Our movement needs the voices of women like you. You are the one to refute the claims that it’s a “war on women” if nuns don’t pay for birth control. You are the one who can share a different perspective against a media onslaught promoting abortion, casual sex, and other terrible choices for women.
You CAN write a publishable article in the same time it takes to make dinner and watch a few episodes of HGTV.
Here’s your strategy.
- Limit yourself to a block of time. Many experts believe that focused attention—the kind required to write a thoughtful article—is possible only using limited blocks of time…perhaps about an hour and a half.
- If need be, get a helping hand for your “blocks”. You will need approximately two half-hour blocks and one 90 minute block to write an article, with two 15 minute breaks in between. If you have kid ask for help for these specific periods. If you work, blow off happy hour, turn off your phone for one night, eat leftovers and ask your husband/roommate/friends to do what needs doing.
- Go somewhere quiet and private. Wherever YOUR private place is..with noise levels you like, and with all Internet distractions off limits
- Take 30-60 minutes to research and sketch ideas.
After you’re on fire with an idea for an article, it should only take you about 30 minutes to identify your main points, get a few basic facts, and have a preliminary sketch of what you really want to say.
If you work in an office, you can schedule this 30-minute research and ideas sketching session during your lunch break. If you’re home with children, this can get done during naptime.
- Find a 90-minute block to write your first draft.
90 minutes has been identified by some authors as the ideal amount of time to do “deep thinking” and focused writing before needing a break. I have found that unless you are telling a personal story (which requires less time) a 90-minute block is what it takes to write between 500-900 “good” words.
Some women like to write an outline before writing, sketching out their overall thesis (or main point), supporting points, and conclusion. Then they “fill in” the outline.
Some women (myself included) “think as they write.” For us, it is better to just get all our thoughts on paper and then make sense of it, adding supporting facts and organizing it as we go. At first it might just be a “brain dump”, but this can work! Soon, you will find patterns and can connect them in a way that makes sense. You can edit what doesn’t “fit” later.
- Take a 30-60 minute block to finalize and proofread before pitching.
This 30-90 minute session can be done either after a short break from your first writing session, or the following morning before work or the kids wake up.
Use this time to clean up your article and view it with fresh eyes. Time spent tweaking sentences to your satisfaction will vary, but as long as your paragraphs are grammatically and factually correct, don’t stress!
Adding citations or links to facts you’ve quoted is important if you are using statistics or other facts in your article. A final spelling, grammar, and typo check is also essential to make sure you have a clean copy to send to your editor. Read it aloud to yourself or friend or husband, or print it out and correct it yourself or get a friend to help.
Then write and send an email pitching it to the editor at the paper or media outlet where you want to publish! Either contact your local paper or reach out to WSFT if you need help.
All in all, it should only take you a few hours to complete a piece. You might spark an insight in a reader who never saw things your way before!