The first thing to do is to review the headline and subheads you wrote the day before. You’re seeing them with fresh eyes now — do they still make sense? Do they sound intriguing? Do you feel excited about writing what’s missing? (If so, that’s a good sign.)
If you see weaknesses in your basic structure, take some time to fix them before you start to write. Reinforce your structure so it’s strong enough to support the words you’re about to hang on it.
Once you’re happy with the headlines and subheads, it’s time to fill in the details.
Ready? Set? Write!
Write Your First Draft … Fast
Your goal is to write the first draft of your article. This is a stage where you might get stuck: after all, writing a first draft feels like actually writing your content.
And it is, but I want you to keep it in perspective at this stage.
What you’re writing is a messy, junky first draft. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It won’t seem polished.
What it needs to be — by the end of the day — is done.
Done is way more important than perfect at this stage. Remember: no one is going to see this except you.
So write, write, write. Do not go back and edit. Don’t attempt to polish and perfect what you’ve written. Write forward, not backward.
Write your first sentence. My book contains a whole chapter on writing compelling first sentences. I know — overkill, right? But the first sentence is an important transition element that will pull your reader from your headline into your content, so don’t skimp on this handful of words.
Write your introduction section. Your introduction section is equally important. Your reader is making a decision about whether he or she should spend time reading the rest of your article. Your introduction section should sell the benefits they’ll gain from reading your content. Review the Introduction chapter for help with this section.
Fill in under your subheads. You’ve thought through your content structure and written compelling subheads. Now fill in a first-draft version of the text that will go beneath each subhead to explain the point you want to make. See the Main Copy chapter for guidance.
Write your summary. Wrap it all up with a summary that refers to your main points and shows your reader the journey they’ve taken. The Summary chapter will help you write this part.
Add a call to action. Remember, all content includes a call to action, even if all you do is ask for comments. Think through this important interaction and get more information about how to effectively write it in the Call to Action chapter.
Remember at this stage, don’t sweat the details.
Just get your thoughts down, and don’t edit anything. You have a full day reserved for editing, and you’ll do a better job editing if you leave some time between the writing stage and the editing stage anyway.
Whew! That was a lot of work in one day.
It’s time to walk away from your content. Once you’ve written your first draft, you can feel satisfied that you’ve gotten your thoughts down.
Do something else and get a good night’s rest because you’ll need fresh, rested eyes to do the next day’s work!