backwards from the deadline
Highlight major steps: due date, revision, draft, workspace organization,
resource and information gathering
If dependent on others, make your
Step 2: Write
It's as simple as that
- Don't interrupt your writing process to edit or research
over-working a problem area and leave it to the revision
Don't get distracted
by minor points--keep focus on the whole
- Draw up a quick outline or concept map
- Write out your thesis to be developed
Specific and suitable to the assignment
- Introduce your topic sentence in the first paragraph
Build it up with basic, relevant facts and context: who, what, when, where,
Appeal to and involve your readers
Anchor your paper and each paragraph with a topic
sentence. Revise later.
- As you write, note in bold, or color what you are unsure of
all comments when you revise
- Keep the "navigation" clear
In the introduction, tell your
audience what you are going to do,
then do it
- Take the place of your editor or teacher:
critique your own writing.
Treat your assignment as someone else's product
- Spell check.
Use search function to find words you overuse
- Print and read your project aloud
Printed text is easier to edit.
Does it sound right?
areas to revise after you finish.
(If you run out of breath reading a
sentence, it is probably too long)
- Review sentences:
Focus on one idea in each
sentences are clearer and reduce the need for commas
Ideal structure: subject
- verb - object.
Avoid too many prepositional phrases
Convert negatives to
- Keep your voice active and verbs strong
Beware acronyms, slang, jargon
Special vocabulary should be kept limited, introduced early, defined, used
- Limit the use of numbers in each sentence
Double check numbers!
- Add graphics, illustrations, etc. with captions.
information should reinforce verbal information, and vice versa