How many times have you come to a deadline and found yourself half asleep? For legal content writing, especially, you can’t just throw the article together to meet the deadline, much as you might want to in that state. How do you refresh yourself to finish the job?
Legal writers need to convey the law in precise, technical terms. This requires a penetrating mind that is clear and alert. A legal writer cannot afford to be carelessly creative when readers are lawyers or potential clients of lawyers, touchy and sometimes living on the edge of the law.
Many of the ways of keeping oneself fresh for writing you already know. If you haven’t done them and can’t put the writing off longer, if you are dozing in your chair and about to tell readers that marijuana is legal in California, when you live in Colorado where it was just legalized, you’d better shake yourself awake, before you get yourself and those who hired you in trouble. From my own experience, here are three suggestions that will wake you up.
- Get out of your chair and hop on one foot into the kitchen. Drink a big glass of water, grab a banana, and hop on the other foot back to the computer. Put on some music. Still standing, eat half of the banana, breathe in deep gasps 50 times, then eat the other half. Bananas contain nutrients that feed the brain. Now throw yourself onto the ground and do 20 “Up Dog, Down Dogs” (yoga asana) followed by 20 pushups. Turn the heater off and open a window to cool down. That should take all of 15 minutes, leaving enough time to finish before the deadline.
- For the claustrophobe, drink a glass of water, grab a banana, and go for a quick walk around a long block—quick, not shambling!—while you eat the banana. Throw the peel away in someone’s trash can, then run fast the rest of way back to your office. Open a window and get back to work.
- For the physically challenged writer (and those who think they are), set a loud alarm for 15 minutes. Sit straight in your chair, hands on knees, close your eyes, and start breathing (assuming you haven’t been—many writers hold their breath when racing to meet a deadline). Focus closed eyes on the spot between your eyebrows. Start breathing bigger, deeper, and more slowly, deeper and deeper, more and more slowly, deeper…let time take you drifting…BRRNNGG! Awake, you are more clearheaded than you’ve been in months. Before opening your eyes, turn your thoughts to the article you are writing. What should you cover? How will you organize it? What research and/or proof is needed? Ideas will flow, clear and precise. Open your eyes and take notes. Then get back to writing. No need to wish you luck—you won’t need it.
Susette H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.