WMBTSG Day Twenty-Five (Comment to this post to enter the drawing)

Welcome to day twenty-five of the Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. Today’s giveaway is The Renegade Writer Queries that Rock, The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Selling More Work Faster by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell.

TRW Query Letters That Rocked

Writing effective query letters is essential to a successful freelance career, and this book shows how the real pros do it! This convention-defying follow-up to The Renegade Writer ensures that freelance writers get this assignments they want more quickly and for better pay. It includes real query letters — together with explanations from the writers and the editors who assigned the stories — that resulted in assignments from dozens of magazines, including Smithsonian, Fitness, Inc., Parenting and others.

About the authors:

Linda Formichelli writes for Redbook, USA Weekend, Health, Women’s Health, Business.com, Writer’s Digest, and other magazines. Linda co-authored The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success and The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock. Linda lives in Concord, NH, with her writer husband and three cats. Her interests include science fiction, languages & linguistics, Archie Comics, Thai iced tea, and cats. Linda’s website is http://www.lindaformichelli.com, and the Renegade Writer blog is at http://www.therenegadewriter.com.

Diana Burrell is the coauthor of The Renegade Writer and The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock, and the author of Psychology Today’s Here to Help: The Secrets of Successful Weight Loss. Before she transformed herself into a renegade writer, Diana Burrell sought job fulfillment in careers like advertising, marketing, and technical writing. She now writes for publications including Parenting, Psychology Today, The Writer, Walking, Contract Professional, and many other magazines and newspapers. A graduate of Smith College, Diana lives in suburban Boston with her husband, son, three cats, and a lot of books. Visit Diana online at www.ninetofive.com.

***

Today’s question:

Selling more work faster, who wouldn’t like to learn how to do that? Since I am one of the slowest writers that ever lived, I bet you guys can help me get more done in less time by sharing some of your tips for getting more done in less time. Productivity is one thing. We’ve covered that. This time, share a tip or two on how you write really really fast…when you have to. (Or tell us how you make writing slow work in your favor.)

If this is your first post in the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.”

You may post your comments until midnight PST on September 25th.

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38 Responses to “WMBTSG Day Twenty-Five (Comment to this post to enter the drawing)”


  1. 1 Margay September 25, 2008 at 2:48 am

    I know this is probably going to sound silly, but when I need to be motivated to write more or write faster, I enter challenges. They can be found all over the web for various reasons, but they are great motivators. For example, one that I did recently had you determine the amount of words you wanted to write or edit per day and at the end of each day, you would enter your tally online and the person who accomplished the most over the week-long period, won a prize. I ended up writing nearly 39,000 words on a manuscript for that challenge. NaNoWriMo is another great challenge that I have done and will most likely do again. I seem to work best under deadlines.

  2. 2 Jennifer September 25, 2008 at 4:20 am

    The only time I write fast is when I am completely unprepared to write. When I get both kids down to sleep, make a cup of tea, and sit down at my laptop to work, the ideas flow as slow as molasses. When I’m juggling twenty-five things, the kids are clamoring for my attention, and there is not even a pen to be found, the ideas come in a tidal wave. I usually grab whatever I can find and scribble down as much as I can. I have to admit, many of my first drafts are in crayon on paper towel!

  3. 3 Debra September 25, 2008 at 4:35 am

    Travel writer Jackie Perrin has taught me a thing or two about writing fast. Her main tip is to have a formula for what is covered in a typical article about a region or a vacation venue. She has made her formula into a rhythm that, over time, creates an engaging signature for her work. Regular readers (at the very least, her editor) can tell a Jackie Perrin piece a mile off. For example, Jackie always ferrets out some hidden benefit of a place that the reader wouldn’t know from just visiting without guidance, and the secret always is something that really makes a difference to families: A kid-friendly place to eat, the best place to get cheap diapers, or how to engage both a toddler and a 10-year-old for less than $10.

    Having developed this rhythm makes it easy for Jackie to ask the right questions when she visiting a place, so when she gets home and starts writing, it’s like filling in a series of blanks in her mind. Her fingers practically know what to do on her own.

  4. 4 delia boylan September 25, 2008 at 5:58 am

    When I have to write really, really fast I shut off all distractions. I literally lock myself in a room and don’t get up until I’ve hit my target word count for that day–that means no snacks, no email, even no peeing (!) unless and until I get it done. It helps that I keep my email on a separate computer so that I’m not tempted to drift off into cyber-space while I’m supposed to be productive. But that’s it really: concentrate, concentrate, concentrate. Then i give myself a reward when it’s done like a tea or a snack or a quick email.

  5. 5 Pam September 25, 2008 at 6:00 am

    To write really fast and get more done, the key (for me) is focus. I find it helps to do something meaningless or trivial first, to get your creative juices flowing. I like to clean my keyboard on my laptop (lots of crumbs from my 5 year old) then I am not tempted to do it while I am writing. I also make a list of what I want to accomplish and by when. I do tend to work better with a deadline so if I know I have to have it done before 330p when my son gets home, I will work fast and focused. I also find it helps to have music playing. If you go to Pandora.com, you can set up your own radio stations depending on the type of music you like. it is free and easy!

    I am not so good at writing slow, I tend to lose focus that way.

    Query letters and not my strong point. This book would be a great help to me! This whole giveaway has been a great help to me. It is very inspirational!
    Thanks

  6. 6 marnini September 25, 2008 at 6:33 am

    I once read that if an idea comes to mind, let it sit in your conscience for a bit. Don’t talk about it, don’t write it down, just let it begin to bubble until it is ready to burst. By doing this, you allow yourself to write with a fury. All the details that have been occupying your mind will flow easier and quicker.
    This method always works for me and I find I can’t write fast enough if I allow my thoughts and ideas to simmer for a bit.
    On the other hand, sometimes I write quicker when I don’t think too much, if I sit down and just let inspiration take over sometimes the craziest thoughts and ideas make their way onto paper and end up being better than I would have ever imagined.

  7. 7 christinajclark September 25, 2008 at 7:06 am

    I put my iPod headphones on and just start working. The songs on my iPod are pretty upbeat and really get me going. Kind of like a workout – if you get the right vibe going before you know it you’re done (or at least making progress).

    And sometimes I just sit down and keep pushing through. I set mini goals. I’ll get x number of words done. Then I stand up and stretch and double my goal for the next round. Usually when I start hitting the mini goals I get excited by the progress and it keeps me going and going.

    I write nonfiction though. I get really slow when I try and write fiction.

  8. 8 Jennifer September 25, 2008 at 7:16 am

    I can hardly believe that you are a slow writer, Christina! Are you sure? If so, that gives me hope…

    I consider myself to be a slow writer but this may be because I revise a lot. If I have to write something fast, it’s mostly a mind thing. I make sure I’m alone and put my head into hyper-drive. I write without thinking and make sure just to get something on the page. Then I revise or delete. I don’t allow myself to think about whether or not a revision is a good one, I just do it.

    I’ve found as I’m blogging that a slower pace of writing can be helpful as I flesh out ideas that are hiding down deep. It’s like journaling but with a finished product at the end. This gives me seeds for possible essays for submissions later.

  9. 9 Pam September 25, 2008 at 7:34 am

    I find that in order to get more writing done faster, I need to focus. In order to focus, spending time doing menial tasks can loosen you up. For example, if I clean the keyboard on my laptop (crumbs from my 5 year old) I won’t be as tempted to do it while I am writing. Or vacuum first or do dishes or organize something. Then the creative juices should be flowing. All the time you are performing the menial tasks, you can be thinking of what you want to write. I also tend to make a list or outline of what I want to accomplish. I write what I am writing and by what time I want to finish. I do work better under pressure. I write faster if I know I need to be done by 330 pm when my son gets home from school.

    Another thing that helps me focus is music. Something relaxing can be helpful like Enya or Windham Hill.

    I do not do so well with writing slow. I tend to lose focus and start cleaning things!

    Writing query letters are not my strongest asset. I need to practice them, polish them and actually submit them if I want to be successful!

  10. 10 Meryl K. Evans September 25, 2008 at 8:01 am

    I start with the easiest part. I don’t force myself to start at the beginning. Just write the first thoughts or ideas that come to you and keep adding. As the content comes together, it’ll be easier to add a start and ending. Another approach is to come up with a theme or analogy to use at the start and end — then sprinkle the theme in the content.

  11. 11 Cheryl M September 25, 2008 at 8:38 am

    I don’t know if I am a fast or slow writer; it is something that is hard to compare. I think it really helps to have a topic that you are truly interested in. If I am interested in a topic or very invested in getting a particular story on paper, than I can have a first draft very quickly. However, does that mean you write quickly? What if you have to revise that 10 times to get it accepted? In the long run, it may be quicker to spend more time on the first draft and only have to revise 5 times.

  12. 12 Erika September 25, 2008 at 9:24 am

    My best tip is to not worry about the grammar, sentence structure, length, anything – just write. I don’t mind editing and once it’s on the page I at least have something to work with.

    I may also skip a certain section or just write a few notes to myself in its place if its something that isn’t coming easily.

    For me, the writing can really start to flow once I give up caring if it is good writing – that can come on revision. Of course, I would be mortified if anyone read the first draft, but that’s for my eyes only.

  13. 13 rowena September 25, 2008 at 9:28 am

    I write really fast. I realized this when I did Nano, and I was so nervous, I practiced in October. That’s when I learned I would only have to write two hours a day to hit the goal. Maybe it was an hour and a half.

    Hints. Practice practice practice. After religiously keeping a journal for 25 years, I learned how to write off of the top of my head, following one thought to the next and crafting pieces that make sense together.

    Also. Learn to shut off the internal editor. If you are stopping every five seconds, doubting your words, then you slow down.

    Set a timer. Write without stopping for fifteen minutes. That’s all. But don’t stop.

  14. 14 Laura September 25, 2008 at 9:49 am

    I honestly don’t know how to write faster. I’m still in the learning process, so I’ll be paying great attention to everyone else’s answers. I need the tips. The one thing that I do know is that I write faster on the computer. Not only am I trying to improve my handwriting, because it’s embarrassing if you can’t read your own writing, but sometimes my hand just can’t keep up with my thoughts. Because I use a computer in my day job, I know how to focus on the thoughts, and ignore the mechanics of writing, when I have a keyboard underneath my fingers.

  15. 15 Katrina September 25, 2008 at 9:54 am

    For nonfiction, having a deadline helped me write faster. I had to write without worrying about, well, anything. I just write until I have a complete draft. In the beginning the drafts were truly awful, and it probably took longer, but the more I did it the better the drafts look and now I can say, I’m actually a faster writer. (Not fast, just faster.) But it takes time and practice. A little preplanning is helpful, too. I don’t outline in the traditional sense, but I do pull the quotes I want to use and that lends the initial structure; then I connect the quotes. And I do write faster if I’m writing every day. The gears are oiled; even skipping a few days writing makes it harder to get back into the project. Even if I’m letting a draft sit for a few days for distance, I work on something else (that’s why burnout affects my productivity). No rusty gears!

  16. 16 writerinspired September 25, 2008 at 10:37 am

    What a goldmine of tips, mamas! Love it! Margay: I’m going to try those online competitions. I also think the style of Jackie Perrin is something I could do. Rowena: girl, once again I agree with the journaling and practice tips, we must be writing sister soul-mates!
    My tips:
    I found a unique format called DRAW, from the Organized writer site. Break down the following to get your space and head clear, more time and energy to write without stopping!
    Declutter: 5 min to clear a space. I love post-its to separate things I need to file, address or mail
    Read: 5 min to warm up your brain, something fun! Preferably not the web, unless you use a timer!
    Assess: 5 min to prioritize your to-do’s, look at your deadlines!
    WRITE! 5 min to start, then just go and go! Use a timer if you want to work on multiple projects.

    Deadlines are my BFF for quick writing

    Writing more gets my hand moving faster each time I sit down! Journaling, blogging, emailing buddies, jotting down ideas on the highway (when in traffic)
    183words!

  17. 17 Laurie Thompson September 25, 2008 at 10:50 am

    When I write articles, I usually spend about 25% of my time researching, 10% writing, and 5% revising. The other 60% of the time is all preplanning, which I must do in my head until I know exactly what I want the article to look like. This is great, because I can do it anywhere: in the shower, in the car, waiting in line, cooking dinner, etc., and it puts those otherwise wasted minutes to good use. I don’t need to spend much time, then, actually sitting at the computer writing, because it just flows neatly onto the page. With practice, this method has become easy for me and I can put articles together very quickly.

    There are two drawbacks, though. First, people don’t realize I’m working, so they either try to talk to me or think I’m slacking! Second, I haven’t figured out how to make this method, or any other really, work for a book-length project or for any kind of fiction. Has anyone else struggled with making the leap from short nonfiction into other types of work?

  18. 18 Julie P September 25, 2008 at 11:06 am

    “Yeah that” on everyone as perplexed in how to answer this question. The only times I write faster, I also write sloppier and with less flow. Which, in turn, leads to more time writing in edits and rewrites. For me, its not worth it.

    That said, I do recall speed writing lessons that included writing against the clock in a free-flowing brainstorm. No grammar, no punctuation. Just write and write and get it all out.

    But, although there are still words on a paper and it was fast, I don’t see that as truly writing a well-thought and complete piece.

  19. 19 Laural September 25, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I think I do have a bit of a formula for the local articles I write, and it does help as a framework to hang new ideas on, making everything happen faster. Most recently, I have learned not to overwrite. I used to edit an article every day for 2 weeks before I turned it in. I actually found editing only twice over two weeks resulted in less notes from my editor and less overall time spent on the project. Now I’m learning to do just the right amount to be effective time-wise and still deliver good work. I also think having a busy life outside writing helps me be faster at writing! No time for writer’s block or writing slow.

  20. 20 Celestial Goldfish September 25, 2008 at 11:44 am

    I don’t know if I’m a slow or fast writer, but when I can get in a groove and not be interrupted (Juice please! Hugs please! Music please!) I can go super-fast. There were a few days of Nanowrimo last year where I did over 5,000 words in a day without stressing.

    My tips would be to make yourself a deadline/goal and accept that the first draft will be rough. The initial concern should be to get the ideas OUT. From there, you can nitpick, but that can be done in bits and pieces between refilling juice and giving hugs.

  21. 21 Judith September 25, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Hi I just found your website and it sounds like there’s a tremendous amount of information/resources here for beginning writers and/or those of us who have written for many years. I’m in the latter category and I’m going to sign up for your class in January on writing non-fiction pitches. I was also interested in the book on getting known before you try to get a book publishes. Great information. Currently my blog is //shoppingoutloud.wordpress.com
    Happy writing!

  22. 22 Renee September 25, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Nothing gets me writing faster than a deadline! But if you look at my work before the two to three days before deadline, it’s a jumbled mess. My articles are shorthand notes I’ve taken from interviews. I have printed e-mails with quotes and clarifications from my sources. When the crunch begins, I swoop them all into a folder and sit down with my laptop. I like to first organize the article with title, intro, subheads and the conclusion. Then I go back and fill in the rest. I still haven’t learned how to write fiction quickly yet, but hopefully I’ll be able to participate in Nano in November to help me hone my skills in the area. Query letters are excruciating for me. I labor over every word and go into full on panic mode once I hit the “send” button. I’m always afraid I’ve sent the letter to the wrong editor or have a glaring error. It’s very nervewracking.

  23. 23 Kelli September 25, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I definitely get more done when I am out of the house! When I’m home, dirty dishes are staring at me, piles or laundry are screaming at me to be folded, kids are climbing all over me…aaaahhhhhh! I’ve been trying to set aside a couple times a week where hubby watches the kids and I go to the library to write. It’s just hard to get out of the house sometimes. Deadlines kind of work in my favor though because then I HAVE to go…no IFs, ANDs, or BUTs.

  24. 24 Angie Goodloe September 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    When I want to write fast I mentally chain myself to my desk. I vow to get so many pages done in the time that I have ( which may only be an hour) I worry about revisions later. This is a real good way to get ideas flowing- I may end up with something completely different from what I originally planned- but it is usually good stuff.
    I work well with distractions as long as I have a good idea flowing.Ideas will pop into my head so I make sure I have my notebook close by.
    I was recently given a used laptop. I set it up in my kitchen so I can type ideas quickly while my daughter eats her lunch in her high chair or while I am making dinner.

  25. 25 Amie H September 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I write faster when I’m on deadline. And since I am bad at giving myself deadlines, I have been taking writing classes. Usually the turnaround time for assignments is one week. It gives me enough time to research and think an idea through and then set down to write. It’s great because I not only get my writing done but I get feedback too – which as a beginning writer has been invaluable. Hopefully someday I will be self motivated enough to not need the classes. But right now the classes are helping me get my writing done faster and helping me improve at the same time.

  26. 26 Jennifer Wright September 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Word Wars!

    Get a friend and just WRITE. Usually fifteen minutes to half an hour. Write non-stop, remembering that the other is doing the same. At the end, compare word counts. The competition REALLY gets you going. (and you can compete with yourself, too!)

    And if you’re really daring, you can share the piece of crud that it’ll be. It’s kind of impossible to write well when you’re racing, but you have SOMETHING and then can edit. 🙂

  27. 27 PeggyD. September 25, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I let my mind wander about a topic, or to come up with a topic to write about, I think about it all day while doing the monotonous tasks I need to do as a mom… while doing the dishes, changing a diaper, doing laundry. I don’t let my mind think about anything else during the day, unless it’s necessary, until I have some solid idea’s to write about in my head. Then when I DO have a moment to sit down and write, I already have the ideas to write or type out.
    The other thing that helps me is getting out of the house. Others have said this already, but it really does help me write faster since I’m more focused.

  28. 28 Cat September 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines! That’s about the only thing that really gets me writing fast. And I can write really fast when I absolutely have to. I’m a horrible procrastinator, so this is how it works out most of the time–I waste time for a few days, then I have a deadline and I crank for 6 hours and I’m done. I really, really wish I were better at simply pacing myself, but years of working on a time crunch have made this method habit for me.

  29. 29 kmcdade September 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Okay, I have several strategies; I use whatever seems appropriate at the time. One isn’t really a strategy — it’s just that when I’m writing about something that I’m passionately interested in, I tend to write fast. Another is deadlines, as others have mentioned — although a deadline also often encourages me to wait until the last minute. Another is to work in spurts, with a timer — 15 minutes on, 5 minutes off, repeat until finished; tweak times as needed. Lastly, having a buddy — someone to hold me accountable for producing a certain amount of work within a certain amount of time — similar to a deadline, but certainly different from an editor’s or teacher’s deadline — and the buddy can offer support and encouragement, too.

  30. 30 Rosemary Lombard September 25, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Writing for me is like an alternation of pressure cooker and slow cooker. When I’m recording behavioral notes and the animals are waiting for me, I fly, even to the point of writing quite illegibly. (For the journals I’ve returned to bound notebooks and pen—too many changes of computer system making old notes truly unreadable.) Sometime when I’m writing in other circumstances it steams ahead for a bit, especially if I’m up on my sleep and have good notes, but then I pause, stewing it around a bit, and edit, edit, edit, engrossed in the middle of the language. So mostly it proceeds on slow cooker pace, moving around those phrases that landed in the wrong places and fixing the not-quite-right word and the sentences out of order, all with a careful editor’s eye for the detail. It is said so often that writing should charge ahead no matter and leave the details for another pass. I suspect that’s a better and more productive way to work: shutting the eyes to imperfection and knowing that the pleasures of playing with the details are only deferred while the writer keeps those eyes on the bigger picture.

  31. 31 Tricia S. September 25, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Ummm writing fast. I challenge myself. Self, I say, you can’t go do (whatever it is you want to do) until you’ve written XXXX words. I hold little rewards over my head like carrots dangling. And I’m a sucker for a reward. Also, turn the phone off, or instant messaging, or close out email so you don’t see the little nagging thingie tellin you that you have email.

    When I have to write fast, I turn off my internal editor, because she is so picky she slows me down. If I let her pick my piece to death, I’ll never get it down. I wind up getting stuck on a word choice or sentence fragment and precious time is clicking away. Write it down, get it out, get it finished. Once it’s commited to paper, then go back and edit and tweak it. Find the elusive word you needed. Same thing when I need to look up something for an article I’m working on. I write, get to the point where I need to look something up and {leave it blank}. Finish writing the article and then go back and look it up. The article is finished except for the last little piece of expert advice or whatever you needed. So you plug it in and you’re finished.

  32. 32 Stephanie Craig September 25, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    If the kids are awake and my husband’s not at home to watch them, I put on Veggie Tales in the other room where I can keep my eye on them but not be distracted by them. I have to make an outline or a list of all the objectives I want to cover in my article. Then I just write. I aim for 30 minutes because that is usually how long the video lasts. When the video is over, I will figure out how much more I need to do, give the kids some loving and put in another video (I know this makes me a bad mom, but this doesn’t happen often). Then I get it done in the next half hour. This has worked for me in pressure situations only because I haven’t had any large assignments to do in a short amount of time.

  33. 33 KristyG September 25, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    I love reading what works for other writers. It has given me some wonderful strategies. Right now, deadlines work the best for me. Whether its self-imposed, or an actual deadline, it makes me focus. Minimizing the distractions also helps me write faster. In fact, I have been contemplating moving my computer away from the window. While I like being able to look outside, I find myself stopping to watch the horses or anything else that comes into view.

  34. 34 Cara September 25, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    There are two things that make my writing just flow so fast that my hand has trouble keeping up with my thoughts: inspiration and motivation.

    Inspiration is totally not under my control. It comes from somewhere deep inside of me. A case in point. I was lying awake early this morning (at 4 a.m. to be precise) thinking of lots of things, not the least of which was that when I woke up in the morning, we would be taking our middle child down to college for the start of her freshman year. Suddenly, I got a great idea for a story that I had been trying to write for several weeks now. A second story came to me out of the blue, on the two hour drive down, as I gazed out the window at the farms and fields on the side of the road and let my mind wander.

    Motivation is external, and is always in the form of a deadline. There’s something about having a time limit hanging over me that causes me to stop procrastinating and breaks through the writer’s block. When motivation and inspiration happily coincide, then watch out, I’m on fire!

  35. 35 Sarah K September 25, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    I would not say that I am a particularly fast or slow writer. You see the thing is – if I know that I only have twenty minutes to get something written, then twenty minutes later I will have it done. Although, if I have two hours to finish something, then it will be done two hours later. So basically, deadlines determine the speed of my writing. For this reason I try to set deadlines for myself but unfortunately that does not always seem to work. Also, I tend to think and think about something so much that when it comes time to write, it only takes me a matter of minutes (depending on the project, of course.) Although, I love having extra time to really edit and revise my work before submitting it.

  36. 36 Mar Junge, c3PR September 25, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    I learned to write fast in Journalism 101. If you’re working on a feature article, be sure to have an outline with a topic sentence or at least a few notes for every paragraph. Assemble your notes so that you don’t waste time “researching” your topic on the Internet. Clear your desk of distractions. Turn off the phone. Calculate how long you think it will take you to write the article and set your computer alarm for that time. And then…here’s the fun part…close your eyes and picture yourself in a busy newsroom. In front of you is a giant clock. Behind you, an impatient editor is waiting to scoop up your story and hand-carry it to the news desk. Tell yourself when you open your eyes you will have become one of the best, fastest, most competent journalists and the world is waiting for your story. Count down from 3, 2, 1…open your eyes and starting typing. Don’t stop to edit. For now, just fill in the blanks of the outline. Make it a game to see if you can beat the clock. The more you practice, the faster you’ll get.

  37. 37 Mar Junge, c3PR September 25, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    I learned to write fast in Journalism 101. If you’re working on a feature article, be sure to have an outline with a topic sentence or at least a few notes for every paragraph. Assemble your notes so that you don’t waste time “researching” your topic on the Internet. Clear your desk of distractions. Turn off the phone. Calculate how long you think it will take you to write the article and set your computer alarm for that time. And then…here’s the fun part…close your eyes and picture yourself in a busy newsroom. In front of you is a giant clock. Behind you, an impatient editor is waiting to scoop up your story and hand-carry it to the news desk. Tell yourself when you open your eyes you will have become one of the best, fastest, most competent journalists and the world is waiting for your story. Count down from 3, 2, 1…open your eyes and starting typing. Don’t stop to edit. For now, just fill in the blanks of the outline. Make it a game to see if you can beat the clock.


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