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Tips for writing under pressure

new career advice for writersWritten by Colin Holmes

Do you remember those times in school when you had to write an essay on short notice? For one reason or the next, you were in a bind with nowhere to turn. While the stress and anxiety can be a lot to handle, there are things you can do to ensure your success when writing under pressure.

If you find yourself rushed to complete the task at hand you should turn to the following business tips:

  1. Create a plan and outline for the project. The last thing you want to do is sit down and begin writing, just to find that you are going down the wrong path. You may be tempted to do so since you are under pressure, but you are better off taking some time to create a plan before moving forward with the creative brief or whatever the project is. If you don’t, you may find yourself scrapping the first draft and being forced to start over. With the right plan in front of you, as the project progresses you will find it much easier to move from one stage to the next.
  2. Complete all of your research upfront. Is this time consuming? Most definitely. Can this add stress to the process? In some cases, yes. However, it is important that you research your topic upfront so that you know what you are doing as the writing process begins. When you neglect to complete all necessary research upfront, you will find yourself jumping from “writing to researching and back” several times. In the long run, this will lead to a lot of wasted time.
  3. Take breaks – but not long ones. Despite the fact that you are under pressure, in a hurry, and want nothing more than to complete the job, you don’t want to overwork yourself. There is nothing wrong with taking breaks from time to time, as long as you are not slacking off. To avoid this, set a schedule. For example, you could work one hour and then take a 15 minute break. Not only will this give you something to look forward to, but it will break up the monotony of writing.
  4. Proofread when finished. Are you the type of person who cannot stand to make a mistake? In this case, you may find yourself proofing the project as you go along. Don’t let this slow you down. Instead, complete the work first and then go back for a final proofing.
  5. Eliminate all outside distractions. The last thing you want is to be distracted when under pressure and needing to meet a tight deadline. Do you have the television on? Turn it off. Is your radio playing in the background? You need to eliminate this at once. Are there other people around? Ask them to leave you alone for the time being, giving you time to complete the job. Any distraction is one that could stop you from meeting your deadline.
  6. Don’t let one holdup slow you down. When working on any writing project, there are going to be pieces that come naturally as well as holdups that get in the way. If you come face to face with a bout of writer’s block, you should jump over the current section and move on – if possible. Spending too much time on one problem could prevent you from completing the job on time.
  7. Turn to others for inspiration. Under no means should you copy the work of another writer. However, there is nothing wrong with turning to other pieces for inspiration. This may be all that you need to get your brain churning and on the right track.

Small goals lead to the end result

Imagine this: you have a 15 page white paper due within 24 hours. On the surface, this may appear like an impossible task. Even though you may feel bogged down and ready to give up, by breaking the project down into smaller goals you can reach the end before the deadline comes.

Rather than look at the project as a whole, set smaller goals. For instance, you could say that you want to complete two pages per hour for the next four hours. This would bring you past the halfway point, giving you a clear view of the end of the project.

As you reach your smaller goals you will find yourself moving one step closer, slowly but surely, to the final result. With these tips and advice, you can relieve some of the pressured associated with completing a writing project on a short timeline.

Colin is a full-time freelance writer at Freshessays – a company that offers custom essay writing services and research paper help on education and literature related topics.
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Photo credit: triviaqueen via Flickr cc

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About GregDillon

Greg is the founder of strategy consultancy GD | Inspires and spends his days strategising for various design agencies and clients around the world - see more at He is also a prolific entrepreneur having launched - a website aimed at giving advice and insight to new, existing and veteran freelancers as well as commenting on all things strategic. Feel free to email him at: or follow on Twitter @StratTalking

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