Start Your Writing Day With a Quick Win and Get Momentum
By Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning nonprofit content writer, website publisher, and author of 9 books.
When you start your writing day with a quick win, you get momentum – and more.
A quick win is a writing task that you can accomplish in 15-30 minutes. And by task, I don’t mean checking your email or reading an article. A quick win is a short spurt of writing that contributes to one of your current writing projects.
Why do you need a quick writing win each day?
- If you have just 15-30 minutes a day to devote to writing, you need a quick win each day in order to keep your ideas active in your mind
- If you’re a part-time writer, you need a quick win each day in order to make progress with your writing projects
- If you’re a full-time writer, you need a quick win each day in order to get momentum for bigger projects
- If you are working on more than one writing project at a time, you need a quick win each day in order to make headway with each of them
- If you write for clients (“work for hire”), you need a quick win each day in order to finish one project, send an invoice, get paid, and get more work
- If you’re working on a big project – like a book – you need a quick win each day to keep you motivated
Why Start Your Writing Day With a Quick Win Project?
Time management gurus tell us to choose 3-5 tasks to tackle in a day and then start with the most important and challenging one first.
The idea behind this approach is to prevent procrastination – that is, the temptation to put off the difficult task. Procrastinate long enough and the day is over and you’re too tired to attack the project. That’s why experts advise jumping out of the gate with your Big Hairy Difficult Writing Project Of The Day whether it’s to write a chapter of a book, outline a grant application, or create an email autoresponder series.
Some writers say they "eat the frog first" to get their writing juices flowing.
But a word of caution: when you start your writing day with your most difficult project, you may get stuck there. Your Big Hairy Difficult Writing Project Of The Day can take all day or get you bogged down. If so, you can easily lose momentum, get discouraged, and have other writing tasks pile up.
A quick win helps avoid that problem. When you tackle a short writing project and complete it right at the beginning of your writing time, you have a sense of accomplishment. You’re encouraged to move forward with your more difficult projects for the day.
Plus, a quick win is one of the most powerful ways to overcome writer’s block. You’ve given yourself a short writing assignment, completed it in 15-30 minutes, and you’re on a roll. Now you’re ready to tackle your Big Hairy Difficult Writing Project Of The Day. And you’ve already accomplished something.
Use this worksheet to create your own personalized content calendar and get more writing done.
Quick Win Tasks to Get Momentum in Your Writing Day
There are dozens of quick win writing tasks. Here’s a sampling.
- Outline a letter
- Draft 5 headlines for a blog post
- Draft 5 sample subject lines for an email campaign
- Write a list of 5 content ideas for your newsletter, website, or blog
- Write out the main idea and 3 supporting ideas for a blog post
- Write a paragraph of a blog post
- Write the sidebar for an article
- Write one section of a grant application
- Write content for 3 social media posts
- Write content for 3-5 PowerPoint slides
- Rewrite an article lead
- Write a blog post conclusion
- Pitch your services to a potential client
- Pitch an article idea to an editor
- Edit a cover letter
- Gather 3 facts you can use for an upcoming project
- Proofread your newsletter content
More Quick Win Tips
- Write down your quick win task in the evening so you’re ready to get going right away the next day.
- Choose quick win tasks that involve writing – that is, actually putting words on paper – rather than reading an article or creating a graphic.
- Avoid quick win tasks that are “busy work,” like posting on social media or checking your email.
- Avoid quick win tasks that may frustrate you or reverse your momentum. (For me, that’s anything tech.) Aggravation kills progress. Accomplishment energizes!
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