Sandra Gerth - author of the Writers' Guide Series

4 Army Soldier Tips to Be a More Efficient Writer

I have a guest blogger today: Freelance writer Vicki Clain is sharing her tips on how to be a more efficient writer. Take it away, Vicki! 

I’ve been working as a freelance writer for over five years now, and I went through several stages of polishing before I could actually make a living out of this. As a writer, you don’t just have to know how to put thoughts on paper and make them into interesting, enticing ideas; you also have to be fast, efficient, and reliable.

These are the three elements any freelance writer must master before they can establish a regular clientele. Of course, you can’t provide low quality in favor of speed so you must find a way to improve your style and speed, at the same time.

I know that it’s not easy to combine creativity with efficiency and this is why I decided to learn from a person who knows everything there is to know about discipline: a soldier. My brother loves the strict system of the army and I noticed some elements in his routine that could be of help in improving my own business.

Below you can see the four tips I borrowed from the army life; and they did help me become a better writer!

#1: Be Organized

I know: creative people are not organized! Still, when you’re juggling several clients at a time and you need to write five or ten texts in a day, you will need to organize things.

People in the army are religious about putting their things and tasks in order before actually starting the work. And they are right to do so – when you need something you know where it is and how long it takes to reach it.

The same goes for a writer – you may need resources, older files, documents you already did for a client and if you’re not organized, you’ll lose precious time finding them. If you organize everything in folders, by date, the research task will be a lot easier.

#2: Plan Ahead

In the army, a mission must be planned ahead, and there have to be at least one or two auxiliary plans. As a writer, you may not need plan B, but you need to plan your content before you start writing. This means knowing the main topic and the sub-topics you want to tackle before writing the content.

This gives your articles fluency and it is a lot easier if you know where the article goes.

#3: Constant Improvement

You always have to look for new ways to improve yourself! As a writer, there’s nothing more dangerous than following the same style over and over again. It gets boring and your audience will thin out.

Find new challenges in your writing style or speed of typing and keep learning. This is an important aspect, especially for a new writer. If you learn more, you’ll be able to expand your horizon and, in time, this will be seen in your level of efficiency. If you constantly work on yourself, you’ll be able to reach a new class of clients and earn more.

#4: Think Outside the Box

While the army doesn’t really accept an unconventional approach, there are times when you need to break the routine.

I recommend getting a new hobby – it is proven that new experiences help the brain develop. After all, too much of the same routine and you start feeling trapped in a loop.  You can go hiking, take guitar lessons, or go crazy and buy yourself an airsoft gun.

It’s important to test your limits if you want your writing to be fresh and attractive for a wider range of readers!


Thanks for sharing your tips, Vicki!

For more advice on how to be a more productive writer, check out Time Management for Writers, a book that will teach you how to find enough time to write, how to overcome procrastination and writer’s block, and how to deal with distractions and interruptions.

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