One of my father-in-law’s favorite sayings is, “Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance.” He’s usually using this popular military adage in the context of manual tasks he is doing around the house that have gone a bit, shall we say, off-track. If only he’d planned it out first….!
As someone who likes to plan (way) ahead, I, @karen, really appreciate this sentiment and strongly believe that the “7 Ps” - which is the short-and-sweet way to refer to this adage - should be something every content creator lives and breathes by.
Whether you’re writing a short bit of ad copy, a blog, a white paper, or something far more voluminous, it’s essential to plan out your piece in advance. Without doing this legwork upfront, I can pretty much guarantee that whatever you are writing will be more frustrating, time-consuming, and lower quality than it would have been if you had properly prepared.
How you plan out your writing is going to depend on several factors, including the intended length of the piece. Wait, you haven’t been thinking about how long you want your piece to be before you start it? That detail is a critical part of the planning process. Once you have length determined, as well as a few other things like audience and obj
ective, you can consult this incredibly handy information from one of my favorite bloggers, Josh Bernoff, to figure out the best way to plan for that specific length writing project
Of course, there’s also the expression, “Best-laid plans,” which basically means that even when you have done thorough prep, things may not turn out exactly how you had wished. But, please don’t let the potential of failing - or the fact that you find planning painful - deter you from trying this method for a while. Yes, it’s true, your writing project can still go a little sideways despite your best-laid plans. But the fact that you had great clarity when you started it has many benefits, including alerting you much sooner to when things might be heading in the wrong direction and enabling you to course correct much quickly.
Do you have any tips on planning out writing projects?
Author's Note: This article was originally written and published in my role as Chief Content Officer for Lisa Baker Associates.